Research Projects

Research Projects

Current Projects

Resilient water systems: Integrating environmental sensor networks and real-time water quality forecasts securely to adaptively manage drinking water and build social trust.

Funded by: National Science Foundation
PI: Cayelan Carey (VT), Co-PIs: Quinn Thomas (VT), Michael Sorice (VT), Madeline Schreidber (VT), Renato Figueiredo (U of Florida)

Project website

Decadal prediction of  sustainable agricultural and forest management

Funded by the USDA-NIFA as part of the Earth System Modeling 3 program (2015-2020)

PI:  Quinn Thomas (VT)
Co-PIs:  Gordon Bonan (National Center for Atmospheric Research), Christine Goodale/Jeb Sparks (Cornell University), Jeff Dukes (Purdue University), Stuart Grandy/Serita Frey (U of New Hampshire), Tom Fox/Harold Burkhart (Virginia Tech)
Supports the efforts of graduate students Ben Ahlswede, Joshua Rady, and Annika Jersild

The project is focused on predicting how forest and agriculture management can be used to meet demands for food and fiber while having positive benefits on climate.  The different institutions are focused on improving different aspects of the Community Earth System Model that will lead to coupled simulated of regional and global climate change associated with land management activities.  At Virginia Tech, in addition to overall project leadership, we are focused developing, evaluating, and applied a new forest management module in the Community Land Model.

Past, Current, and Future CO2 and N Fertilization Impacts on Forest Carbon Sequestration

Funded by the US-Forest Service (2015-2016)
Collaboration with Dr. John Coulston (U.S. Forest Service

The project is focused on quantifying how forest carbon sequestration over recent decades has response to rising atmospheric CO2 and nitrogen deposition.

Climate regulation ecosystem services of biofuels: a paired flux tower study using comparing loblolly pines and switchgrass ecosystems

Collaboration with Dr. Tom O’Halloran (Clemson University)

Measurement of carbon, water, and energy fluxes from a pine forest and a switchgrass field in Virginia Piedmont.   A registered Ameriflux site.

See website for more information:


Completed projects

Pine Integrated Network: Education, Mitigation, and Adaptation project (PINEMAP)

Funded by the USDA-NIFA (2011-2016)
PI:  Tim Martin (University of Florida)
See website for list Co-PI:
The PINEMAP project integrates research, extension to better understand how Southeastern pine forests will respond to climate change and prepare landowners for the change.

Our group at Virginia Tech focus on

1) Simulating how pine forests in the Southeast respond to climate change and rising atmospheric CO2 using the Community Land Model
2) Better parameterizing the 3PG model using data-assimilation techniques

Project partially supported Ben Ahlswede‘s Masters degree

Forecasting forest response to N deposition: Integrating data from individual plant responses to soil chemistry with a continental-scale gradient analysis

A USGS Powell Center for Environmental Synthesis Project
Funded by: USGS, US Forest Service, EPA (2014-2016)
PIs and Co-PIs: Linda Pardo (US Forest Service), Erica Smithwick (Penn State), Greg Lawrence (USGS)
Post-doctoral Powell Center Fellow supported by project: Dr. Kevin Horn (VT)

At Virginia Tech we are focusing on quantifying how the growth, death, and recruitment over 100 different tree species across the continental U.S. are responding to nitrogen deposition.