Research Interests

My research areas encompass plant ecophysiology and ecosystem ecology, with particular emphasis on carbon storage and cycling. Research conducted in my lab is principally focused on ecosystems affected by human activity, and research questions are often centered around the issues of climate change, land use change, and ecosystem management.

Recent research projects, most of which were conducted in partnership with undergraduate and graduate students, include the following: 

  • Assessing photosynthetic induction and sunfleck responses of three competing understory species in southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Examining the potential for positive feedbacks to climate change by assessing soil respiration rates and soil carbon cycling in southeastern Pennsylvania's fragmented forest ecosystems
  • Censusing forest structure and carbon storage in WCU's Gordon Natural Area to examine ecosystem development over the past five years
  • An investigation of photosynthetic optima in locally adapted Eriophorum vaginatum ecotypes exposed to elevated temperature in Alaska's Arctic tundra
  • An assessment of soil baseline conditions at the outset of an unprecedented experimental reforestation experiment currently underway at the Mount Cuba Center in Hockessin, DE.
  • Carbon and water cycle research in Pennsylvania’s globally rare serpentine barrens to assess ecosystem and species-level responses to prescribed fire and climatic variation.
  • Physiological assessment of trees grown in common gardens spanning an urban to rural gradient in Baltimore, MD, varying in both CO2 concentration and air temperature.
  • A soil seed bank study in forest fragments of the Mid-Atlantic region to assess future forest successional trajectories given pressures imposed by high deer densities and the large number of non-native plant species in the area.


Students interested in these or related research areas should contact me about potential research projects.

Student Research

Back to top of page.