I am a forest ecologist who investigates plant death, decomposition, and carbon cycling in the context of global change.  I study the patterns and processes of plant death, and then use “big data” to scale these findings to the landscape and beyond. Much of this research focuses on the effects of a rarely studied phenomenon – lightning.  After plants die, they decompose with major implications for the carbon budget.  I also explore how environmental conditions, biogeochemistry, and decomposer community assembly influence decomposition. Please flip through this website and the photo gallery for a deeper look at my research program and my passion for education.

Repairing a tower-based camera that serves as part of the Remote Electronic Lightning Monitoring System in central Panama. Photo credit: Jeff Burchfield