Gough Lab

Thanks for visiting! Here, you will find information about our research in plant physiological and ecosystem ecology. Our emphasis is on understanding how climate, disturbance, succession, and ecosystem structure affect leaf to ecosystem-scale function, with a focus on forest and wetland carbon cycling.  Currently, we seek undergraduate student collaborators to conduct Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and NASA supported research at VCU's Rice Rivers Center, and the University of Michigan Biological Station. Please contact Chris.

What does the field season look like? A National Science Foundation project asks how forests respond to different levels of disturbance. NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program East (SARP-E) provides immersive research training for undergraduates. And, a DOE experiment uses mesocosms and flux towers to test the effects of sea level rise and nitrogen pollution on wetland carbon fluxes.






Spring 2023

We are back in the lab and classroom, working up manuscripts from prior field seasons and preparing for another active field season ahead. Spoiler alerts: Our Rice Rivers Marsh is a huge methane emitter relative to its saltwater counterpart;  Maples beat oaks as neighborhood disturbance severity increases; and new analysis from Harvard Forest  show highly complex forests there store less (not more) carbon in wood biomass.

Congratulations Dr. Kayla Mathes on the completion of your Ph.D. The rest of us are preparing for a truly epic field season in the marshes of the east coast, the forests of the upper midwest, the skies of the mid-Atlantic and New England, and from space (well, with the help of satellites).

Following an action-packed field season, we are transitioning back to the lab for the Fall semester, with one important exception: Chris is on scholarly leave! In addition to extremely scholarly activities, Chris is picking up his guitar (finally) and hitting the trails. Elsewhere in the lab, we welcome new MS and work study students, and look forward to sharing the spoils of the field season with you soon!

Partially defoliated canopy.