Rodney A. Chimner

Rodney A. Chimner
"We are what we imagine ourselves to be."
—Kurt Vonnegut, Jr


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  • Professor, SFRES
  • PhD, Ecology, Colorado State University
  • MS, Forest Hydrology, Michigan State University
  • BS, Earth Science, Northern Michigan University
  • AA, Philosophy, Kellogg Community College


Michigan Tech is superbly located in an area of high wetland abundance and diversity, facilitating both research and instruction. The proximity and diversity of wetlands is what allows the Wetlands class (FW4220) to spend three hours a week in the lab portion of the class getting dirty, wet and obtaining hands on experience. As an applied ecologist, I feel that the experiential learning is crucial to supplement traditional classroom learning.

My research areas focus on wetland ecosystem science, ecohydrology and wetland restoration. My main goal is to develop ecosystem knowledge of wetlands and use that knowledge to: 1) understand how they will be affected by climate change and other perturbations, 2) improve management and conservation of wetlands and 3) restore disturbed wetlands. I am also interested in some basic wetland science questions, such as, how do tropical peatlands form and function in comparison with cooler climate peatlands? Some of the projects that I am currently working on include: long-term assessment and restoration of mountain fens in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado: wetland restoration in the UP of Michigan: influence of temperature and water table changes on peatland carbon cycling: and the influence of grazing on wetland carbon cycling in Patagonia.

Areas of Expertise

  • Peatland and wetland restoration
  • Peatland and wetland carbon cycling
  • Mountain wetlands
  • Tropical peatlands
  • Ecosystem carbon cycling
  • Wetland ecohydrology

Recent Publications

  • Chimner, R.A., C.A. Ott*, C.H. Perry and R.K. Kolka. 2014. Developing and Evaluating Rapid Field Methods to Estimate Peat Carbon. Wetlands 34:1241-1246. DOI: 10.1007/s13157-014-0574-6.
  • Enriquez A.S. *, R.A. Chimner, P. Diehl, M.V. Cremona and G.L. Bonvissuto. 2015. Grazing intensity and precipitation levels influence C reservoirs in Northern Patagonia wet and mesic meadows. In press at Wetland Ecology and Management.
  • Schimelpfenig, D.W.*, D.J. Cooper and R.A. Chimner. 2014. Effectiveness of ditch blockage for restoring hydrologic and soil processes in mountain peatlands. Restoration Ecology 22: 257-265. DOI: 10.1111/rec.12053. 34
  • Chimner, R.A., G.L. Bonvissuto, M.V. Cremona, J.J. Gaitan, C.R. Lopez. 2011. Ecohydrological conditions of wetlands along a precipitation gradient in Patagonia, Argentina. Ecologia Austral 21:329-337.
  • Chimner R.A., D.J. Cooper and J.M. Lemly. 2010. Mountain fen distribution, types and restoration priorities, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA. Wetlands 30:763-771.
  • Chimner, R.A., J.M. Karberg. 2008. Long-term carbon accumulation in tropical mountain peatlands, Andes Mountains, Ecuador. Mires and Peat 3: Art. 4. 

Recent Funding

  • Chimner, R.A. Collaboration for Research and Capacity Building in Wetland Carbon Cycling in Tropical Ecosystems. $326,312. 2013-2015. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.
  • Halvorsen, K, PI, Co-Pi’s: H. Asbjornsen, R. Chimner, C. Moseley, D. Shonnard. OISE-PIRE: Sustainability, Ecosystem Services, and Bioenergy Development across the Americas. NSF PIRE, $4,841,735. 2012-2017.
  • Kane E.S, Chimner, R.A., Kolka R.K., Lilleskov E.A, Pypker T., Lennon J.T. 2012-2015. Collaborative Research: PEATcosm: Understanding the interactions of climate, plant functional groups and carbon cycling in peatland ecosystems. NSF DEB - Ecosystem Science Cluster. $707,326.
  • Chimner, R.A. 2011-2013. Northeast Minnesota White Cedar Plant Community Restoration. $22,849 to MTU from a total budget of $250,000 awarded to Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
  • Chimner, R.A., R. Kolka and C.H. Perry. 2010-2013. Development of New Organic Soil Survey Methods for Determining Carbon Storage in Northern Great Lakes Peatlands. USFS. $105,022.