Zacchaeus Compson

Zacchaeus Compson
Northern Arizona University
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B.A. in English, B.S. in Biology from Alma College (2001)

M.S. in Biology from Western Kentucky University (2005)

Ph.D. in Biology from Northern Arizona University (2013)

Research Focus

Compson’s research challenges the traditional notions of leaf litter quality and presents a new paradigm for how it is viewed. Additionally, he examines how the plant genetic identity of leaf litter influences carbon and nitrogen movement to higher trophic levels and associated insect communities.

Other Achievements, Honors, Awards

Compson has been involved in the Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) NSF program, mentoring five undergraduate researchers and serving as a fellow himself (2011).

He has also served through the Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) (president: 2008-2009, vice-president: 2007-2008), the Society for Freshwater Science (Instars Mentoring Program: 2012, Undergraduate Awards Committee: 2012-present), and the Fossil Creek Stakeholder’s group (Biodiversity Committee: 2005-present).

Big-picture Career Goal

Compson hopes to help forge new directions in basic and applied ecology through interdisciplinary collaboration and integrative research, raising awareness of imperiled aquatic and riparian ecosystems through teaching, mentoring, and public outreach.

Personal Note

Compson enjoys reading, creative writing, photography, Scrabble tournaments, volunteering, cross-country skiing, jogging under the Arizona night sky, and being surrounded by soft, furry mammals (even kittens).

Selected Publications

Pastor A, Compson ZG, Dijkstra P, Riera JL, Martí E, Sabater F, Hungate BA, Marks JC, in review. Stream carbon and nitrogen supplements during leaf litter decomposition: contrasting patterns for two cottonwood species. Ecology

Wojtowicz T, Compson ZG, Lamit LJ, Whitham TG, Gehring CA, in press. Afterlife effect of leaves from foundation tree species and their hybrids affect a litter-dwelling generalist predator. Oecologia

Wymore AS, Bothwell HM, Compson ZG, Lamit LJ, Walker FM, Woolbright SA, Whitham TG, 2014. Planning for the future: community genetics applications for forest biodiversity and policy. In: Challenges and Opportunities for the World's Forests in the 21st Century. T Fenning (ed.). Springer, New York

Compson ZG, Adams KJ, Edwards JA, Maestas JM, Whitham TG, Marks JC, 2013. Leaf litter quality affects aquatic insect emergence: contrasting patterns from two foundation trees. Oecologia 173: 507-519

Wymore AS, Compson ZG, Liu C, Price L, Marks JC, 2013. Contrasting rRNA abundance patterns for aquatic fungi and bacteria on decomposing cottonwood leaves. Freshwater Science 32: 663-672

Compson ZG, Larson KC, Zinkgraf MS, Whitham TG, 2011. A genetic basis for the manipulation of sink-source relationships by the galling aphid Pemphigus betae. Oecologia 167: 711-721

Current Projects

Research relating to a new paradigm for how leaf litter quality affects stream ecosystems

Examining the links between descriptive and functional aquatic insect communities

Testing the genetic similarity rule with aquatic insects emerging from leaf litter

Meta-analysis on genetic attenuation in trophic systems

Collaborative review paper on genetic attenuation

FullCurriculum Vitae