Brian Enquist

Co-Principal Investigator, Bridging Biodiversity and Conservation Science
Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Brian J. Enquist is a broadly trained ecologist. He is National Geographic Explorer. His lab investigates how climate influences the physiology and functioning of plants. Applications of this research is used then ‘scale up’ to show how changes in climate then ramifies to influence biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

His lab strives to develop a more integrative, quantitative, and predictive framework for biology, community ecology, and large-scale ecology. His research focuses on three core areas:

  1. Scaling and Functional Biology – Understanding the origin and diversity of organismal form, function, and diversity by developing general models for the origin of biological scaling laws. This research shows how general scaling laws and allometry, underlie organismal form, function, and diversity and can be used to 'scale up' biological processes from genes to cells to ecosystems.
  2. Macroecology – assessing the large scale biogeographic and evolutionary drivers of biological diversity and developing novel theoretical and informatics approaches that build from scaling principles and functional biology;
  3. Forecasting and Visualizing the Fate of Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Functioning. This work is building novel approaches to complex ecological problems – utilizing integrative computation, big data, statistical, and visualisation tools to visualize and analyze biological data and to assess how climate change will influence the distribution of diversity and functioning of forests and ecosystems.

His lab's research utilizes differing approaches including: developing theory and informatics infrastructure, field work, big datasets, scaling, empirically measuring numerous attributes of organismal form and function, utilizing physiological and trait-based techniques, and assessing macroecological and large-scale patterns. His collaborative group often works in contrasting environments including tropical forests, on elevation gradients, and in high alpine ecosystems.

He has published over 200 scientific papers and his work has been cited over 32,000 times. Dr. Enquist was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Costa Rica, the Ecological Society of America’s Mercer Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and he was named one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 young scientists. He has been awarded fellowships for advanced studies at (i) Charles University/ The Center for Theoretical Study in Prague, Czech Republic, (ii) the CNRS in Montpellier, France, and (iii) the Oxford Martin School at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. Dr. Enquist was elected a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has served on the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute since 2007.


  • PhD, Biology, University New Mexico
  • MS, Biology, University of New Mexico
  • BA, Biology, (With Distinction), Colorado College