Welcome to the Tree Physiology and Ecosystem Science Lab at North Carolina State University!
Our research group is interested in a variety of topics associated with physiology and ecology of forested ecosystems. We are located within the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources in North Carolina State University's College of Natural Resources. For more information, please take a look at our current projects and our lab members or contact John King at john_king "at" ncsu.edu.
January 2015 - Three new positions available immediately!
Global change research within the Tree Physiology and Ecosystem Science Lab at NC State University
Three research positions are immediately available to examine the effects of climate change on bioenergy production, ecosystem dynamics and carbon cycling in managed and natural forests of North Carolina. Screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until suitable candidates are found, with the objective of filling all positions by spring/summer/fall 2015. Interested persons should send cover letter, CV, academic transcripts (unofficial copies are fine), relevant reprints, and (brief) letters of recommendation to Dr. John King: email@example.com.
Position 1 - MS graduate teaching assistantship in ecophysiology of sycamore for bioenergy
Short-rotation coppice (SRC) culture of woody crops has potential to generate clean sustainable energy from marginal lands and contribute to local economic development. However, data on the sustainability and tolerance to environmental stress of such land use systems is severely lacking. This position will investigate productivity, water use, and drought tolerance of sycamore planted at high density and managed as an SRC system. Research will include leaf-level physiology, NPP, whole-tree and stand water use, site water balance and bioenergy water use efficiency. The position will also provide significant teaching experience as a graduate teaching assistant for undergraduate courses in NC State’s interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences program. Required qualifications include a BS degree in a complementary discipline from a recognized college/university, good academic record, and demonstrated interest in research. Desired qualifications/competitive advantage include significant experience in an academic research project in ecology, bioenergy or forest ecophysiology, co/authorship on a peer-reviewed publication, and strong letter(s) of recommendation. Position is anticipated to last two years starting in August 2015 and is contingent upon continued availability of funding and satisfactory performance. The position includes stipend, tuition remission, student health fees, and research expenses.
Position 2 - PhD research assistantship in root physiology and production in natural and managed forested wetlands
The land-ocean interface along the coast of North Carolina is an extremely dynamic environment subject to short- and long-term changes in hydrology, land use, and climate. Conserving the significant natural resources of the region, and at the same time protecting human welfare and the rapidly growing economy, creates the need for a better understanding of how coastal ecosystems adjust to the changing conditions. In particular, natural forested wetlands provide many ecosystem services, including C storage, water cycling, biodiversity conservation, economic development and protection from storm surges and flooding. The widespread loblolly pine industry is a main economic engine of the region and an important land use component across the Southeast. Our group is using a combination of ecosystem monitoring (using eddy covariance and biometric approaches), ecosystem modeling, and experimental manipulations in a long-term research program to quantify natural and managed forest responses to the dynamic coastal environment. This PhD assistantship will lead efforts to understand belowground tree growth and C inputs to soils by conducting a series of root phenology and production experiments. There will also be opportunities to study to root physiological responses (growth, gas exchange, hydraulic conductivity, etc.) to changes in salinity, hydroperiod (rapidly fluctuating water table), and management. Required qualifications include a BS degree in a complementary discipline from a recognized college/university, good academic record, and demonstrated interest in research. Desired qualifications/competitive advantage include significant experience in an academic research project in belowground ecology, GIS (for scaling and mapping) and forest ecophysiology, co/authorship on a peer-reviewed publication, and strong letter(s) of recommendation. Position is anticipated to last three years and is contingent upon continued availability of funding and satisfactory performance. The position includes stipend, tuition remission, student health fees, and research expenses.
Position 3 – Postdoctoral research fellowship in soil microbial ecology and belowground carbon cycling in natural and managed forested wetlands
Closely related to Position 2, this position will be responsible for characterizing soil microbial community composition and activity in terms of converting tree-derived organic inputs into soil organic matter (SOM), and dissolved and gaseous fluxes of soil C (DOC/DIC, CO2/CH4). Duties will include: 1) characterization of biochemical and isotopic composition of leaf, wood, root, microbial biomass, and SOM; 2) estimation of SOM formation and area-scaled fluxes of dissolved/gaseous C fluxes; 3) quantification of soil microbial extracellular enzymes and activities; 4) isotopic tracing of the flow of C from plants to soils to groundwater/atmosphere using labeled substrate; 5) integration of results into ecosystem models; and 6) managing new C stable isotope measurement capacity within the lab. Required qualifications include a PhD in a complementary discipline from a recognized college/university, good academic record, and demonstrated record of achievement in research. Desired qualifications/competitive advantage include significant experience in soil microbial ecology, GIS (for scaling and mapping), wetlands biogeochemistry, laboratory analytical skills, and strong letter(s) of recommendation. Position is anticipated to last three years and is contingent upon continued availability of funding and satisfactory performance. The position includes competitive salary and NCSU postdoctoral benefits described at the NCSU Postdoctoral Affairs Office website.
December 2014 - The long-term research cooperative between our lab and the USDA Forest Service was featured in the NCSU research publication RESULTS. See a pdf of the article here.
July 28 to August 1 - John visits Houghton, MI, to work on research collaborations on organic soils in forested wetlands with USDA Forest Service RWU-NRS-06 Climate, Fire and Carbon Cycle Sciences unit. Great seeing Erik and many other old friends!
July 1-2 2014 - John visited Professor Rainer Matyssek at Munich Technical University to work on forest drought research at Kranzberg Forest and several writing projects. It is always great to go up in the canopy crane and to tour Freising!
June 5-6 2014 - John attended workshop on regional opportunities for managing bottomland hardwoods at the Johnston County Agricultural Center in Smithfield. There were lots of great talks on the challenges and rewards of working in forested wetlands of the South, considerations for adapting to changes in land uses, hydrology and climate, and an awesome pig pickin' Friday evening. Useful stuff for our work at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
May-June - Our work at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge was featured in a report on biological carbon sequestration in refuges across the nation released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
May 22, 2014 - John and Guofang presented a poster and active learning activities on the forest carbon cycle to academically advanced 4th and 5th graders for Science Day at GW Bulluck and Coker-Wimberly elementary schools in Edgecomb County. The kids asked lots of great questions!
April 22, 2014 - Andrew has successfully defended his Masters thesis - Partitioning evapotranspiration: an investigation into the key environmental drivers of four overstory species in a coastal forested wetland at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Congratulations, Andrew!
April 2014: Evapotranspiration: Challenges in Measurement and Modeling from Leaf to the Landscape Scale and Beyond meeting, organized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the USDA Forest Service, and Weyerhaeuser NR Company, 7-10 April, Raleigh, NC.