Kimberly Komatsu

Photo of Kimberly Komatsu Senior Scientist
Smithsonian Institution
647 Contees Wharf Road
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
Phone: 443-482-2218

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Research Disciplines: Research Interests:

community ecology; mutualisms; biodiversity; ecosystem function; grasslands; trophic interactions; invertebrates; plants; rhizobia; functional traits; global change – invasions, climate change, eutrophication, elevated CO2, diversity loss

View Kimberly's CV

Biographical Sketch

Kim is a conservation ecologist with a research focus on community and ecosystem responses to global change drivers. She received her BS from University of California, Irvine, where she began her research on invasive plant and animal species.  Kim went on to complete her PhD at Yale University, where she studied the roles of nutrient availability, climate, and herbivory in driving grassland community composition and ecosystem function. Kim spent a postdoc at University of California, Berkeley, studying how mutualistic interactions are impacted by global change drivers in the legume-rhizobia system. In 2017, Kim started as a Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, MD. Her research at SERC builds upon her history of examining the effects of human activities on the environment in natural and agricultural systems.

Key components of Kim’s current research program include investigations into the effects of nutrient pollution and climate change on rangeland plant communities and forage quality in the North American Great Plains, plant-bacterial interactions in soybean agriculture and natural grassland ecosystems, effects of land use change on plant and animal diversity in the Chesapeake Bay region, and large-scale data synthesis to identify patterns of community and ecosystem responses to global change around the world.


  • 2013-2017 – Post-Doctoral Fellow, Berkeley Initiative for Global Change Biology (BiGCB), University of California, Berkeley
  • 2013 – Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University
    • Advisor: Melinda Smith
  • 2007 – B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine

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