Plant Geography

Forest complexity as a strategy for forest management strategies that create structural and functional complexity to enhance climate change adaption and mitigation

Climate change impacts on forest biodiversity: individual risk to subcontinental impacts

Doctoral Dissertation Research: The Forest Transition Trap in southern Mexico

Yansa, C.H. and K.M. Adams. 2012. “Mastodons and mammoths in the Great Lakes region, USA and Canada: New insights into their diets as they neared extinction.” Geography Compass 6(4): 175-188.

Schaetzl, R.J., C.H. Yansa, and M.D. Luehmann. 2012. “Paleobotanical and environmental implications of a buried forest bed in northern Lower Michigan, USA.” Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Published on the web 5 December 2012, 10.1139/cjes-2012-0115.

Finley, A. O., S Bannerjee, and B. Basso.  2011.  “Improving Crop Model Inference Through Bayesian Melding with Spatially-varying Parameters.”  Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics.  16:453-474.

Finley, A. O.., S. Banerjee, and D. W. MacFarland.  2011.  “A Hierarchical Model for Quantifying Forest Variables over Large Heterogeneous Landscapes with Uncertain Forest Areas.”  Journal of the American Statistical Association.  106:31-48.

Grimley, D.A., D. Larsen, S.W. Kaplan, C.H. Yansa, B.B. Curry. E.A. Oches. 2009.  “A multi-proxy paleoecological and paleoclimatic record within full glacial lacustrine deposits, western Tennessee, U.S.A.” Journal of Quaternary Science 24: 960-981.

Plant Geography and Paleovegetation Studies

Research and teaching in plant geography and paleovegetation (fossil pollen and plant macrofossil) studies at Michigan State University (MSU) focus on understanding the nature and patterns of vegetation dynamics of both the present and past. Four faculty members contribute to this program. Professors Yansa, Harman and Schaetzl conduct research in Michigan and other parts of eastern and central North America. Dr. Duvall studies plant distributions in West Africa and the Atlantic Basin.

Recent and current research projects conducted by these faculty and their graduate students include studies of:

Northern Michigan (R. Schaetzl)

Northern Michigan (R. Schaetzl)

 

C. Yansa describing a sediment core collected from a Michigan lake for pollen and plant macrofossil analysis

C. Yansa describing a sediment core collected from a Michigan lake for pollen and plant macrofossil analysis

Present-day plant-soil and plant-climate interactions, such as analyzing the spatial patterns of current vegetation as it relates to soil and topographic characteristics and/or microclimate conditions. This work is often done within a GIS framework.

C. Yansa (left) and S. Yohn (right) coring a Michigan lake

C. Yansa (left) and S. Yohn (right) coring a Michigan lake

Historic plant-environment interactions, including reconstructing the species composition and dominance of pre-settlement (ca. A.D. 1800) plant communities in the Great Lakes region by analyzing the U.S. Public Land Survey notes and plat maps.

Woodland in Mali (C. Duvall)

Woodland in Mali (C. Duvall)

 

Humans, plant distributions, and ecosystems, including analysis of ecosystem structure to assess the effects of human-altered species distributions, and examining historical documents in the U.S. and West Africa to understand past plant introductions and other vegetation changes caused by humans.

C. Duvall and assistant collecting data in Mali

C. Duvall and assistant collecting data in Mali

Paleovegetation studies, involving analysis of pollen and other plant remains (plant macrofossils) to reconstruct past vegetation dynamics, including pioneer plant colonization after deglaciation and subsequent shifts in species dominance in response to Holocene climatic changes. Fossil studies are also conducted in collaboration with archaeologists to interpret the environmental conditions that existed for prehistoric Native Americans.