Forest ecology lab
Dr. Roland de Gouvenain
Rhode Island College


RESEARCH FOCUS: Evolutionary ecology of plant life history traits. Fire ecology/adaptations. Forest response to disturbances. Plant population and community ecology.

Recent and ongoing research projects:

1. Difference in fire regimes across the USA-Mexico border and its effect on the evolution of Tecate cypress life history traits. Read the abstract here.
  This is a joint research project with Dr. Jose Delgadillo, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico, Ensenada,
Facultad de Ciencias.
We thank Chapman University, Rhode Island College, and RI-EPSCoR for funding.

2. Southern New England forest trees response to gap creation. Yale-Myers Forest, CT. Kaitlyn Godfrey is investigating whether the architecture of canopy trees responds to the creation of gaps.

3. Southern New England forest regeneration near gap - a survival analysis. Yale-Myers Forest, CT. Hector Nuñez ('14) investigated whether the regeneration of white pine (Pinus strobus) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) was influenced by the creation of gaps. Read description here.
His Honors research thesis was then expanded to include the seasonal change in forest understory light conditions and its influence on tree regeneration
. Read paper here.

4. Beyond just light: effects of changes in tree leaf litter and litter decomposition along a gap-to-forest cline on eastern white pine, red oak, red maple, white oak, and shagbark hickory regeneration in a southern New England mixed forest. Collaborative research with Dr. Daniel Hewins, Rhode Island Collge, at the Yale-Myers Forest.

  For projects (3) and (4) at the Yale-Myers Forest, we thank the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (YSFES), Dr. Mark Ashton and the YSFES research committee for allowing the RIC Forest Ecology Lab to conduct research in the Yale-Myers Forest. We thank the RIC Faculty Research Committee and RI-EPSCoR for financial support.  

5. Fire ecology of Protea repens (Proteaceae) in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. In collaboration with Dr. Jeremy Midgley and Dr. Cory Merow.

Student research (in alpha order):

  1. Kaitlyn Godfrey (BS Honors 2017) - poster
  2. Hector Nuñez (BS Honors 2014) - Northeastern Naturalist paper - poster
  3. Bruno Ramos (BS Honors 2014) - poster
  4. Eric O'Rourke (BS Honors 2014)
  5. Kiely Schultz (BS Honors 2009) - poster
  6. Ronald Smith (MA Thesis 2014)
Current student:
Danielle Boucher (Environmental Studies Program).

Past students at Rhode Island College (2007-present; in alpha order):
Titilayo Adedeji-Campbell, Audre Armstrong, Danielle Aube, Guyana Avagyan, Heather Boulanger, Ken Calci, Kristen Chauvin, Kaitlin Geagan, Kaitlyn Godfrey,
Jessica Goyette, Hanane Hamdaoui, Jessica Harris, Elizabeth Jardine, Jenifer Loaiza, Karlie Morra, Hector Nuñez, Sarah Peixoto, Kiely Schultz, Ronald Smith (MA), Keya Thakkar, Loudjina Toussaint,
Trisha Whipple, Samantha Whitson, Eric Wood.
Eric O'Rourke and Bruno Ramos (undergraduates) both conducted their honors thesis research in South Africa in collaboration with Dr. John Silander Jr. and his lab at the University of Connecticut.
Luke Winn ('17, Environmental Studies), a research student in Dr. Daniel Hewins' lab, contributed to the Forest Ecology Lab research program.
Past students at Chapman University and other venues:
Ali Ansary, Chelsea Loveall, Cheryl Mantia, and Rachel Pickrell  (2004-2006).
Catherine D'Ovidio (Cranston High School)

Updated February, 2018