Congratulations, Dr. Werden!

Leland successfully defended his dissertation in early December and now is Dr. Werden!  From thousands of seedlings, to thousands of functional trait measurements… now we know that it is possible to restore degraded vertisols.  Nice work!


Lots of New Faces in the Lab

This fall we welcomed lots of new people into the lab.  From left to right: Laura Toro is a new graduate student from Colombia in the PMB graduate program, Juan Dupuy from CICY in Merida, Mexico is visiting our lab along with his family for a sabbatical as a Fulbright Fellow, and Naomi Schwartz started an NSF-funded postdoc after finishing her PhD at Columbia University.  It is super to have so many tropical dry forest enthusiasts braving the winter in Minnesota.


Christina gives workshops on plant-water relations to 80 Costa Rican school teachers

CaptureAs part of the Broader Impacts for her NSF-DDIG, Christina Smith-Martin has been using simple and effective methods to help teachers communicate basic concepts in plant biology to grade school students.  They have been looking at xylem in celery that was dyed blue and thinking about how soda moves up through straws.  This is when she is not digging up whole trees and lianas!

Jennifer talks in Colombia

It has been a busy fall.  Jennifer gave a talk on tropical forest regeneration and reforestation at the 7th Colombian National Forest Congress in Medellin, Colombia. German started graduate school at UMN in the Plant Biological Sciences graduate program.  Last, we had papers come out in Oecologia, the American Naturalist, Ecology, and Environmental Research Letters.



Thanks to German and Daniel’s hard work, we are finally installing the panels on our DOE-funded drought experiment.  The experiment is a full factorial of throughfall exclusion and fertilization, so that we can understand whether nutrient availability mediates responses to drought.  We are working in tree plantations at Horizontes, so that we can have replicated trees from diverse species that represent different plant functional types.  And congratulations to Kristen Becklund, who now goes by the name of Dr. Becklund after successfully defending her PhD.