Pamela Templer

Associate Professor of Biology

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PhD, Cornell University, 2001

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I am broadly interested in ecosystem ecology and the influence that plant-microbial interactions have on nutrient cycling, retention and loss. I am particularly interested in the effects that human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, introduction of non-native plant species, land use change and climate change, have on forest ecosystems. We currently examine a variety… Read more

I am broadly interested in ecosystem ecology and the influence that plant-microbial interactions have on nutrient cycling, retention and loss. I am particularly interested in the effects that human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, introduction of non-native plant species, land use change and climate change, have on forest ecosystems. We currently examine a variety of nitrogen sources, including rain, fog, and anthropogenic nitrogen deposition. We explore how plant-microbial interactions influence nitrogen and carbon retention and loss within natural and managed ecosystems.

We currently work in temperate forests of the northeastern United States, redwood forests of California, and tropical forests of Puerto Rico and Mexico. We focus on three research themes: (1) the effects of winter climate change on forest biogeochemistry and carbon exchange; (2) controls on nitrogen retention and loss in temperate and tropical forest ecosystems, and (3) effects of land-use change and forest regeneration on nutrient cycling.

In the Media

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  • Mimicking Climate Change

    July 28, 2016

    Undark Magazine Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Researchers are creating micro-environments to study what happens when temperatures rise and rain falls less often… Expert quote: “Over the last, I’d say two to three decades there have been more and more of these (experiments). Some mimic a future with higher temperatures, some mimic a […]

  • Urban soil emits a surprising amount of CO2

    February 24, 2016

    Grist Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Watch out, fossil fuels. There’s another CO2 emitter in town, and she’s been letting you take all the heat for greenhouse gases… Expert quote: “When people mulch their landscaped areas or fertilize their lawns, they’re putting out yummy fresh highly decomposable carbon that soil microbes can use. … And […]

  • A Web of Sensors Enfolds an Entire Forest to Uncover Clues to Climate Change

    March 13, 2015

    IEEE Spectrum Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Harvard’s experimental forest is wired up and down to study how changing conditions affect entire ecosystems… Expert quote: “We would love to have a crystal ball that says, ‘In 100 years the temperatures are going to increase by x and the forest is going to respond […]

  • Slow-melting snowpack could take weeks to disappear

    March 11, 2015

    Boston Globe (subscription required) Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences The mounds of snow are finally melting, but it could be more than a month before anyone in the area spies the shoot of a crocus or daffodil, much less wide swaths of grass… Expert quote: “All the snow we’ve received is a huge […]

  • The city is an ecosystem, pipes and all

    November 8, 2014

    Boston Globe (subscription required) Lucy Hutyra, College of Arts & Sciences Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Nathan Phillips, College of Arts & Sciences Is a tree trying to survive in the city better off than a tree growing in the forest? The obvious answer would seem to be “no”: City trees face pollution, […]

  • Eye on weather: The spring forecast

    March 30, 2014

    WBZ Richard Primack, College of Arts & Sciences Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences From the April Fool’s Blizzard of 1997 to the record floods of May 2006 to the sizzling heat of the 2012 Boston Marathon, we are vulnerable to a veritable potpourri of weather in the spring… View video of experts Richard […]

  • Less Snowfall may Harm Soil Quality and Tree Health, Study Suggests

    February 28, 2014

    Nature World News Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Tree growth and water system quality may be negatively impacted by milder winters in the coming years, according to a new study. Researchers from Boston University report that less snow cover associated with warmer winters will leave the ground exposed to prolonged freezing conditions, which will have consequences […]

  • Milder winters can have negative impact on trees & water quality

    February 28, 2014

    WBUR “Morning Edition” Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Listen to audio of expert Pamela Templer

  • More than snow in the equation as school cancellations mount

    February 14, 2014

    Boston Globe (subscription required) Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences The accusation: When it comes to snow, the region’s residents have melted into wimps. The alleged proof: The threshold for calling snow days seems to have dropped so low that officials cancel school for storms that would have been shrugged off in the past — […]

  • Wired Forest May Reveal How New England Forests Respond to Climate Change

    July 2, 2013

    Scientific American Pamela Templer, College of Arts & Sciences Monitoring a forest in New Hampshire provides clues to how important trees, such as maples, respond to changed conditions due to global warming… Expert quote: “It’s somewhat counterintuitive, but snow actually acts like a blanket. And so if you have a sufficient snowpack on the ground, […]

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