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 we do: A National Science Foundation project asks how forests respond to disturbance. NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program East (SARP-E) provides immersive training for undergraduates. And, a DOE project studies how pulse salinity and nitrogen affect wetlands. Stay tuned as we launch and lead the VCU Chesapeake Carbon Consortium (C3), supporting quality nature-based solutions in the region through rigorous carbon accounting. 


We are a student-centered, collaborative, creative and engaged research group. We like what we do, a lot. Lab members include undergraduate and graduate students, post-bacc researchers, post-docs, and artists. Students in the lab participate in all aspects of research, including study design, data collection and analysis, and publishing.


Chris Gough, Associate Professor, CV

Carbon is my favorite element


Brandon Alveshere, post-doc

Next generation remote sensing of vegetation structure


Lisa Haber, PhD Candidate

Disturbance and forest + wetland leaf and canopy physiology

Ariel Johnson, PhD Student

Forest compositional change and ecosystem resilience after disturbance


Sara Tenda, MS Student

Tidal wetland carbon cycling


Mindy Priddy, PhD Student

Tidal wetland carbon cycling, SARP-E mentor


Angela Menna, MS student

Drivers of long-term carbon cycling processes

Ærn Stapel

Lab Coordinator


Erin-Darby McClain, MS student

Forest carbon cycling, disturbance, and arthropods


Gwenny Verity, NASA SARP-E student, 2023

Remote sensing of anthropogenic and natural methane source signatures


Sona Sunhil, Research Experience for Undergraduates participant, 2023

Forest carbon cycling and disturbance

Jade Shull, Research Experience for Undergraduates participant, 2024

Forest carbon cycling and disturbance


Sara Spence, Chesapeake Carbon Consortium (C3) intern


Theresa Lucas, Rice Rivers Center field tech


Isabella Di Leo, Undergraduate work study


Jackie Carter, Undergraduate work study

Elyssa Pearson, Undergraduate work study


Kayla Mathes, PhD, 2023: Now Woodwell Climate Research Center

Akhil Valluri, BS, 2022, undergraduate independent study student

Jason Funderburk, BS, 2022, undergraduate volunteer

Kerstin Niedermaier, MS, 2022

Laura Hickey, MS, 2022

Erika Masis Laverde, BS, 2022, former artist in residence

Leah Capili, NSF REU, 2021

Dr. Jeff Atkins, Post-doc, 2015-2020: Now with USDA Forest Service

Ellen Stuart Haentjens, PhD, 2021: Now with US Geological Survey

Cameron Clay, MS, 2021

Max Grigri, MS, 2020 : Now Program Manager with Verra

Shea Wales, MS, 2019 : Now Environmental Scientist with Verra 

Ben Sagara, MS, 2017: Now VA Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

Cynthia Sheuermann, M.S. 2016: Now a USDA Forest Service Employee

Amy Schmid, M.S. Biology, 2015: Now Manager with Verra

Lisa Collins, M.ENVS.

Alexis Spencer, work study student

Alex Marini, field/lab tech, 2021

Kirsten Street, field/lab technician, 2020-2021

Carol-Anne Petit, field/lab technician, 2020

Keith Dickerson, field/lab technician, 2020

Alley Barry, field/lab technician, 2017-2018

Sheryl Yaconiello, field/lab technician, 2018

Chase Hershberger, field/lab technician, 2018

Catherine McQuigan, scientific illustrator, 2018