Campus & Community

Harvard Forest announces Bullard Fellows

5 min read

Harvard Forest recently announced the 2007-08 Charles Bullard Fellows in Forest Research. The purpose of this fellowship program, established in 1962, is to support advanced research and study by persons who show promise of making important contributions, either as scholars or administrators, to forestry defined in its broadest sense as the human use and study of forested environments.

This year’s Bullard Fellows were selected from a pool of international applicants whose interests cover a broad array of forest-related subjects. These seven distinguished practitioners and academics will spend one to two semesters conducting research based in Cambridge, Mass., or at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass.

Fellows are supported by an endowment named after the benefactor Charles Bullard. While in residence at Harvard, fellows interact with faculty and students, give seminars, participate in conferences and symposia, and avail themselves of the University’s great research resources.

“The Harvard community benefits immensely from the presence of the outstanding scholars and fellows supported by the Bullard program,” said David R. Foster, director of Harvard Forest and chair of the Bullard Fellowship committee. “The breadth of research encompassed by this year’s class of scholars is vast, ranging from ecosystem, historical, and avian ecology, to ant biology and biogeography, to social analysis of forest landowners, to long-term, continental-scale climate patterns,” said Foster.

The 2007-08 Bullard Fellows follow:

Elisabeth Almgren, a paleoecologist and anthropologist at Uppsala University in Sweden, will be collaborating with David Foster, Wyatt Oswald, Matts Lindbladh, and other scientists on a comparative study of cultural landscape development and conservation in Scandinavia and the northeastern United States. During her 12-month fellowship, Almgren will also be developing and implementing interpretive public exhibits based on past, present, and future research from the Harvard Forest. The project will expand the present educational options for the general public visiting Harvard Forest by providing additional popular presentations of scientific results and may lead to further collaboration with the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Charles Cogbill, a forest ecologist at the Hubbard Brook Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in New Hampshire, will incorporate a historical perspective, especially archival data, in investigations of the floristics, development, and biogeography of northeastern forests. His activities will revolve around assembly, organization, and analysis of a comprehensive database of northeastern vegetation before European settlement. Cogbill will be extending early surveyors’ witness tree records westward across New York and northern Pennsylvania, creating an archived digital database of township witness-tree composition from across the Northeast, analyzing these data using geographic information systems and geospatial statistics, and assessing the historical biogeography of dominant trees and background disturbance processes in forests. He will work extensively with scientists at the Harvard Forest, the Harvard University Herbaria, and the Arnold Arboretum.

Todd Crowl, a quantitative ecologist at Utah State University, has worked on research projects dealing with detrital processing and food web dynamics, particularly within streams draining the Luquillo Mountains in Puerto Rico. Crowl is currently part of a large integrated project collecting data on hurricane impacts to forests. The focus of Crowl’s six-month work as a Charles Bullard Fellow will be interactions with Aaron Ellison and David Foster to explore ways to analyze and synthesize large experimental data sets; host a number of short analysis and writing sessions with Puerto Rican colleagues; and host a National Ecological Observatory Network workshop after site selection.

Rebecca Holberton is an avian ecologist from the biology department at the University of Maine. Holberton’s work focuses on the interaction between environmental factors such as weather, food availability, and habitat quality and physiological constraints during the migratory period. During her fellowship, she will be conducting a study emphasizing Blackpoll warbler (Dendroica striata) physiological state and key forest community characteristics over time and space during migration. This research will explore how an individual’s condition can relate to variation in community structure, particularly during the period of fall migration when communities may be undergoing rapid seasonal changes.

Michael Kaspari studies community ecology and biogeography at the University of Oklahoma. His research centers on the behavior, function, and biogeography of soil arthropods in tropical forests, which has prompted the interest of E.O. Wilson, Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus, in collaborative work. As a Bullard Fellow, Kaspari’s work will extend to the eastern forests of North America. Additionally, in collaboration with Aaron Ellison and other researchers, he will explore how metabolic and stoichiometric theories predict patterns of decomposition and abundance in detrital food webs.

Mark Rickenbach investigates social networks and private forest policy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. During his time as a Bullard Fellow, Rickenbach will study social networks to better understand forest landowners’ decisions. This expanded view of forest landowners will lead toward the creation of novel research and meaningful policy and practice change. Through this study, which will complement research undertaken by David Kittredge in the Harvard Forest LTER program, Rickenbach will formulate new research and outreach objectives that will advance the thoughtful stewardship and conservation of natural and managed ecosystems.

Nicholas Rodenhouse will focus his studies on quantifying the indirect effects of climate change on a forest bird population by using structural equation modeling. During his six-month Bullard Fellowship, he also aims to organize a cross-site comparison of northern temperate forest patterns and processes among three regions: northeastern North America, northeastern Poland (exemplified by the Bia∏oweiza Forest), and far eastern Russia (represented by Kedrovaya Pad). Rodenhouse teaches and studies population ecology at Wellesley University.