Karl Niklas

Karl Niklas


208 Plant Science
(607) 255-8727

I am a plant evolutionist who uses physics, engineering, and mathematics to understand the relationship between plant form and function and how this relationship has evolved in consort with the physical environment over the course of Earth's history.

Research Focus

My focus is on plant evolution, particuarly how the shape, size, internal structure and reproductive biology of plants have changed over the course of millions of years of evolution.

Teaching Focus

I consider myself a teacher and a scientist. I love working with students, and I love doing research.

Awards and Honors

  • Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow (2012) Cornell University
  • Fellow (1995) Linnean Society of London
  • Named one of the best 300 professors in the USA (2012) Princeton Review
  • Centennial Medal (2006) Botanical Society of America
  • The Jeanette Siron Pelton Award (2002) BSA and the Conservation and Research Foundation

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

  • Price, C. A., Weitz, J. S., Savage, V. M., Stegen, J., Clarke, A., Coomes, D. A., Dodds, P. S., Etienne, R. S., Kerkhoff, A. J., McCulloh, K., Niklas, K. J., Olff, H., & Swenson, N. G. (2012). Testing the metabolic theory of ecology.. Ecology Letters. 15:1465-1474.
  • Chen, H., Niklas, K. J., & Sun., S. (2012). Testing the packing rule across the twig-petiole interface of temperate woody species.. Trees. 26:1737-1745.
  • Hernandez-Hernandez, V., Niklas, K. J., Newman, S. A., & Benitez, M. (2012). Dynamical patterning modules in plant development and evolution.. International Journal of Developmental Biology. 56:661-674.
  • Niklas, K. J., & Kutschera, U. (2012). Organ-specific rates of cellular respiration in developing sunflower seedlings and their bearing on metabolic scaling theory.. Protoplasma. 249:1049-1057.
  • Chen, F., Niklas, K. J., Chen, G., & Guo, D. (2012). Leaf traits and relationships differ with season as well as among species groupings in a managed Southeastern China forest landscape.. Plant Ecology. 213:1489-1502.
  • Peng, Y., Niklas, K. J., & Sun., S. (2012). Do plants explore habitats before exploiting them? An explicit test using two soloniferous herbs.. Chinese Science Bulletin. 57:2425-2432.
  • Liu, Y., Mu, J. P., Niklas, K. J., Li, G., & Sun, S. (2012). Global warming reduces plant reproductive output for temperate multi-inflorescence species on the Tibetan plateau.. New Phytologist. 195:427-436.
  • Qin, X., Niklas, K. J., Qi, L., Xiong, Y. C., & Li., F. M. (2012). The effects of domestication on the scaling of below- vs. aboveground biomass in four selected wheat (Triticum; Poaceae) genotypes.. American Journal of Botany. 99:1112-1117.
  • Deng, J., Zuo, W., Wang, Z., Fan, Z., Ji, M., Ran, J., Wang, G., Zhao, C., Liu, J., Niklas, K. J., Hammond, S. T., & Brown., J. H. (2012). Insights into plant size-density relationships from models and agricultural crops. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109:8600-8605.
  • Hammond, S. L., & Niklas, K. J. (2012). Computer simulations support a core prediction of a contentious plant model.. American Journal of Botany. 99:508-516.
  • Niklas, K. J., & Kutschera, U. (2012). Plant development, auxin, and the subsystem incompleteness theorem.. Frontiers in Plant Science. 3:1-11.
  • Brolly, M., Woodhouse, I. H., Niklas, K. J., & Hammond., S. L. (2012). A macroecological analysis of SERA derived forest heights and implications for forest volume remote sensing.. PLoS One. 7:e33927.
  • Poorter, H., Niklas, K. J., Reich, P. B., Oleksyn, J., Poot, P., & Mommer., L. (2012). Biomass allocation to leaves, stems and roots: meta-analyses of interspecific variation and environmental control.. New Phytologist. 193:30-50.
  • Niklas, K. J., & Spatz, H. (2012). Mechanical properties of wood disproportionately increase with increasing density. . American Journal of Botany. 99:169-170.
  • Marler, T. E., & Niklas, K. J. (2011). Reproductive effort and success are affected by habitat of Cycas micronesica K. D. Hill. . International Journal of Plant Science. 172:700 – 706.