My research interests have always been centered around improving our understanding of feedbacks between above- and belowground processes. I began my research career studying climate change impacts on leaf physiology (M.S. in Environmental Science at Oregon State University). While working as a plant physiologist with Dynamac Corporation (US EPA Laboratory- Western Ecology Division in OR), I became more aware of the importance of understanding belowground processes. This led me to pursue a Ph.D. in root physiology and soils at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. I studied nutrient uptake by trees, both in the laboratory and in the field (Calhoun Experimental Forest in SC and Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in NH). After graduation, I turned my attention to biogeochemistry, studying nutrient cycling of foliage and soils in the northeastern U.S.
After many years of empirical studies, I have now shifted to modelling work. In my research, I focus primarily on studying the impacts of climate change, disturbances and forest management on forests. Most of my time is spent working on a project which aims to better integrate climate change results into forest management planning in northern MN. I recently completed a study on how climate change, fire and gypsy moths may affect C and N cycling of vegetation and soils in the NJ Pine Barrens.
Phone: 503-725-3894 (office) Email: lucash [at] pdx.edu
Twitter Handle: @MelissaLucash