Amy L. Downing

Alumni Professor of Biological Sciences


  • B.A., Lawrence University
  • M.S., University of Chicago
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago


Current projects include characterizing how the population dynamics of individual species in ecosystems interact to influence the stability of aggregate properties of ecosystems and exploring how freshwater biodiversity responds to pollution such as road salt, nutrients and pesticides. She has been involved in several international collaborations that include exploring the effects of biodiversity loss on ecosystems and the response of freshwater communities to salinization due to road-salt runoff.

For more information on Amy Downing, view her Curriculum Vitae

Areas of Interest / Expertise

  • Conservation biology
  • Marine biology
  • Invertebrate zoology
  • Animals and their environment
  • Freshwater ecology

Selected Publications (*mentored undergraduate student)

  • Arnott, S. E.; Fugere, V.; Symons, C. C.; Melles, S. J.; Beisner, B. E.; Canedo-Arguelles, M.; Hebert, M. P.; Brentrup, J. A.; Downing, A. L.; Gray, D. K.; et al. 2022. Widespread variation in salt tolerance within freshwater zooplankton species reduces the predictability of community-level salt tolerance. Limnology and Oceanography Letters
  • Hintz, W. D.; Arnott, S. E.; Symons, C. C.; Greco, D. A.; McClymont, A.; Brentrup, J. A.; Canedo-Arguelles, M.; Derry, A. M.; Downing, A. L.; Gray, D. K.; et al. 2022. Current water quality guidelines across North America and Europe do not protect lakes from salinization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119 (9).
  • Shoemaker, L. G.; Hallett, L. M.; Zhao, L.; Reuman, D. C.; Wang, S.; Cottingham, K. L.; Hobbs, R. J.; Castorani, M. C. N.; Downing, A. L.; Dudney, J. C.; et al. 2022. The long and the short of it: Mechanisms of synchronous and compensatory dynamics across temporal scales. Ecology (Washington DC) 103 (4), e3650.
  • Downing, A.L.; Jackson, C.; Plunkett, C.*; Lockhart, J.A.*; Schlater, S.M.*; and Leibold, M.A. 2020. Temporal stability vs community matrix stability and the role of weak interactions. Ecology Letters. 23: 1468-1478.
  • Brown, B.; Downing, A.L.; Leibold, M. 2016. Compensatory dynamics stabilizes aggregate community properties in response to multiple types of disturbances. Ecology 97(8): 2021-2033.
  • Downing, A.L.; Brown, B.; Leibold, M. 2014. Multiple diversity-stability mechanisms enhance population and community stability in aquatic food webs. Ecology 95(1) 173–184.
  • Downing, A. L. and M. A. Leibold. 2010. Species richness facilitates ecosystem resilience in aquatic food webs. Freshwater Biology 55(10): 2123-2137.
  • Srivastava, D. S.; Cardinale, B.J.; Downing, A.L.; Duffy, J.E.; Jouseau, C.; Sankaran, M. and Wright, J.P. 2009. Diversity has stronger top-down than bottom-effect effects on decomposition. Ecology 90(4) 1073-1083.
  • Downing, A.L.; Brown, B.L.; Perrin, E.M.*; Keitt, T.H. and Leibold, M.A. 2008. Environmental fluctuations induce scale-dependent compensation and increase stability in plankton ecosystems. Ecology 89: 3204 3214.

Winner of the 2007 Sherwood Dodge Shankland Award for Encouragement of Teachers

Contact Info


Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 325
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015

P 740-368-3890