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ESM E-Newsletter - Winter 2014

ESM E-Newsletter Winter 2014


Department of Environmental Science and Management

Winter 2014

Letter from the Chair

As the chair of the Department of Environmental Science & Management (ESM), I am happy to report that we had a very busy and productive year with many exciting accomplishments.

Following competitive national searches, this fall we welcomed two new faculty members, Drs. Jennifer Morse (biogeochemical ecology) and Max Nielsen-Pincus (social science). You can read more about our new faculty members below. We also had the first Annual ESM Alumni Mixer this fall; more than 30 alumni joined our inaugural alumni event! You can check out the photos here. Additionally, Dr. Joe Maser is developing the ESM Internship Programs to institutionalize our long-term collaborations with many professional community partners and provide quality internships for our students.

We also continue to focus on our student success. This past year, our ESM students received numerous awards. Siena Lopez-Johnston, a Masters student, received a scholarship from the Native American Research Centers for Health to study Pacific Lamprey, a species native to the Columbia Basin. Jacinda Mainord, a doctoral student, received an award from Bristol Bay Native Corporation Education Foundation to support her research on air pollutants in the Columbia Gorge.

In further support of our great students, the ESM department has recently established the ESM Endowed Scholarship Fund with a goal of raising $25,000 in 5 years. The scholarship will provide students with much needed support for tuition, travel, books and supplies. I am happy to announce that we are already off to a great start! Dr. Rueter, an established ESM faculty, has pledged $5,000. Please consider joining Dr. Rueter and supporting our students with a gift to the ESM Scholarship Fund today.

We look forward to sharing more exciting news with you in the coming year. Thank you for your interest and continued support!

Warm regards,

Professor Yangdong Pan

Chair, Environmental Science & Management

Focus on Graduate Student Research: Matthew Duveneck

How will forest change as the climate warms and what can we do about it? Is biodiversity an important component for managing climate change? What options are available to land managers? These are some of the questions that ESM PhD student Matthew Duveneck set out to answer when he came to PSU in 2010. After three-and-a-half years of arduous labor, Matthew defended his dissertation titled “How Do We Manage Forests For Climate Change? Assessing Resistance and Resilience of Northern Great Lake Forests” (Link to Presentation). Although he may not have answered every question, his research has made a substantial contribution to both the science of climate change and the management of northern Great Lake forests. Recently The Nature Conservancy began a new initiative based in part on his research where species expected to respond well to a changing climate were planted. Matthew noted that, ‘Research about future forests is critical as decisions we make today has consequences well into the future.’

Matthew came to PSU after serving as faculty and department chair at the Southern Maine Community College. While at PSU, Matthew worked under advisor Dr. Robert Scheller in the Dynamic Ecosystems and Landscapes Lab. He received grant funding for his work through the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Landscape Conservation Cooperatives. Additional generous funding for Matthew’s work came funding came from PSU’s Dean’s Award and ESM’s Bushby Graduate Scholarship. Matthew presented at numerous conferences and meetings with travel funding provided by PSU, the ESM’s Bushby Graduate Travel Award, and a NASA Professional Enhancement Award.

For his dissertation, Matthew used a forest simulation model to assess climate change and management effects in Minnesota and Michigan. He explored a range of carbon emission scenarios and explored how climate change might affect the relationship between diversity and forest productivity. In addition, he explored a variety of management options under climate change. Although the high emission climate change scenario largely outweighed management effects, Matthew found positive effects to management approaches that were adapted to account for climate change. For example, expanding forest reserves increased at-risk tree species such as balsam fir; planting climate suitable species increased productivity and diversity under climate change. His research contributed to climate change vulnerability assessments in Minnesota and Michigan; results of which are to be published in two separate US Forest Service General Technical Reports. In addition two chapters of his dissertation have been accepted for publication in Ecosphere and Canadian Journal of Forest Research, respectively.

Matthew is currently finishing up his final dissertation revisions and preparing additional manuscripts for publication and preparing for another cross-country move. He has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard University which he will start in January. Matthew will be working with Dr. Jonathan Thompson to continue his research, focusing on climate change, management and land use interactions in New England landscapes.

New Faculty Profile: Jennifer Morse

Dr. Jennifer Morse is a biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist with a Ph.D. in Ecology from Duke University. Her research is motivated by the concept of ecosystem services, or the benefits that humans derive from ecosystems. Ecosystem services such as water quality regulation, carbon storage, and greenhouse gas regulation are linked to complex biogeochemical processes. Jen’s current research involves understanding the movement and processing of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as the capacity of terrestrial and wetland soils to retain these nutrients before they reach sensitive aquatic systems.

While Jen has pursued research questions in a variety of different ecosystems, from northern hardwood forests in New Hampshire to vacant lots and stormwater structures in Baltimore, MD, to mangrove forests in Thailand and restored wetlands in coastal North Carolina, she is developing a strong urban dimension in her new work. Environments modified by humans—such as restored wetlands, riparian zones, and urban stormwater structures—are intriguing places to examine nutrient biogeochemistry and retention, because the ability of these altered or engineered systems to provide ecosystem is uncertain. She is eager to establish new collaborative research in Portland and the Pacific Northwest and to maintain existing partnerships with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study.

New Faculty Profile: Max Nielsen-Pincus

Dr. Max Nielsen-Pincus is a Portland native and fourth generation Oregonian. He received his Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Oregon and his Master’s degree in environmental studies and community development from Antioch University in Seattle, WA. He received his Ph.D. in 2007 in natural resource management from the University of Idaho’s Department of Forest Resources where he was a National Science Foundation IGERT fellow. Since then Max worked as the director of the Crooked

River Watershed Council in central Oregon where he worked on watershed restoration projects, coordinating management priorities among federal and state agencies, private landowners, and other stakeholders. For the five years prior to joining ESM, he was on the research faculty at the University of Oregon’s Institute for a Sustainable Environment and Department of Planning, Public Policy, and management, where his work focused on research related to natural resource-based sustainable development in rural and urban-interface communities in the American West and teaching natural resource policy and management.

Dr. Nielsen-Pincus became interested in natural resource management in the 1990s during controversies over the listings of the northern spotted owl and salmon under the Endangered Species Act. Since then he has studied how policy impacts natural resource management and local communities, focusing on issues such as wildfire suppression, forest and fuels management, ecological restoration, and private land conservation. He uses social science and economic methodologies to study how individuals and institutions make natural resource and environmental management decisions, and the types of incentives and other factors that influence decision making. He also works on interdisciplinary projects focused on long-term landscape simulation modeling that integrate biophysical and socioeconomic perspectives to better understand how policy and planning can sustain the ecosystem services provided by Pacific Northwest landscapes.

Outside of Portland State University, Max enjoys spending time with his children, taking them to see the far flung reaches of Oregon and beyond, and being outdoors in all four seasons. He is thrilled to reconnect with Portland, and hopes that someday he will be able to hike the whole Pacific Crest Trail. He also enjoys pursuits like woodworking, running, and travel, which he has done in Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America.


Contact Us

Phone: 503-725-4982
Fax: 503-725-9040
Mailing Address:
Environmental Science & Mgmt
Portland State Univeristy
P.O. Box 751
Portland, OR 97207 Campus Location: SRTC Room 218

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In this Issue:

Letter from the Chair

Focus on Graduate Student Research: Matthew Duveneck

New Faculty Profile: Jennifer Morse

New Faculty Profile: Max Nielsen-Pincus


Professor Yeakley co-edits book entitled, “Wild Salmonids in the Urbanizing Pacific Northwest,” with coverage in The Oregonian and Sustainable Business Oregon.

Professor Scheller along with co-investigators received a $192,000 grant to predict and manage the consequences of climate change in Pacific Northwest forests.

Kaity Goldsmith (MEM) has received Oregon Sea Grant’s Marine Studies Scholarship. Her project studies the data needs of marine and coastal policy actors and managers for ecosystem services.

ESM faculty are awarded four PSU Research Stimulus Awards from the Institute for Sustainable Solutions and Research and Strategic Partnerships.

Professor Elise Granek and a co-investigator were awarded a grant from the Oregon University System and Oregon Community Foundation for their project on emerging contaminants.

Alumni News

New ESM Alumni Association forms leadership committee, hosts first Annual ESM Alumni Mixer.

Upcoming Events

End of the Year Celebration & Awards Ceremony
Friday, June 13, 2014, 1-3pm Smith Memorial Student Union 238



Header Photo by Rachel Spaid, owner of Nature by Design Photography