Osvaldo Sala is the Julie A. Wrigley Chair, Regents' and Foundation Professor, and founding director of the Global Drylands Center at ASU. Before arriving at ASU, he was the Lindemann Professor of Biology and founding director of the Environmental Change Initiative at Brown University.
The research interests of Osvaldo Sala include several topics, from the functioning of arid ecosystems to ecosystem services and biodiversity, and encompass several scales from local to global. Climate change will affect arid ecosystems primarily through changes in water availability. Therefore, Osvaldo has focused a large part of his research effort on understanding the effects of precipitation patterns in space and time on primary production. His research has contributed to elucidating biogeochemical and structural mechanisms explaining ecosystem lags to changes in water availability. Osvaldo Sala also explored the consequences of changes in biodiversity on the functioning of ecosystems. At the global scale, he has developed scenarios of biodiversity change for the next 50 to 100 years. He is particularly interested in working with scenarios as a way of simplifying, understanding, and communicating the complex relationships that emerge from the study of social-ecological systems.
His work is reflected in more than 200 publications. Professor Sala’s international and national leadership includes service with the Scientific Committee of Problems of the Environment; Millennium Assessment; IPCC and National Science Foundation. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Argentinean National Academy of Sciences; Argentinean National Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences; and a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Ecological Society of America. He is the President Elect of the Ecological Society of America.