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I'm Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I'm interested in all aspects of plant population and community ecology, seeking to understand the how and why of plants, especially in grassland ecosystems. I'm a former Senior Editor of Journal of Ecology, and Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology.

Currently, writing my first fiction novel - stay tuned.


I encourage and welcome diversity in our lab.

Gibsonlab Inclusiveness Statement (pdf) 

Research Video (link)


Full cv (pdf) here:


  • Feb 8th Planting Clues presentation to Sierra Club.
  • April 12th Planting Clues presentation to Washington Univ., STL.
  • May 2nd: Saroj Thapa defended his PhD dissertation.
  • Latest publications: Barfknect et al., 2024, der Veen & Gibson 2024, Eduardo-Palomino et al, in press.


  • Explores the fascinating true crime cases involving plants, algae, and fungi

  • Analyses the role botanical evidence has played in high profiles cases such as those of Ted Bundy and Ian Huntley

  • Considers plant related crimes where botanicals are themselves trafficked or illegally traded.

  • Polish and Italian translations now available - see below.

  • The only ecologically orientated introduction to grasslands available

  • An ecologically orientated introduction to this influential group of plants, summarizing the most recent scientific research in ecology and agriculture in the context of the older, classic literature.

  • Ten chapters cover the morphology, anatomy, physiology and systematics of grasses, their population, community and ecosystem ecology, their global distribution, and the effects of disturbance and grassland management.

  • Unites a scattered literature, providing a comprehensive, accessible and affordable synthesis

  • An International team of scientists review the effects of climate change on grasslands

  • Part I Grassland dynamics and climate change

  • Part II Species traits, functional groups, and evolutionary change

  • Dealing with climate change effects

Planting Clues Polish Cover.jpg
  • Polish language translation of Planting Clues

  • The title 'Dowody Zbrodni' means 'Evidence of the Crime'.

  • A user-friendly introduction to the methodology of plant population ecology research

  • Incorporates both temperate and tropical examples; tree and herbaceous

  • Provides expanded coverage of key topics such as interspecific competition, pollination, and seed predation

  • Includes links to internet-based sources, especially computer programs and analysis code

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  • Italian language translation of Planting Clues.

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