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CTFS – ForestGEO congratulates the 2015 Research Grant Program awardees!

CTFS – ForestGEO is very pleased to announce the awardees of the 2015 Research Grants Program. The 2015 cycle was highly competitive and received 37 diverse proposals submitted from around the world. Six proposals were selected for funding based on their innovative contributions to the ForestGEO network and their scientific and educational goals. 

Kendall Becker
Kendall Becker

Kendall Becker, a PhD student at Utah State University will study Controls on post-fire seedling recruitment in the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot, California, USA.The analyses will explore the relative importance of dispersal, viability, predation, and microclimate controls on post-fire seedling recruitment, which will improve models of post-fire forest response in the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot.

Andrea Drager, a PhD student at Rice University in Houston, TX, will explore Staying connected: how pollination relates to tree density in the Afrotropics. The research will provide baseline pollination and trait data in the Korup Forest Dynamics Plot, a hotspot of endemic plant biodiversity. The data will help researchers understand how rare species persisting at low densities relate to biodiversity maintenance in species-rich tropical forests.

Scott Stark, a Post-doctoral Research Associate at Michigan State University, will explore a Rapidly advancing understanding of size-structured forest dynamics in temperate and tropical forests with a highthroughput remote sensing approach. The research will use light detection and ranging (LiDAR), a remote sensing platform for estimating forest biomass in the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Barro Colorado Island Forest Dynamics Plots. The use of LiDAR will provide a 3-D estimation of the structure of canopy leaf area and light environments to understand tree size-structure in terms of biomass.

James Dryer

James Dyer, a professor at Ohio University, will explore Using a Water Balance Approach to Examine Temperate Forest Dynamics in Complex Terrain. The research will present a method of modeling moisture availability and demand in three CTFS – ForestGEO sites in the US, including the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Lilly Dickey Woods, and Tyson Research Center. The new method of modeling will offer the ability to quantify moisture conditions in both relative and absolute terms, producing values directly comparable at both ForestGEO site.

Ekaphan Kraichak 

Ekaphan Kraichak, a lecturer in Botany at Kasetsart University in Thailand, will study the Relative Importances of Host Characters and Spatial Structure on Tropical Epiphytic Communities.  Ekaphan Kraichak has previously completed a survey of all epiphytic cryptogams in the University of California Santa Cruz Forest Ecology Research Plot (UCSC-FERP). This project will provide a comprehensive list of cryptogam species for the Khao Chong Forest Dynamics Plot in Thailand to serve as a comparison on the relative influences of host characters and spatial structure on epiphytic communities.


Terhi Riutta, a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Oxford, will work on Quantifying ecosystem effects of insect herbivory on common oak in Wytham Woods, UK. The research will provide the first estimates of the effects of insect herbivores on biogeochemical cycles in the Wytham Woods Forest Dynamics Plot and will assess the wider ecosystem effects of insect herbivory.

For a list of all CTFS – ForestGEO Grants Program awardees, see our website.