Peter Reich — Project Manager

My current research focuses on the impacts of global environmental change on terrestrial ecosystems. This includes effects of climate change, elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide, other air pollutants, land use/management, fire and biotic invasion on health, biodiversity, and sustainability of forest and grassland ecosystems both in Minnesota and globally. This work simultaneously attempts to bridge the fields of physiological, community, ecosystem, landscape, and global ecology. We tend to focus on the broad ecotone of central North America, where boreal forests, northern hardwood forests, oak woodlands/savannas, and grasslands converge and mix. However, we are involved in projects that address similar themes and issues in many other biomes and geographic locations, including work in several other continents (Australia, Europe, South America).





Clarence Lehman — Investigator

During summers, I spend much of my time at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, helping manage all the bustling research and other human activity that goes on there. The beginning of the twenty-first century is crucial for future planning, to keep the diverse natural habitats of Cedar Creek wild in the midst of an emerging suburban landscape. There are exciting opportunities at Cedar Creek to participate in harmonious co-planning with local communities and governments.

During winters, I turn to theoretical ecology -- effects of biodiversity on stability and other ecosystem properties, simplified models of ecosystem operation, ecology's interface with evolutionary theory. More generally, I am fascinated by computer applications to biology where computation is not only the tool, but the very paradigm for understanding the biological system. This includes application of artificial neural networks to problems of animal behavior, application of computer state-space searching concepts to evolution in complex fitness landscapes, and other interesting things.

I also conduct several well-replicated field experiments that are part of an adaptive management strategy for my own native prairie and savanna restorations.

Lee Frelich — Investigator

Research interests include: (1) Effects of large-scale wind and fire in boreal forests of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, including the big blowdown of 1999, and the subsequent prescribed fires and wildfires; (2) European earthworm invasion in forests and the complex interactions with other invasive species and deer grazing; (3) Long-term dynamics of old-growth maple and hemlock forests in Upper Michigan; (4) patterns of tree height in the eastern U.S.; (5) vegetation and moose browsing on Isle Royale National Park; and (6) Climate change, its influence on forests near the prairie-forest border, and interactions with deer, fire and wind, insects and invasive species.

Don Wyse — Investigator

Dr. Wyse is a Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics, and Co-Director of the Center for Integrated Natural Resources and Agricultural Management at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches and does research in weed biology and ecology, biological weed management, agroecology, and perennial crop breeding. His overall research focus has been on the development of multifunctional cropping systems that produce ecosystem services, are highly productive, and economically viable. Specific research areas have included the design of cropping systems that provide continuous living cover and the evaluation of their impact on soil erosion, nutrient, and water management; impact of cropping systems on management of invasive species; use of cover crops to develop no-tillage organic grain and vegetable cropping systems; breeding of perennial grasses, perennial sunflower, and perennial flax; breeding and selection of hairy vetch and mustard species as cover crops.

Research Specialists

Richard Barnes is a 2011 physics and computer science graduate from the University of Minnesota. His previous work has involved applying image processing techniques to glacial monitoring, development of LISP-based robotic interfaces for the Sony Aibo, leading research on solar-powered plastics recycling in Haiti, developing sensors for use inside glaciers, and studying the properties of high-energy particles during large solar storms.


Shelby Williams is a 2006 graduate of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota. She has managed information and created data-manipulation programs for previous work involving glacial retreat effects on peatland bog formation. This work also included preparation of publication quality graphs and figures using custom software.




Esther Widiasih is a 2009 PhD of the University of Minnesota interested in the application of dynamical systems to climate science. Her PhD thesis considered the stability of an energy balance model developed by Mihail Budyko and suggested that Earth is unlikely to remain without polar ice caps for any extended geologic period. As of August 2010, she is a visiting faculty member of the University of Arizona's Department of Mathematics.