Bill Hamilton Department Chair; Professor of Biology

Bill Hamilton

Howe 403


Undergraduate Degree:  B.S., Syracuse University, 1992
Graduate Degree: M.A., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1995.  Advisor: Ian Baldwin
Graduate Degree: Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1999.  Advisor: Sam McNaughton


I study physiological plant ecology, focusing on (1) herbivore-plant-microbe interactions ,  (2) physiological and growth responses to herbivory and  (3)  adaptation to, or effects of, environmental stress, primarily heat and sodium.  I am interested in elucidating species level adaptations to stress and herbivory that explain observed community dynamics (e.g. species distributions, competitive interactions,  and nutrient cycling) as well as relating adaptations to ecosystem function. The majority of my current research is based on large ungulate grazers (e.g. bison and elk) and their interactions with grasses and soil microbes in Yellowstone National Park.


Fundamentals of Biology (Biology 111)
Atmospheric Science from the Ground Up (Biology 120)
Plant Biology (Biology 225)
Medicinal Botany Seminar (Biology 295)
Chemical Ecology Seminar (Biology 295)
Plant Functional Ecology (Biology 332)
Experimental Botany: Global Climate Change (Biology 330)

Selected Publications

  • Hamilton, E.W., Giovannini, M.S., Moses, S.A., Coleman, J.S. and McNaughton, S.J. (1998). Biomass and mineral element responses of a Serengeti short-grass species to nitrogen supply and defoliation: Compensation requires a critical [N]. Oecologia 116, 407-418 Download
  • Baldwin, I.T. and Hamilton, E.W. (2000). Methyl jasmonate-induced responses of Nicotiana sylvestris are costly due to impaired competitive ability for a fitness-limiting resource. Journal of Chemical Ecology 26, 915-952
  • Hamilton, E.W. and Coleman, J.S. (2001). Heat-shock proteins are induced in unstressed leaves when distant leaves are stressed. American Journal of Botany  88, 950-955
  • Hamilton, E.W., McNaughton, S.J. and Coleman, J.S. (2001). Soil Na stress: Molecular, physiological and growth responses in Serengeti C4 grasses. American Journal of Botany 88, 1258-1265
  • Hamilton, E.W. and Heckathorn, S.A. (2001) Mitochondrial adaptations to Sodium Chloride: Complex I is protected by anti-oxidants and small Heat-shock proteins, while Complex II is protected by proline and betaine. Plant Physiology  126, 166-1274
  • Hamilton, E.W. and Frank, D.A. (2001) Plant defoliation promotes microbial nitrogen cycling through increased root exudation of carbon. Ecology 82,2397-2402
  • Heckathorn, S.A. Ryan, S.L. Baylis, J.A. Wang, D. Hamilton, E.W. Cundiff, L. Luthe, D.S. (2002) In vivo evidence from an Agrostis stolonifera selection genotype that chloroplast small-heat shock proteins can protect photosystem II during heat stress. Functional Plant Biology 29, 933-944
  • Wang, D., Heckathorn, S.A., Barua D., Joshi P, Hamilton, E.W., LaCroix, J.J. (2008) Effects of elevated CO2 on the tolerance of photosynthesis to acute heat stress in C3, C4, and CAM species American Journal of Botany  95: 165-176.
  • Hamilton, E.W., Heckathorn, S.A., Joshi, P., Wang, D., and Barua, D. (2008) Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and growth temperature on the tolerance of photosynthesis to acute heat stress in C3 and C4 species. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50, 1375-1387:
  • Barua, D., Frantz, J.M., Hamilton, E.W., Heckathorn, S.A., Joshi, P., Wang, D. (2008) The interactive effects of elevated CO2 and ozone on leaf thermotolerance in field-grown Glycine max. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50, 1396-1405:
  • Wang, D., Heckathorn, S.A., Mainali, K., Hamilton, E.W. (2008) Effects of N on plant responses to heat waves: a field study with prairie vegetation. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 50, 1416-1425:
  • Hamilton, E.W., Frank, D.A., Hinchey, P.M., Murray, T.M. (2008) Defoliation induces root exudation and triggers positive rhizospheric feedbacks in a temperate grassland. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40, 2865-2873



Ecological Society of America

International Society for Microbial Ecology

Weed Science Society of America

American Institute of Biological Sciences