Monthly Archives: July 2011

Katie Clabeaux

I am a third-year undergraduate working on a major in Environmental Science and a minor in Global Poverty and Practice.  I was introduced to the Silver Lab in the fall of 2010 through Becca Ryals.  Since then, I have volunteered for her project.  After college, I hope to pursue a career teaching high school science.


Katie Graves

I am going into my junior year at the University of Southern California with an Environmental Studies Major and Marketing Minor. As a volunteer in the Silver Lab this summer, I have gained valuable experience and knowledge of carbon sequestration and its potential to help reduce the impact of climate change.  Participating in a month long wilderness survival and conservation program sparked my passion for environmental management.  I am a member of Volunteer Latin America, a student run organization that is involved in conservation and analog forestry.  By returning to Costa Rica this year, I will continue our efforts of protecting the fragile rainforest ecosystems.  I hope to share my knowledge, strong work ethic and communication skills through community partnerships in support of global education of sustainable lifestyles and environmental awareness.  I am so grateful to have met and learned from such extraordinary people in the Silver Lab.  I enjoy hiking, biking, drawing and painting, and look forward to spending more time with this incredible team of dedicated researchers!



Maya Almaraz | Wanda Cea | Noemi Chacon | Wendy Chou | Daniela Cusack | Delphine Farmer  | Daniel Keck | Dan Liptzin |  Erika Marin-Spiotta |  Bill G. McDowell |  Megan McGroddy | Becky Ostertag | Rima Shamieh |  Katherine Smetak |  Yit Arn Teh | Pamela Templer | Andy Thompson | Bibit Halliday Traut | Samantha Weintraub | Michelle Wong | Tana Wood | Jonathan Wright

Maya Almaraz

After a two-year tenure in the wonderful Silver lab, I am now beginning my first year as a graduate student at Brown University.  At Brown, I am pursuing a PhD in biology with a focus on tropical biogeochemistry.  I am studying under the direction of Dr. Stephen Porder and, as a member of the MBL-Brown Program, I will be co-advised by Dr. Christopher Neill.  I was selected to participate in the Partnership for International Research and Education (PIRE) Program.  As a participant in the PIRE program I will collaborate with an interdisciplinary group of professors and graduate students from MBL, Columbia and Brown in the fields of Ecology, Sociology and Economics.  The PIRE is aimed to look at questions regarding the effects of the Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa.  From an ecological perspective, our goal is to look at food production and environmental sustainability.  Mainly, what are the environmental consequences of the Green Revolution in Africa and how can we best manage the land to provide sufficient calories to those who need them while preserving the environment?  Prior to working in the Silver lab, I obtained a BS in Conservation and Resource Studies and a BA in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  I have research experience working in Belize, Moorea, Puerto Rico and California.  I am particularly interested in carbon and nitrogen cycling related to climate and land use change.

Wanda Cea

I first became involved with the Silver Lab as a volunteer during my senior year as an Environmental Engineering Science undergraduate at UC Berkeley. After graduating in December, 2008 I formally joined the lab as a technician, working specifically on the Marin Carbon Project, a research project that is exploring better land management techniques as a means of sequestering and storing atmospheric CO2 in California grasslands. My interests lie in design and development for energy and resource efficient land use, as well as permaculture, organic farming, and sustainable agriculture

Noemi Chacon

I finished a postdoc with the Silver lab in 2004 looking at the effects of labile carbon on phosphorous availability in tropical soils. I am currently a postdoc in the Laboratory of Soil Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC). My lines of investigation are:
-Implications of the biogeochemistry of iron and aluminum for soil phosphorus mobility in a seasonally flooded forest.
-Effect of disturbance (fire and change of land use) on the biogeochemical cycle of essential nutrients in tropical humid forests

Chacon N., N. Dezzeo, B. Muñoz & JM Rodríguez (2005) Implications of soil organic carbon and the biogeochemistry of iron and aluminum on soil phsophorus distribution in flooded forests of the lower Orinoco river, Venezuela. Biogeochemistry (in press)
Dezzeo N., & N. Chacon (2005) Carbon and nutrient loss in aboveground biomass along a fire induced forest-savanna gradient in the Gran Sabana, southern Venezuela. Forest Ecology and Management. (in press)
Chacon N., N. Dezzeo & S. Flores (2005) effect of particle-size distribution, soil organic carbon content and organo-mineral aluminium complexes on acid phosphatases of seasonally flooded forest soils. Biol Fertil Soils. 41:69-72
Dezzeo N., N. Chacon, E. Sanoja & G. Picón (2004) Changes in soil properties and vegetation characteristics along a forest-savanna gradient in southern Venezuela. Forest Ecology and Management . 200:183-193

Wendy Chou

I was a member of the Silver lab from 2001 until I received my Ph.D. in 2007. My dissertation research tested the effect of rainfall manipulation (amount and timing) on ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling, especially soil respiration. I conducted my fieldwork in annual grasslands and wetlands in the Sierra Foothills, at the UC-owned Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center . See my Research Movie created by lab member Wendy Yang! (For best results, save and then open.) I received my B.A. from Harvard University in Environmental Science and Public Policy (1999), where I did an undergraduate thesis estimating regional fluxes of CO2 in the Amazon basin. In 2008 I began work as a consultant with the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program, identifying important climate change impacts across the state as well as strategies for adaptation to climate change (visit the California Climate Change Centerfor more information). I currently live in central Pennsylvania and work at Bucknell University. I am researching four anaerobic bioreactor technologies to convert municipal wastewater into methane for energy use. The wastewater-to-energy (WW2E) project is a partnership between the city of Milton, PA and the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Bucknell.

Chou, W.W., W.L. Silver, R.D. Jackson, A.W. Thompson, & B. Allen-Diaz (2008). The sensitivity of annual grassland carbon cycling to the quantity and timing of rainfall. Global Change Biology 14: 1382-1394, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01572.x.
Chou, W.W., S. C. Wofsy, R. C. Harriss, J. C. Lin, C. Gerbig, and G. W. Sachse (2002). Net fluxes of CO2 in Amazonia derived from aircraft observations. Journal of Geophysical Research. Vol. 107, No. D22, 4614, doi:10.1029/2001JD001295.
link to thesis – coming soon!

Daniela Cusack

I am interested in global change and the interactions of ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycles. I am doing my dissertation research on the effects of nitrogen deposition on carbon and nitrogen cycling in tropical forests. I am currently working in Puerto Rico on long-term nitrogen deposition plots established by Bill McDowell from the University of New Hampshire. My main focus is the response of soil carbon storage and turnover to chronic nitrogen ammendments. Another project of mine is investigating how elevated nitrogen affects biological nitrogen fixation in the soil, forest floor, and forest canopies. I finished my Master’s in Environmental Science at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. My Master’s project with Dr. Florencia Montagnini was studying the regeneration of native forest species on tropical plantations. In Costa Rica, plantations have been used as a reforestation method, and I investigated the success of different timber species at recruiting understory regeneration in Sarapiquí, Costa Rica. Previously, I was on a Fulbright Scholarship in Costa Rica from 1999-2000, studying the political and ecological impacts of ecotourism. I graduated with a B.A in Latin American Studies from Wesleyan University, CT in 1999. My honors thesis at Wesleyan was on agricultural extension and the success of microfinance projects in Southern Chile.

Cusack, D. F., W. W. Chou, W. H. Yang, M. E. Harmon, W. L. Silver, the LIDET team (2008). Controls on Long-Term Root and Leaf Litter Decomposition in Neotropical Forests. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01781.x.
Sinsabaugh, R. L., Lauber, C. L., Weintraub, M., Ahmed, B., Allison, S. D., Crenshaw, C., Contosta, A. R., Cusack, D., Frey, S., Gallo, M. E., Gartner, T. B., Hobbie, S. E., Holland, K., Keeler, B. L., Powers, J. S., Stursova, M., Takacs-Vesbach, C., Waldrop, M., Wallenstein, M., Zak, D. R., Zeglin, L. H. (2008). Stoichiometry of Soil Enzyme Activity at Global Scale. Ecology Letters, 11: 1252-1264.
Marin-Spiotta, E., D. F. Cusack, R. Ostertag, and W. Silver (2008). “Trends in Above and Belowground Carbon with Forest Regrowth After Agricultural Abandonment in the Neotropics.” Pp. 22-72. In: Post Agricultural Succession in the Neotropics. R.W. Myster, Ed. Springer, New York, NY.
Chacón, N., W. Silver, E. Dubinsky and D. Cusack (2006). Iron Reduction and Phosphorous Solubilization in Humid Tropical Forest Soils: The Roles of Labile Carbon Pools and an Electron Shuttle Compound. Biogeochemistry 78(1): 67-84.
Cusack, D., and L. Dixon, 2006. Community-Based Ecotourism and Sustainability: Cases in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama and Talamanca, Costa Rica. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 22(1/2):157. pp. 157-163 pp. 164-173 pp. 174-182
Montagnini, F., D. Cusack, B. Petit, and M. Kanninen, 2005. Environmental Services of Native Tree Plantations and Agroforestry Systems in Central America. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 21(1): 51-67.
Cusack, D.F., and F. Montagnini, 2004. The Role of Native Species Plantations in Recovery of Understory Woody Diversity in Degraded Pasturelands of Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management 188:1-15.

Delphine Farmer

I got my MS from the Silver lab in 2001. I finished my Ph.D. in the Cohen Group in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, where I worked on eddy covariance fluxes of reactive nitrogen oxides in the Sierra Nevada. I’m currently a post-doctoral researcher working with Prof. Jose-Luis Jimenez at the University of Colorado at Boulder with a NOAA Climate and Global Change Fellowship. I study interactions between the biosphere and atmosphere, using novel instrumentation in field studies. I’m interested in how emissions with plants interact with air pollutants, and how these interactions affect local air quality and climate.

Daniel Keck

I finished my undergraduate thesis with the Silver lab in 2004. “Patterns in Reproductive Litterfall Along an Elevation Gradient in a Tropical Forest” uses an elevational gradient in Puerto Rico to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on forest reporduction. My thesis is online at I am now a PhD student in Dr. Weixin Cheng’s lab at UC Santa Cruz. My research investigates both basic and applied aspects of soil carbon cycling including the effects of grazing and nitrogen deposition. For more information about my research and the Environmental Studies department at UC Santa Cruz follow this link:

Dan Liptzin

As a postdoc in the Silver group, I studied the role of oxygen in controlling nutrient cycling in tropical forests in Puerto Rico. Specifically, I investigated how iron cycling (oxidation and reduction) regulates phosphorus availability and trace gas production both low elevation rain forest and cloud forest soils. The results so far suggest that oxygen concentrations are very dynamic in these soils and that the iron reduction can lead to increases in microbial phosphorus immobilization. My dissertation at the University of Colorado revolved around the hypothesis that tree-wind interactions may cause treeline to be a hotspot for atmospheric deposition and nutrient inputs. Two of the most interesting results were that 1) spatial patterns were predictable at multiple scales, but the differences upwind and downwind of individual trees were as great as the difference between forest and tundra and 2) snow depth was not a major control on soil properties. Overall, I am broadly interested in the biotic and abiotic controls on ecosystem function and how global changes are altering ecosystems.

Erika Marin-Spiotta

My Ph.D. research examined the importance of biological and physicochemical mechanisms on carbon (C) storage in tropical soils. In particular, I studied the role of soil aggregates and plant litter quality on the formation of stable soil C across a long-term, replicated chronosequence of secondary forests re-growing on abandoned pastures in Puerto Rico. I used both stable and radiocarbon natural abundance isotope measurements to estimate the turnover rate of different physical and chemical fractions of soil organic matter. This work was in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Ostertag (University of Hawaii), Dr. Margaret Torn Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Dr. Chris Swanston Lawrence Livermore National Lab. I received a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Political Science (focused on the environmental and sociopolitical consequences of economic development) from Stanford University where I spent a considerable time at Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. After several research trips to Latin America and a field course with the Organization for Tropical Studies, I can presently find no better place to spend my summers and winters than in a tropical forest and the occasional pasture. My current research interests span the microscopic scale of surface chemistry to landscape-level effects of land use change and include soil microbiology, nutrient cycling in plants and soils, forest succession, and climate change.

B.S. Biological Sciences and Minor in Political Science, Stanford University
Ph.D. Candidate, Ecosystem Sciences, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, U.C. Berkeley

Bill G. McDowell

Bill was the technician on the California grasslands rainfall manipulation project with Wendy Chou from 2004-2005, and is currently a graduate student in the University of Georgia

Megan McGroddy

Becky Ostertag

I did post-doctoral work with the Silver lab, and am now an Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. My research addresses questions related to plant responses to resource availability, tropical forest dynamics, invasive species, and restoration of degraded tropical ecosystems. See my webpage at I’ve also been developing environmental career resources for undergraduate students as part of a NSF CAREER grant. Check that out at

Rima Shamieh

I began an REU position in the Silver lab in the summer of 2002 that investigated the effects of land use change on soil carbon dynamics. I looked at the flux of CO2 from soil carbon pools in a chronosequence gradient of reforestation from active pasture to mature forest, using Erika’s sites in the Cayey Mountains. I graduated with a BS from Berkeley in Dec 2004 and am now working as a lab tech in Teresa Pawlowska’s lab at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

Katherine Smetak

Katherine is working at our Sierra Foothills site (SFREC) on rainfall increases in annual grasslands and decreased water inputs to spring-fed wetlands. She completed her master’s at the University of Idaho in 2006 with Dr. Jodi Johnson-Maynard, on the impact of urbanization on nitrogen cycling and earthworm ecology.

Yit Arn Teh

I was a postdoc in the Silver Group working in collaboration with Whendee, Prof. Dennis Baldocchi (University of California, Berkeley) and Dr. Mark Conrad (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) studying methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide fluxes in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta area. My research explores the role of soil microorganisms, redox dynamics, hydrology, and anthropogenic activity in regulating the flux of trace gases between the terrestrial biosphere and atmosphere. I am especially interested in greenhouse gases and stratospheric ozone-depleting substances as we have an incomplete understanding of the biogeochemistry of these compounds and their global cycles. My research focuses on poorly characterized ecosystems or those underrepresented in global atmospheric budgets. For example, my research on methane biogeochemistry explores upland wet tropical forests and northern Arctic ecosystems, where large uncertainties exist about the magnitude and factors regulating methane flux between the land surface and atmosphere. I also study naturally-occurring, halogenated hydrocarbons active in stratospheric ozone loss, including the methyl halides and chloroform. Large discrepancies in the global budgets of methyl halides indicate that there is a significant “missing source” emanating from the terrestrial biosphere. My research seeks to identify this missing source and characterize the controls on methyl halide cycling.

Teh, Y.A. , Silver, W.L., Conrad, M.E. 2005. “Oxygen effects on methane production and oxidation in humid tropical forest soils.” Global Change Biology, 11, 1283-1297, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2005.00983.
Teh, Y. A., and Silver, W.L. 2006. “Effects of soil structure destruction on methane production and carbon partitioning between methanogenic pathways in tropical rain forest soils.”Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, G01003, 1-8, doi:10.1029/2005JG000020.
Teh, Y. A., Silver, W.L., Conrad, M.E., Borglin, S.E., and Carlson, C.M. 2006. “Carbon isotope fractionation by methane-oxidizing bacteria in tropical rain forest soils.”Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, G02001, 1-8, doi:10.1029/2005JG000053.
Rhew, R. C., Teh, Y.A., and Abel, T. (2007) “Methyl halide and methane fluxes in the northern Alaskan coastal tundra.” Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, G02009, 1-11, doi:10.1029/2006JG000314.
Teh, Y.A., Dubinsky, E.A., Silver, W.L., and Carlson, C.M. 2007. “Suppression of methanogenesis by dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria in tropical rain forest soils: implications for ecosystem methane flux.”In review.
Teh, Y.A., Rhew, R.C., Atwood, A.R., and Abel, T. 2007. “Water, temperature, and vegetation regulation of methyl chloride and methyl bromide fluxes from a shortgrass steppe ecosystem.”In review .
Teh, Y.A., Mazeas, O., Rhew, R.C., Von Fisher, J.C., Atwood, A.R., and Abel, T. 2007. “Hydrologic regulation of methyl chloride, methyl bromide, and methane fluxes in Alaskan Arctic tundra.”In preparation.
Teh, Y.A., Silver, W.L., and Scatena, F.N. 2007. “A decade of ecosystem reorganization following multiple hurricanes in a cleared wet tropical forest.”In preparation.

Pamela Templer

My research focuses on ecosystem ecology and the influence that plant-microbial interactions have on nutrient cycling, retention and loss. My lab is particularly interested in the impacts that human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, human-induced climate change and land use change have on forest ecosystems. We currently examine a variety of nitrogen sources including rain, snow, fog water and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. We explore how plant-microbial interactions influence nitrogen retention and forest productivity within natural and managed ecosystems. We currently work in temperate forests of the northeastern United States, redwood forests of California and tropical rainforests in Puerto Rico. We focus on three major themes within plant and ecosystem ecology:
-Impacts of climate change, particularly in the winter months, on growing season plant nutrient uptake, productivity and trace gas fluxes in northern forest ecosystems.
-The interaction between plant species composition and ecosystem nitrogen retention in temperate and tropical forests.
-Effects of land-use change and forest regeneration on nutrient cycling and retention.

Recent Publications
Templer, PH, WL Silver, J Pett-Ridge, K DeAngelis, and MK Firestone. 2008. Plant and microbial controls on nitrogen retention and loss in a humid tropical forest. Ecology 89:3030-3040.
Huygens D, P Boeckx, Templer, PH, L Paulino, O Van Cleemput, C Oyarzun, C Muller and R Goody. 2008. Mechanisms for retention of bioavailable nitrogen in volcanic rainforest soils. Nature Geoscience 1:543-548.
Templer, PH , MA Arthur, GM Lovett and K Weathers. 2007. Plant and soil natural abundance ?15N: indicators of relative rates of nitrogen cycling in temperate forest ecosystems. Oecologia 153:399-406.
Pardo LH, PH Templer, C Goodale, S Duke, P Groffman, MB Adams, P Boeckx, J Boogs, J Campbell, B Colman, J Compton, B Emmett, P Gundersen, J Kjonaas, G Lovett, M Mack, A Magill, M Mbila, M Mitchell, G McGee, S McNulty, K Nadelhoffer, S Ollinger, D Ross, H Rueth, L Rustad, P Shaberg, S Schiff, P Schleppi, J Spoelstra and W Wessel. 2006. Regional Assessment of N saturation using foliar ?15N. Biogeochemistry 80:143-171.
Templer, PH. 2005. Tree Species Effects on Nitrogen Cycling and Retention: a Synthesis of Studies Using 15N Tracers. /In/ Tree Species Effects on Soils: Implications for Global Change. D. Binkley, O. Menyailo, eds. NATO Science Series, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht.
Templer, PH, G Lovett, K Weathers, S Findlay, and T Dawson. 2005. Influence of tree species on forest nitrogen retention in the Catskill Mountains, New York, USA. Ecosystems 8:1-16.
Templer, PH, P Groffman, A Flecker, and A Power. 2005. Land use change and soil nutrient transformations in the Los Haitises region of the Dominican Republic. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 37:215-225.

Andy Thompson

Andy managed the Silver Lab and coordinated Whendee’s research from 1998-2008. He graduated with a BA in Chemistry from Wesleyan University in 1992, then worked for Institute of Ecosystem Studies from 1992 – 1997 before coming to UC Berkeley. His research interests involve the interaction of weather and climate with plant communities, soil nitrogen cycling, and anything that increases the speed, precision, or user-friendliness of analytical procedures. Other interests include characterization of fermentative microbial community behavior through sensory analysis, as well as modeling the causative factors of dynamic friction between crystalline water and plastic/steel/wood/wax in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

Bibit Halliday Traut
Bibit received her B.A. in Biology and M.S. in Marine Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her thesis focused on examining the natural history and feeding ecology of a large herbivorous kelp forest snail. Bibit then received a M.S. in Botany and Plant Pathology from Oregon State University where her thesis focused on the effects of variation in ecosystem carryover on biodiversity and community structure of forest floor bryophytes and understory vascular plants. In 2003, Bibit completed her PhD. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. Her doctoral work focused on the structure and function of the high salt marsh ecotone and examined the influences of grazing and nitrogen addition on community dynamics. Bibit’s NPER Fellowship project will continue to examine the marine/terrestrial transition zone at Point Reyes National Seashore, but will more specifically examine the relationship between plant diversity and ecosystem function. In collaboration with Whendee Silver and Carla D’Antonio at the University of California, Berkeley, her study will examine the relationship between plant composition and nitrogen cycling. They will also test the predictions that resistance to invasion will increase in more diverse plots, and that in those plots that are invaded (e.g. by a C4 annual invader) nitrogen retention will be reduced. Coastal transition zones provide essential ecological functions regulating fluxes of nutrients, water and organisms. Biological processes in these areas of transition mediate nitrogen retention and removal. As we are faced with rapid destruction of these crucial filters, it is imperative to increase our understanding of the consequences of biodiversity on ecosystem function. Results from this study will provide important information for the greater scientific community, as well as managers charged with conserving and restoring the marine/terrestrial transition zone.

Samantha Weintraub

I am interested in the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, the organisms involved, and the implications for ecosystem processes. I seek to explore the interactions among soil, plants, microbes, and climate, and the flows of energy and materials between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Conservation and Resources Studies. I conducted various types of ecologically-oriented research as an undergraduate, including work on agroecology and sustainable farming practices with Dr. Miguel Altieri and in southern Brazil (where I lived for 6 months). I also conducted a Senior Honor’s Thesis in the soil microbial ecology laboratory of Dr. Mary Firestone, where I examined nitrification processes in California grassland soils. I was a research technician in Dr. Whendee Silver’s ecosystem ecology laboratory. I worked with Ph D candidate Daniela Cusack on a project in the Luquillo Experimental Forest in Puerto Rico. We looked at the effects of inorganic nitrogen deposition on carbon cycling in humid tropical forests. My future plans include earning a phD in ecology and applying my in-depth knowledge of ecosystem processes to sustainable management of the Earth’s diverse natural resources.

Michelle Wong

Michelle joined the lab in the summer of 2010 and was a technician for a year.  Before joining the lab, she worked in the Sposito lab and the Pallud Lab studying selenium reduction.  She is interested in ecosystem ecology and pollution biogeochemistry.  She currently works for the Cal EPA in the Department of Pesticide Regulation, studying methyl iodide. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology and a B.A. in Sociology.

Tana Wood

I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Silver Lab.  I was involved in two projects:  (1) A throughfall exclusion experiment in Puerto Rico to evaluate soil moisture controls on trace gas fluxes from tropical soils, and (2) Research investigating controls on methane production and consumption in soils of the California Bay Delta.  My research goal is to understand the impact of climate and land-use change on plant and ecosystem-level processes.


McGlynn, TP, DJ Salinas, RR Dunn, TE Wood, D Lawrence, DA Clark.  2007.  Phosphorus limits tropical rain forest litter fauna.  Biotropica. 39:50-53.

Vandecar, KL, D Lawrence, TE Wood, SF Oberbauer, R Das, K Tully, and L Schwendenmann. 2009.  Biotic and abiotic controls on diurnal fluctuations in labile soil phosphorus of a wet tropical forest.  Ecology. 90:2547-2555.

Wood TE, WL Silver, AE Lugo.  Impact of experimental drought on greenhouse gas emissions from a humid tropical forest soil.  (In preparation for Global Change Biology)

Wood, TE, JA Wells, D Lawrence.  In Review. Inter-specific variation in foliar nutrients and resorption of nine canopy tree species in a neotropical rainforest is related to physical leaf traits.  Ecosystems.

Wood, TE, D Lawrence, DA Clark, RL Chazdon.  2009.  Rain forest nutrient cycling and productivity in response to large-scale litter manipulation. Ecology. 90:109-121.

Wood, TE, D Lawrence.  2008. No short-term change in soil properties following four-fold litter addition in a Costa Rican rain forest.  Plant and Soil. 307:113-122.

Wood TE, D Lawrence, DA Clark. 2006.  Determinants of Leaf Litter Nutrient Cycling in a Tropical Rain Forest: Soil Fertility Versus Topography.  Ecosystems. 9:700-710.

Wood TE, D Lawrence, DA Clark.. 2005. Variation in leaf litter nutrients of a Costa Rican rain forest is related to precipitation.  Biogeochemistry.  73:417-437.

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan was an undergraduate student at Berkeley working on a B.S. in environmental sciences. Jonathan wrote his senior thesis with the Silver lab, working in Puerto Rico with Daniela Cusack on long-term nitrogen deposition plots established by Bill McDowell from the University of New Hampshire. His thesis focused on the effects of nitrogen deposition on soil-atmosphere effluxes of methane and nitrous oxide. Jonathan’s experiences in the Silver Lab should help him figure out what he he’d like to do after graduating. Though the possibilities are endless, applying to PhD programs in a related field is a distinct possibility.

Gary Gao

I am an undergraduate in Environmental Sciences Class of 2012 from UC Berkeley. My main area of focus is in the biology of natural ecosystem cycles, and I have broadened my area by also minoring in Sustainable Design. I joined the Silver lab in May of 2011, and have helped out with the Marin Carbon Project and learned many new lab techniques and gained valuable experience. My knowledge also expands into technology, as I have worked in the IT Department of the UC Berkeley Physical Plant for the past 3 years. I plan on completing my B.S. in Environmental Sciences and then moving onto higher education in graduate school. As for extracurricular activities, I am part of the Cal Dragonboat Team and I enjoy many outdoor activities.


Taichi Natake

I am an undergraduate Environmental Science major at UC Berkeley, and my main areas of interest are wildlife and ecosystem ecology. I recently did an independent research project with Dr. Reginald Barrett on the golden eagle behavior pattern using camera traps, and am currently working on data analysis for this project. Furthermore, during this past semester, I took an ecosystem ecology course taught by Dr. Whendee Silver, which sparked my interest in ecosystem science. Later, I joined the Silver lab in May of 2011 as an undergraduate assistant, and learned various analytical methods from a number of interesting projects. Overall, my experiences in the lab have deepened my interests in the chemical and biological processes in the ecosystem. I will graduate from UC Berkeley in spring 2012, and am planning to apply for graduate school in the field of environmental management.


Allegra Mayer

I am currently enjoying my time as a volunteer for the Marin Carbon Project. I am in the Northwestern University class of 2013, double majoring in Integrated Science and Environmental Science. The research I am being exposed to in the Silver Lab is a great supplement to the project I am currently working on in Earth and Planetary Science Lab at Northwestern. Under Professor Brad Sageman, I am researching paleo-climate change in the North American Western Interior Seaway, with a specific interest in the cause of Ocean Anoxic Event 2. I have found it fascinating to learn about both the very long term and the short term carbon cycles and their impact on Earth’s climate. I will continue to research climate change next summer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.
I am also an avid hiker and runner, and compete for Northwestern on the women’s cross-country team.


Kasturi Sengupta

I am an undergraduate English major and Conservation and Resource Studies minor at U.C. Berkeley. I am very passionate about environmental issues and anticipate going into environmental law in the future. I have always wanted to work in a lab and, while I feel extremely lucky to be able to work here, I fear it has spoiled me for many other labs. I have been a member of this lab for six months and each day has presented a myriad of inspiring experiences and incredible learning opportunities. At the very least, there’s always lots of dirt to play with!


Marcia DeLonge

I joined the Silver Lab as a post-doctoral scholar in June 2010, after completing my PhD at the University of Virginia. I am broadly interested in applying field measurements and numerical models to understand the influences of surface cover and land management on atmospheric processes.  I have an interdisciplinary background emphasizing atmospheric science, hydrology, and biogeochemistry.

My current research is part of the Marin Carbon Project, which is investigating land management strategies for grasslands and their impacts on carbon sequestration.  For my work, I am developing a model to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions associated with grazed grassland management and the life cycle of soil amendments. To inform the model, I am performing field experiments to determine the impacts of applying different soil amendments to grasslands in Marin.

In my dissertation, I studied West African convective storms, which are associated with tropical cyclogenesis, as they moved over coastal Senegal.  Using observations (e.g., radar, rawinsondes, meteorological tower) and models (i.e., cloud-resolving, boundary layer), I researched microphysical and thermodynamic attributes of these systems as they transitioned from a continental to maritime environment.  My findings revealed that the storms could be better understood by considering surface-influenced features, such as surface-atmosphere energy exchanges, boundary layer properties, and atmospheric aerosol loading.

I received my MS from the University of Virginia in 2007.  In this project I investigated hydrological controls on phosphorus cycling on dry tropical forest stands of different ages in the Yucatan.  Field work (i.e., throughfall and leachate experiments), lab work (i.e., P mineralization and bioavailability studies), and modeling identified important feedbacks between forest age and P-cycling.


Marcia DeLonge’s CV (September 2012)


M DeLonge, RA Ryals, W Silver. Carbon sequestration potential and greenhouse gas dynamics of managed grasslands, in review at Ecosystems, August 2012.

Logan Curtis-Whitchurch

I joined the Silver Lab as a freshman at Cal in November of 2009 as an undergraduate assistant. I am entering my junior year as a declared Integrative Biology major with a focus in Human Genetics and a minor in Classics, Latin. I am interested in potentially switching my major and pursuing a degree in Molecular Environmental Biology in our College of Natural Resources, largely due to my time working in the SIlver Lab. I am currently looking into available research opportunities for undergraduates for future summers and planning my continuation into graduate school.


Evan Portier

I am currently a U.C. Berkeley undergraduate carrying out a research project involving nitrogen cycling in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta. I am specifically seeking to understand the effects of a pervasive exotic plant, Lepidium latifolium, on nitrogen cycling in this region. I’ve been a member of the lab for about one year and have learned a plethora of knowledge and skills in my time here. My current research interests include the following: the use of isotopes to investigate nitrogen and carbon cycling in temperate ecosystems, ecosystem responses to changes in biogeochemical cycling, and the resulting implications on plant community composition. In the past, I’ve been a NSF REU intern, Ronald McNair’s Scholar, and have presented at several national conferences (AGU, SACNAS). My goal is to attend graduate school in hopes of a doctoral degree. Outside of school and research, I enjoy working on my Volkswagen bus (75’ Westfalia!), playing basketball on the local courts, and cooking vegetarian surprises.