Feng Sheng Hu is widely recognized for his innovative, interdisciplinary research on long-term ecosystem dynamics in relation to climate change. He became dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences in July 2020.
Hu works at the interfaces of biological, geological, and climatological sciences. The overall objective of his research is to understand patterns and mechanisms of long-term ecosystem dynamics under changing climatic conditions. To achieve this objective, Hu uses "the natural experiments of the past" that are archived in geological deposits. These deposits offer a long-term holistic perspective into past environmental conditions, some of which do not exist today but may be analogs of different climatic conditions in the future.
The author of some 130 scholarly articles in publications including Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hu has received extensive research funding from federal agencies, including numerous grants from the National Science Foundation. He has served as an editor for several leading scientific journals, including Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecosystems, and Geology.
Hu was elected a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science in 2008. He has been named a Packard Fellow in Science and Engineering, a University Scholar of the University of Illinois, a Fulbright Scholar, and a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America.