Howard Epstein


Department of Environmental Sciences


University of Virginia

hee2b [at]


7153 Hampstead Drive
United States

Brief Biography

Howard Epstein is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, specializing in the ecology of arctic tundra, and dry grasslands and shrublands. His research focus is on vegetation dynamics, nutrient cycling, and plant-soil-atmosphere interactions. Current research projects in the Arctic involve 1) the greening of arctic tundra vegetation in response to recent warming, 2) changes in the seasonality of tundra vegetation processes in response to warming, and 3) patterns of arctic tundra vegetation and soils along latitudinal temperature gradients in the Arctic of North America and Russia.

Dr. Epstein received his B.A. degree in Computer Science from Cornell University in 1986. He received an M.S. degree in Rangeland Ecosystem Science from Colorado State University in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Ecology, also from Colorado State, in 1997. He conducted postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. Dr. Epstein came to the faculty of the University of Virginia in 1998. As part of his arctic research, he has traveled north of the Arctic Circle nearly every summer since 1999 and has recently conducted several field expeditions in northwestern Siberia. He teaches courses in the Fundamentals of Ecology, Terrestrial Ecology, and Ecology of Grasslands and Tundra. He has published approximately 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on arctic tundra and dryland ecology.

Science Specialties

tundra ecology, vegetation ecology, ecosystem science

Current Research

Temporal dynamics of tundra vegetation. Spatial patterns of tundra ecosystems. Modeling regional-scale vegetation and biogeochemistry. Remote sensing of tundra ecosystems.