Paul J Hanson

Corporate Fellow and Group Leader

Dr. Hanson is a Corporate Fellow and the Group Leader of the Environmental Sciences Division and the Climate Change Science Institute of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Hanson has a B.A. degree in biology from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota, in 1981, and both M.S. (1983) and Ph.D. (1986) degrees from the University of Minnesota, St. Paul in plant and forest tree physiology. Dr. Hanson’s current research focuses on impacts of climatic change on the physiology, growth, and biogeochemical cycles of North American forest ecosystems. He has authored or co-authored over 250 journal articles and book chapters, and has co-edited (and authored) a book titled “North American Temperate Deciduous Forest Responses to Changing Precipitation Regimes”. Dr. Hanson is a Subject Editor of the journal Global Change Biology.

Dr. Paul J. Hanson has over 30 years of experience conducting environmental effects research related to energy technologies and their use.  His expertise focuses on the physiological, growth, and biogeochemical cycling responses of woody plant ecosystems, and has encompassed research on acid rain, nitrogen deposition, mercury deposition, ozone effects on woody plants, and environmental and atmospheric change effects associated with precipitation change, elevated CO2 atmospheres, and warming.  Dr. Hanson is known for developing manipulative experimental infrastructures for evaluating plant and whole-ecosystem responses to environmental change.

While Dr. Hanson’s career has not involved teaching as a primary activity, since 1986 he has served as a scientific advisor and mentor to more than 25 individuals ranging from students, visiting teachers, postdoctoral researchers, and visiting scientists. In his role as the coordinating, principal investigator for the DOE-funded SPRUCE warming and CO2 exposure experiment, he fosters opportunities for collaborative research and development with outside University and other Laboratory colleagues. 



2015, Significant Event Award for SPRUCE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
2008 Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Section on Biological Sciences elected November 2008.
2004 Award for excellence in presentation of a paper, Soil Science Society of America, Division S-7, Annual meeting, October 31  - November 4, 2004, Seattle, Washington.
2003 Award of Merit for a Book, Society for Technical Communication.
2002 Award for excellence in presentation of a paper, Soil Science Society of America, Division S-7, Annual meeting, November 10-14, 2002, Indianapolis, Indiana.
1995 Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award, Environmental Sciences Division Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
1994 Award of Merit in Scholarly Articles, Society for Technical Communication
1988 Sigma Xi, elected to full membership
1986-88 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Oak Ridge Associated Universities
1985 Graduate School Fellowship, University of Minnesota
1980 Phi Kappa Phi



SPRUCE - Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Changing Environments [http:\\]


Recent Publications (a full listing is available in the CV)

Jensen AM, Warren JM, King AW, Ricciuto DM, Hanson PJ, Wullschleger SD (2019?) Simulated projections of boreal forest peatland ecosystem productivity are sensitive to observed seasonality in leaf physiology.  Tree Physiology (in press).

Asbjornsen H, Campbell JL, Jennings KA, Vadeboncoeur MA, McIntire C, Templer PH, Phillips RP, Bauerle TL, Dietze MC, Frey SD, Groffman PM, Guerrieri R, Hanson PJ, Kelsey EP, Knapp AK, McDowell NG, Meir P, Novick KA, Ollinger SV, Pockman WT, Schaberg G, Wullschleger SD, Smith MD, Rustad L (2018) Guidelines and considerations for designing precipitation manipulation experiments in forest ecosystems. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 9:2310-2325, doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.13094.

Krassovski MB, Lyon GE, Riggs JS, Hanson PJ (2018) Near real time environmental monitoring and large volume data collection over slow communication links. Geoscientific Instrumentation, Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems 7:289-295,

Richardson AD, Hufkens K, Milliman T, Aubrecht DM, Furze ME, Seyednasrollah B, Krassovski MB, Latimer JM, Nettles WR, Heiderman RR, Warren JM, Hanson PJ (2018) Ecosystem warming extends vegetation activity but heightens cold temperature vulnerability. Nature 560:368-371, doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0399-1.

Steinweg JM, Kostka JE, Hanson PJ, Schadt CW (2018) Temperature sensitivity of extracellular enzymes differs with peat depth but not with season in an ombrotrophic bog. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 125:244-250,

McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ, Iversen CM, Phillips JR, Brice DJ (2018) Local spatial heterogeneity of Holocene carbon accumulation throughout the peat profile of an ombrotrophic Northern Minnesota bog. Radiocarbon 60:941-962, doi:10.1017/RDC.2018.37.

Jiang J, Huang Y, Ma S, Stacy M, Shi Z, Ricciuto DM, Hanson PJ, Luo Y (2018) Forecasting responses of a northern peatland carbon cycle to elevated CO2 and a gradient of experimental warming.  Journal of Geophyscial Research – Biogeosciences 123: 1057-1071,

Smith RJ, Nelson PR, Jovan S, Hanson PJ, McCune B (2018) Novel climates reverse carbon uptake of atmospherically-dependent epiphytes: climatic constraints on the iconic boreal forest lichen Evernia mesomorphaAmerican Journal of Botany 105: 266-274, doi: 10.1002/ajb2.1022

Tfaily MM, Wilson RM, Cooper WT, Kostka JE, Hanson P, Chanton JP (2018) Vertical stratification of peat pore water dissolved organic matter composition in a peat bog in Northern Minnesota. Journal of Geophyscial Research – Biogeosciences 123:479-494.

Iversen CM, Childs C, Norby RJ, Ontl TA, Kolka RK, Brice DJ, McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ (2018) Fine-root growth in a forested bog is seasonally dynamic, but shallowly distributed in a nutrient-poor peat. Plant and Soil 424: 123-143, doi:10.1007s11104-017-3231-z. 

Griffiths NA, Hanson PJ, Ricciuto DM, Iversen CM, Jensen AM, Malhotra A, McFarlane KJ, Norby RJ, Sargsyan K, Sebestyen SD, Shi X, Walker AP, Ward EJ, Warren JM, Weston DJ (2017) Temporal and spatial variation in peatland carbon cycling and implications for interpreting responses of an ecosystem-scale warming experiment. Soil Science Society of America Journal 81:1668-1688, doi:10.2136/sssaj2016.12.0422


Huang Y, Jiang J, Ma S, Ricciuto DM, Hanson PJ, Luo Y (2017) Soil thermal dynamics, snow cover and frozen depth under five temperature treatments in an ombrotrophic bog: constrained forecast with data assimilation. Journal of Geophyscial Research – Biogeosciences 122: 2046-2063,  doi:10.1002/2016JG003725


Wilson RM, Tfaily MM, Rich VI, Keller JK, Bridgham SD, Medvedeff C, Meredith L, Hanson PJ, Hines M, Pfeifer-Meister L, Saleska SR, Crill P, Cooper WT, Chanton JP, Kostka JE (2017) Hydrogenation of organic matter as a terminal electron sink sustains high CO2:CH4 production ratios during anaerobic decomposition. Organic Geochemistry 112:22-32,


Porras RC, Hicks Pries CE, McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ, Torn MS (2017) Association with pedogenic iron and aluminum: effects on soil organic carbon storage and stability in four temperate forest soils. Biogeochemistry 133:333-345, doi:10.1007/s10533-017-0337-6


Walker AP, Carter KR, Gu L, Hanson PJ, Malhotra A, Norby RJ, Sebestyen SD, Wullschleger SD, Weston DJ (2017) Biophysical drivers of seasonal variability in Sphagnum gross primary production in a northern temperate bog.  Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 122:1078-1097, doi:10.1002/2016JG003711 


Hobbie EA, Chen J, Hanson PJ, Iversen CM, McFarlane KJ, Thorp NR, Hofmockel KS (2017) long-term carbon and nitrogen dynamics at spruce revealed through stable isotopes in peat profiles. Biogeosciences 14:2481-2494, doi:10.5194/bg-14-2481-2017. 


Hanson PJ, Riggs JS, Nettles WR, Phillips JR, Krassovski MB, Hook LA, Gu L, Richardson AD, Aubrecht DM, Ricciuto DM, Warren JM, Barbier C (2017) Attaining whole-ecosystem warming using air and deep soil heating methods with an elevated CO2 atmosphere. Biogeosciences 14: 861–883, doi: 10.5194/bg-14-861-2017


Wilson RM, Hopple AH, Tfaily MM, Sebestyen S, Schadt CW, Pfeifer-Meister L, Medvedeff C, McFarlane K, Kostka JE, Kolton M, Kolka R, Kluber L, Keller J, Guilderson T, Griffiths N, Chanton JP, Bridgham S, Hanson PJ (2016) Stability of peatland carbon to rising temperatures. Nature Communications 7:13723, doi: 10.1038/NCOMMS13723.


Phillips RP, Ibanez I, D’Orangeville L, Hanson PJ, Ryan MG, McDowell N (2016) A belowground perspective on the drought sensitivity of forests: towards improved understanding and simulation. Forest Ecology & Management 380:309-320,


Hanson PJ, Gill AL, Xu X, Phillips JR, Weston DJ, Kolka RK, Riggs JS, Hook LA (2016) Intermediate-scale community-level flux of CO2 and CH4 in a Minnesota peatland: Putting the SPRUCE project in a global context. Biogeochemistry 129: 255-272. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-016-0230-8. 


Xu X, Yuan F, Hanson PJ, Wullschleger SD, Thornton PE, Riley WJ, Song X, Graham DE, Song C, Tian H (2016) Reviews and syntheses: four decades of modeling methane cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Biogeosciences 13:3735-3755, doi:10.5194/bg-13-3735-2016.


Estiarte M, Vicca S, Peñuelas J, Bahn M, Beier C, Emmett BA, Fay PA, Hanson PJ, Hasibeder R, Kigel J, Kröel-Dulay G, Larsen KS, Lellei-Kovács E, Limousin JM, Ogaya R, Ourcival JM, Reinsch S, Sala OE, Schmidt IK, Sternberg M, Tielbörger K, Tietema A, Janssens IA (2016) Few multi-year precipitation-reduction experiments find a shift in the productivity-precipitation relationship. Global Change Biology 22:2570–2581, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13269 


Wenk ES, Callaham MA Jr., Hanson PJ (2016) Soil macro-invertebrate communities across a productivity gradient in deciduous forests of eastern North America.  Northeastern Naturalist 23:25-44.


McDowell N, Hanson PJ, Ibanez I, Phillips RP, Ryan MG (2016) Physiological Responses of Forests to Drought. pp. 49-58. In Vose JM, Clark JS, Luce CH, Patel-Weynand T eds. Effects of drought on forests and rangelands in the United States: a comprehensive science synthesis. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-93b. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office.