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Feng Sheng Hu

Research Interests

I work at the interfaces of biological, geological and climatological sciences. The overall objective of my research is to understand long-term ecosystem dynamics under changing climatic conditions. To achieve this objective, I use "the natural experiments of the past" that are archived in geological deposits (e.g., lake sediments). These deposits offer a long-term holistic perspective into past environmental conditions, some of which do not exist today but may be analogs of different climatic conditions in the future. In pursuing my research interests, I integrate traditional paleoecological analyses and state-of-the-art analytical tools (e.g., genomic, geochemical, and numerical-modeling techniques). My students and I have conducted field research from the tropics to the Arctic to address a wide array of global change questions. We have authored more than 110 scholarly articles in top-tier disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals.

I am currently serving as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Despite my administrative duties, I continue to enjoy working closely with students on their research projects. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact me directly to explore research of mutual interest.


  • Ph.D., University of Washington

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor Emeritus, Plant Biology
Professor Emeritus, Geology

Recent Publications

Berg, E. E., Kaufman, D. S., Anderson, R. S., Wiles, G. C., Lowell, T. V., Mitchell, E. A. D., Hu, F. S., & Werner, A. (2022). Late-Glacial and Holocene Lake-Level Fluctuations on the Kenai Lowland, Reconstructed from Satellite-Fen Peat Deposits and Ice-Shoved Ramparts, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Quaternary, 5(2), Article 23.

Chen, Y., Kelly, R., Genet, H., Lara, M. J., Chipman, M. L., McGuire, A. D., & Hu, F. S. (2022). Resilience and sensitivity of ecosystem carbon stocks to fire-regime change in Alaskan tundra. Science of the Total Environment, 806, Article 151482.

Devotta, D. A., Kent, A. D., Nelson, D. M., Walsh, P. B., Fraterrigo, J. M., & Hu, F. S. (2022). Effects of alder- and salmon-derived nutrients on aquatic bacterial community structure and microbial community metabolism in subarctic lakes. Oecologia, 199(3), 711-724.

Chen, Y., Hu, F. S., & Lara, M. J. (2021). Divergent shrub-cover responses driven by climate, wildfire, and permafrost interactions in Arctic tundra ecosystems. Global change biology, 27(3), 652-663.

Chen, Y., Lara, M. J., Jones, B. M., Frost, G. V., & Hu, F. S. (2021). Thermokarst acceleration in Arctic tundra driven by climate change and fire disturbance. One Earth, 4(12), 1718-1729.

View all publications on Illinois Experts