Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Faculty Profile
John Drake

Associate Professor

Orange horizontal rule

308 Bray Hall













University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA)

Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology

With Prof. Evan DeLucia

Thesis: Environmental and developmental regulation of carbon cycling in a warm-temperate forest


Hope College (Holland, MI, USA)


Research: (1) Molecular Phylogeny of the Bromelioideae, (2) Demographic analysis of a gap-pioneer neotropical tree (Urera elata)








Research Interests

­­­­­­­­­­­I am a plant physiologist and ecosystem ecologist. My goal is to understand the physiological mechanisms underpinning whole-plant function, predict how these functions scale-up to drive ecosystem processes, and to understand the emergent properties or feedbacks that alter this up-scaling. Much of my current work relates to tree physiological adjustments to changes in means and extremes of temperature and water availability, and how these changes influence ecosystem C storage. I am expanding my body of research to include how to manage forests to be resistent and resilient to climate change. Specific areas of interest and expertise include:

  • Physiological acclimation of photosynthesis and respiration, particularly to temperature
  • The allocation and use of C by trees
  • Stable isotopes, particularly 13C and 18O
  • Modeling photosynthesis in response to the environment, particularly in the context of drought
  • Forest C stocks and fluxes
  • Forest C storage under elevated concentrations of atmospheric CO2
  • Trace gas emissions from soil, including CO2, N2O, and CH4
  • Root-soil interactions as drivers of soil nutrient availability

Personal website

Previous Appointments




Research Fellow








Graduate student and

lab manager


Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Western Sydney University (Richmond, NSW, AU)

With Profs. Mark Tjoelker and Peter Reich

Tree Physiology and Ecosystem Function


Boston University (Boston, MA, USA)

With Prof. Adrien Finzi

Root-soil interactions and forest biogeochemistry


University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA)

With Prof. Evan DeLucia

Manager, Stable Isotope Facility

University Distinguished Fellow














Current Graduate Advisees

Jacob OlichneyJacob Olichney

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Drake
  • Area of Study: Forest Resources Management

Personal Statement
Howdy, my name is Jacob Olichney. As an undergraduate, I majored in Biology, with a focus on evolutionary ecology and bioinformatics. I studied tree ecophysiology at Louisiana State University for my master's degree, where my thesis focused on tree growth and development in mixed pine-hardwood forests. Currently researching topics related to American chestnut tree ecophysiology.

Graduate Research Topic
Tree ecophysiology

Taylor WegnerTaylor Wegner

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Drake
  • Area of Study: Forest Resources Management


2019-2021       How will New York State forests respond to environmental change in the 21st century? Establishing a statewide network of tree health. Stella J, JE Drake, M Dovciak. $30,000. USDA Forest Service McIntire-Stennis Research Program.

2019-2022       Pathways to a Net-Zero Carbon Future: Landscape Design for Sustainability and Climate Change.  Beier CM, JE Drake, A Ackerman, T Brown, R Germain, D Johnston, M King, R Malmsheimer, T Volk. SUNY-ESF Discovery Challenge.

2019-2022       New York State Forest Carbon Assessment.  Beier CM, E Bevilacqua, JE Drake, RH Germain, RW Malmsheimer, B Salehi. $500,000. NYS Department of Environmental Conservation - Environmental Protection Fund.  

2018-2022       Environmental impacts of GE and conventionally produced American Chestnut. William Powell, Thomas Horton, Dylan Parry, JE Drake, Colin Beier, Jason Holliday, Sara Fitzsimmons. $500,000. USDA- National Institute of Food and Agriculture – Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research Grants Program.

2018-2020       Determining the role of climate warming as a potential driver of sugar maple decline. JE Drake and Colin Beier. $59,699. USDA Forest Service McIntire-Stennis Research Program.

2014-2016       Is physiological flexibility of forest trees constrained by home climate in a rapidly warming world? Mark Tjoelker, Oula Ghannoum, JE Drake, David Tissue, and Peter Reich. $315,000 AUD. Australian Research Council Discovery project DP140103415.


(42) *Kumarathunge DP, JE Drake, MG Tjoelker, R López, S Pfautsch, A Vårhammar, BE Medlyn (accepted 2019). The temperature optima for tree seedling photosynthesis and growth depend on water inputs. Global Change Biology

(41) *Dhami N, JE Drake, MG Tjoelker, DT Tissue, CI Cazzonelli (accepted 2019). An extreme heatwave enhanced the xanthophyll de-epoxidation state in leaves from Eucalyptus trees grown in the field. Physiology and Molecular Biology of Plants

(40) Furze ME, JE Drake, J Wiesenbauer, A Richter, E Pendall (2019). Carbon isotopic tracing of sugars throughout whole-trees exposed to climate warming. by Plant, Cell & Environment

(39) *Kumarathunge DP, BE Medlyn, JE Drake, A Rogers, MG Tjoelker (2019). No evidence for triose phosphate limitation of light saturated leaf photosynthesis under current atmospheric CO2 concentration. Plant, Cell & Environment

(38) Aspinwall M, S Pfautsch, MG Tjoelker, A Vårhammar, M Possell, JE Drake, PB Reich, DT Tissue, OK Atkin, PD Rymer, S Dennison, SC Van Sluyter (2019). Range size and growth temperature influence Eucalyptus species responses to an experimental heatwave. Global Change Biology 25: 1665-1684.

(37) Blackman C, D Creek, C Maier, M Aspinwall, JE Drake, S Pfautsch, A O’Grady, S Delzon, B Medlyn, D Tissue, B Choat (2019). Drought strategies and hydraulic traits contribute to mechanistic understanding of plant dry-down to hydraulic failure. Tree Physiology 39: 910-924.

(36) De Kauwe MG, BE Medlyn, AJ Pitman, JE Drake, A Ukkola, A Griebel, E Pendall, S Prober, M Roderick (2019). Examining the evidence for decoupling between photosynthesis and transpiration during heat extremes. Biogeosciences 16: 903-916.

(35) Drake JE, M Furze, MG Tjoelker, CVM Barton, E Pendall (2019) Climate warming and tree carbon use efficiency in a whole-tree 13CO2 tracer study. New Phytologist 222: 1313-1324.

(34) Drake JE, MG Tjoelker, MJ Aspinwall, PB Reich, S Pfautsch, CVM Barton (2019) The partitioning of gross primary production for young Eucalyptus tereticornis trees under experimental warming and altered water availability. New Phytologist 222: 1298-1312.

(33) *Kumarathunge D, BE Medlyn, JE Drake, MG Tjoelker, MJ Aspinwall, M Battaglia, FJ Cano1, K Carter, MA Cavaleri, L Cernusak, JQ Chambers, KY Crous, MG. De Kauwe, DN Dillaway, E Dreyer, DS Ellsworth, O Ghannoum, Q Han, K Hikosaka, AM Jensen, JWG Kelly, YS Lin, AC Mau, LM Mercado, Y Onoda, A Rogers, M Slot, NG Smith, L Tarvainen, HF Togashi, ES Tribuzy, J Uddling, A Vårhammar (2019). Acclimation and adaptation components of the temperature dependence of woody plant photosynthesis at the global scale. New Phytologist 222: 768-784.

(32) Way DA, MJ Aspinwall, JE Drake, KY Crous, C Campany, O Ghannoum, D Tissue, MG Tjoelker (2019). Responses of respiration in the light to warming in field-grown trees: A comparison of the thermal sensitivity of the Kok and Laisk methods. New Phytologist 222: 132-143.

(31) Fry EL, De Long JR, Garrido LA, Alvarez N, Carrillo Y, Castañeda-Gómez L, Chomel M, Dondini M, Drake JE, Hasegawa S, Hortal S, Jackson BG, Jiang M, Lavallee JM, Medlyn BE, Rhymes J, Singh BK, Smith P, Anderson IC, Bardgett RD, Baggs EM and Johnson D (2019) Using plant, microbe and soil fauna traits to improve the predictive power of biogeochemical models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10: 146-157.

(30) Crous KY, JE Drake, MJ Aspinwall, RE Sharwood, MG Tjoelker, O Ghannoum (2018) Photosynthetic capacity and leaf nitrogen decline along a controlled climate gradient in provenances of two widely distributed Eucalyptus species. Global Change Biology 24: 4626-4644

(29) Aspinwall MJ, CJ Blackman, VR de Dios, FA Busch, PD Rymer, ME Loik, JE Drake, S Pfautsch, RA Smith, MG Tjoelker, DT Tissue (2018) Photosynthesis and carbon allocation are both important predictors of genotype productivity to elevated CO2 in Eucalyptus camaldulensis. Tree Physiology 38: 1286-1301.

(28) Drake JE, CA Macdonald, MG Tjoelker, PB Reich, BK Singh (accepted by Biogeochemistry, Jan 2018) Three years of soil respiration in a mature Eucalypt woodland exposed to atmospheric CO2 enrichment.

(27) Zhang C-J, M Delgado-Baquerizo, JE Drake, PB Reich, MG Tjoelker, DT Tissue, He J-Z, BK Singh (accepted by Environmental Biology Reports, Jan 2018). Intra-species variation in a widely distributed tree species regulates the responses of soil microbiome to different temperature regimes.

(26) Drake JE, MG Tjoelker, A Vårhammar, BE Medlyn, PB Reich, A Leigh, S Pfautsch, CJ Blackman, R López, MJ Aspinwall, KY Crous, RA Duursma, D Kumarathunge, MG De Kauwe, M Jiang, AB Nicotra, DT Tissue, B Choat, OK Atkin, CVM Barton (accepted by Global Change Biology, Nov 2017). Trees Tolerate an Extreme Heatwave via Increased Transpirational Cooling and Thermal Tolerance

(25) Pfautsch S, MJ Aspinwall, JE Drake, LC Doria, RJA Langelaan, DT Tissue, MG Tjoelker, F Lens (2018) Traits and trade-offs in whole-tree hydraulic architecture along the vertical axis of Eucalyptus grandis. Annals of Botany

(24) Tjoelker MG, BE Medlyn, JE Drake (2017). Climate suitability of diverse provenances of a widely-distributed eucalypt: Testing the ‘local is best’ paradigm under climate warming. Australasian Plant Conservation. 26:1

(23) Drake JE, SA Power, RA Duursma, BE Medlyn, MJ Aspinwall, B Choat, D Creek, D Eamus, C Maier, S Pfautsch, RA Smith, MG Tjoelker, DT Tissue (2017) Stomatal and non-stomatal limitations of photosynthesis for four tree species under drought: a comparison of model formulations. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 247:454-466.

(22) Drake JE, Vårhammar A, Kumarathunge D, Medlyn BE, Pfautsch S, Reich PB, MG Tjoelker (2017) A common thermal niche among geographically diverse populations of the widely distributed tree species Eucalyptus tereticornis: no evidence for adaptation to local climate of origin. Global Change Biology 23:5069-5082.

(21) Ellsworth DS, IC Anderson, KY Crous, J Cooke, JE Drake, AN Gherlenda, TE Gimeno, CA Macdonald, BE Medlyn, JR Powell, MG Tjoelker, PB Reich (2017 Elevated CO2 does not increase eucalypt forest productivity on a low-phosphorus soil. Nature Climate Change. doi:10.1038/nclimate3235

(20) Ochoa-Hueso R, M Delgado-Baquerizo, J Hughes, JE Drake, MG Tjoelker, J Piñeiro, SA Power (2017) Rhizosphere-driven increase in phosphorus availability under elevated atmospheric CO­2 in a mature Eucalyptus woodland. Plant and Soil 416:283-295. doi:10.1007/s11104-017-3212-2

(19) Aspinwall MJ, JE Drake, A Vårhammar, CVM Barton, C Campany, O Ghannoum, DT Tissue, PB Reich, MG Tjoelker (2016) Convergent acclimation of leaf photosynthesis and respiration to prevailing ambient temperatures across current and warmer climates in Eucalyptus tereticornis. New Phytologist 212:354-367

(18) Medlyn B, M De Kauwe, S Zaehle, A Walker, R Duursma, K Luus, M Mishurov, B Park, B Smith, YP Wang, X Yang, K Crous, JE Drake, C Macdonald, R Norby, S Power, M Tjoelker, DS Ellsworth (2016) Using models to guide field experiments: a priori predictions for the CO2 response of a nutrient- and water-limited native Eucalypt woodland. Global Change Biology 22:2834-2851

(17) Drake JE, MG Tjoelker, MJ Aspinwall, PB Reich, CVM Barton, BE Medlyn, R Duursma (2016) Does physiological acclimation to climate warming stabilize the ratio of canopy respiration to photosynthesis? New Phytologist 211:850-863

(16) Drake JE, CA Macdonald, MG Tjoelker, KY Crous, BK Singh, PB Reich, IC Anderson, DS Ellsworth (2016) Short-term carbon cycling responses of a mature eucalypt woodland to gradual stepwise enrichment of atmospheric CO2 concentration? Global Change Biology 22:380-390

(15) Lin YS, BE Medlyn, RA Duursma, CI Prentice, OK Atkin, CVM Barton, J Bennie, A Bosc, MSJ Broadmeadow, LA Cernusak, PD Angelis, JE Drake, D Eamus, DS Ellsworth, M Freeman, O Ghannoum, TE Gimeno, Q Han, K Hikosaka, LB Hutley, JW Kelly, K Kikuzawa, P Kolari, K Koyama, J-M Limousin, M-L Linderson, M Löw, C Macinins-Ng, NK Martin-StPaul, P Meir, TN Mikkelsen, P Mitchell, JB Nippert, Y Onoda, MO de Beeck, V Resco de Dios, A Rey, A Rogers, L Rowland, SA Setterfield, W Sun, L Tarvainen, S Tausz-Posch, DT Tissue, J Uddling, G Wallin, JM Warren, L Wingate, J Zaragoza-Castells (2015) Optimal stomatal behaviour around the world: synthesis of a global stomatal conductance database. Nature Climate Change 5:459-646.

(14) Drake JE, MJ Aspinwall, KY Crous, PB Reich, RA Smith, DT Tissue, MG Tjoelker (2015). The capacity to cope with climate warming declines from temperate to tropical latitudes in two widely distributed Eucalyptus species. Global Change Biology 21:459-472.

(13) Giasson M-A, AM Ellison, RD Bowden, PM Crill, EA Davidson, JE Drake, SD Frey, JL Hadley, M Lavine, JM Melillo, JW Munger, KJ Nadelhoffer, E Nicoll, SV Ollinger, KE Savage, PA Steudler, J Tang, RK Varner, SC Wofsy, DR Foster, AC Finzi (2013) Soil respiration in a northeastern US temperate forest: a 22-year synthesis. Ecosphere 4: article 140.

(12) Pfautsch S, MJ Aspinwall, JE Drake, B Choat, D Tissue, T Burykin, MG Tjoelker (2013) Putting the puzzle together: Investigating hydraulic functioning and water transport at high spatial resolution in tall trees, Acta Horticulturae 991:245-252.

(11) Drake JE, M-A Giasson, K Spiller, AC Finzi (2013) Seasonal plasticity in the temperature sensitivity of microbial activity in three temperate forest soils. Ecosphere 4: article 77.

(10) Drake JE, BA Darby, M-A Giasson, MA Kramer, RP Phillips, AC Finzi (2013) The stoichiometry of root exudation- insights from a model and a field experiment in a temperate forest. Biogeosciences 10:821-838.

(9) Brzostek ER, A Greco, JE Drake, AC Finzi (2012) Root carbon inputs to the rhizosphere stimulate extracellular enzyme activity and N availability in temperate forest soils. Biogeochemistry 115:65-76.

(8) Drake JE, AC Oishi, M-A Giasson, R Oren, AC Finzi (2012) Trenching reduces soil heterotrophic activity in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) forest exposed to elevated atmospheric [CO2] and N-fertilization. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 165:43-52.

(7) Templer P, AF Schiller, NW Fuller, AM Socci, JL Campbell, JE Drake, TH Kunz (2012) Impact of a Reduced Winter Snowpack on Litter Arthropod Abundance and Diversity in a Northern Hardwood Forest Ecosystem. Biology and Fertility of Soils 48:413-424.

(6) Drake JE, A Gallet-Budynek, KS Hofmockel, ES Bernhardt, SA Billings, RB Jackson, KS Johnsen, J Lichter, HR McCarthy, ML McCormack, DJP Moore, R Oren, S Palmroth, RP Phillips, JS Pippen, SG Pritchard, KK Treseder, WH Schlesinger, EH DeLucia, AC Finzi (2011) Increases in the Flux of Carbon Belowground Stimulate Nitrogen Uptake and Sustain the Long-Term Enhancement of Forest Productivity under Elevated CO2. Ecology Letters 14: 349-357.

(5) Drake JE, SC Davis, LM Raetz, EH DeLucia (2011) Mechanisms of age-related changes in forest production: the influence of physiological and successional changes. Global Change Biology 17: 1522-1535.

(4) Drake JE, LM Raetz, SC Davis, EH DeLucia (2010) Hydraulic limitation not declining nitrogen availability causes the age-related photosynthetic decline in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.). Plant, Cell and Environment 33: 1756-1766.

(3) Peterson T, B Rossmann, JE Drake, J Westervelt (2009) A spatially explicit model of red imported fire ant behavior for managing species at risk on military lands. US Army Corps of Engineers Research Laboratory, CERL Report No. TR-09-19.

(2) Drake JE, PC Stoy, RB Jackson EH DeLucia (2008) Fine-root respiration in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) forest exposed to elevated CO2 and N fertilization. Plant, Cell and Environment 31:1663-1672.

(1) DeLucia, EH, JE Drake, RB Thomas, M Gonzalez-Meler (2007) Forest carbon-use-efficiency: is respiration a constant fraction of gross primary production? Global Change Biology 13:1157-1167.