2023 Spring Seminar Series

The CFRES Spring Seminar Series is sponsored by faculty in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science.  Distinguished speakers are invited to  present on their research and/or field of expertise.  Open to all.  


Dustin Bronson

Research Plant Physiologist

Northern Research Station (Rheinlander)

 January 19, 2023 from 12:30pm-1:30pm eastern. 


Trista Vick-Majors

Assistant Professor

Biological Sciences, MTU

Microbial Life in the Cryosphere from the Keweenaw to the Poles

A headshot of Dr. Trista Vick-Majors

Throughout Earth’s history, the planet has experienced expansions and contractions of its ice-covered surfaces, which profoundly influenced the distribution and diversity of life. Today, the cryosphere, which includes regions where it is cold enough for water to transition to ice for at least one month out of the year, comprises about one-fifth of the planet’s surface. This vast area spans northern and southern high latitudes and high elevations globally, but it is shrinking, threatened by rising global temperatures. The cryosphere contains some of Earth’s most famously threatened environments – glaciers, ice sheets, permafrost – whose loss has significant consequences for habitat, biogeochemical cycling, and human cultural and water resources. Numerous aquatic ecosystems spanning the latitude and altitude gradients of the cryosphere are equally threatened by climate change. This microbial life governs the biogeochemical cycling necessary to sustain these aquatic ecosystems, in some cases as the only or dominant form of life present. At the same time, they exist at an unprecedented interface of change, facing the combined effects of rising temperatures, ice loss, changes in ice thickness and duration, and changing runoff from the landscape. Using microbial ecosystems spanning from subglacial aquatic environments in the Antarctic to the Keweenaw, I aim to develop a coherent understanding of the fundamental biotic and abiotic interactions that result in observable patterns in microbial community composition and function across the cryosphere’s aquatic ecosystems.


 February 16, 2023 from 12:30pm-1:30pm eastern. 



Dr. Kurt Kipfmueller

University of Minnesota

Forgotten Fires: Restorying Great Lakes Red Pine Fire Regimes

A headshot of Kurt Kipfmueller

While most of the attention on issues related to wildland fire in the US have been focused on western landscapes, fire has historically been a critical process in the pine forests of the Upper Great Lakes. The reduction of fire over the last 100 years, related to ignition/cultural suppression as well as direct suppression of fires has diminished the memories of past fire, and led to substantial changes in the forest landscape. Over the last 50 years our understanding of the role of fire in Great Lakes landscapes has become more refined with additional tree ring-based studies of fire history that better capture the occurrence of frequent, low intensity surface fires. In this presentation I’ll provide an overview of a growing network of fire history sites in red pine (or former red pine) landscapes across the Great Lakes. This work provides a better context for understanding the relative roles of climate and people in driving fire over the past three centuries. A few case studies will be highlighted to illustrate the importance of understanding the particularities of place and the potential use of fire for managing resources over time. The network is helping to re-initiate, re-engage, and restory the reciprocal relationships between people, pine, and fire, particularly in Indigenous communities.


March 2, 2023 from 12:30-1:30pm eastern




Luke Nave

Research Associate Professor

Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, CFRES

Climate Change and Forests: Adaptation and Mitigation as Management Goals

Luke Nave sitting on the forest floor while holding a tool

Forests are experiencing ever-more stressors, even as the processes they support and the services they provide are more important than ever. Climate change multiplies existing stressors such as storms, fires, insect pests, fungal pathogens, and ungulate browsers, and also interacts with distinctly human pressures such as habitat fragmentation through land use change. At the same time, our society depends upon forests as a critical source of food, fiber, fuel, fresh water, habitat for treasured organisms, recreational use, aesthetic enjoyment, and spiritual fulfillment. In this context, we must consider and concern ourselves with the range of actions we can take to support forests for their own sake, despite the threats facing them, while also supporting our society's needs. I will set the stage for this presentation by discussing climate change impacts on forests, drawing in foundational concepts in climate change change adaptation and mitigation. I will focus on the geographic uniqueness, natural and cultural history of the Lake States, with reference to other ecoregions by way of comparison and contrast. The presentation will provide a mix of philosophies, concepts, and busy data figures about soil and trees, and if successful, will leave participants with a mixed feeling of common ground, contention, and above all else, a list of questions to which no one yet knows the answers.



March 16, 2023 from 12:30pm-1:30pm eastern. 




Sarah Hoy

Research Assistant Professor


A headshot of Sarah Hoy

March 30, 2023 from 12:30-1:30pm eastern




Doug Gardner

Professor of Forest Operations, Bioproducts, & Bioenergy

University of Maine

A headshot of Doug Gardner

April 13, 12:30pm-1:30pm