Research in our lab lies at the interface between ecohydrology, plant physiology and ecosystem ecology. We study the water relations of plant communities and are interested in understanding how climate change will impact plant community structure and ecosystem function. Our group is currently conducting research on the physiological mechanisms that confer success and failure in response to drought and we then build upon those research findings to understand how potential changes in water use or community structure will affect the hydrologic cycle. The majority of our research efforts to date have been focused on understanding how decreases in water availability will affect the structure and function of Tropical Montane Cloud Forests of Central and South America. Starting in the summer of 2023, our lab group will expand our research efforts to address these types of questions in the forests of the Central and Southern Appalachian region.
This website contains descriptions (and accompanying photo galleries) of these and other current research projects. If you would like additional information, PI-Dr Gotsch's email is on the people page. We are currently recruiting undergraduate and graduate students to join our lab. If you are interested, please reach out! Thanks for visiting!
LAB NEWS June 1, 2023: Matthew Harper joins the lab as our first graduate student! May 15, 2023: UKY Undergraduates Anna Ackerman, Maya Cooper, Nick Gray and Sarah Cawood join the lab as summer research assistants. April 6, 2023: Grace Attea M.S. joins the lab as a lab manager and technician Feb 1, 2023: Our lab is recruiting a Masters-level student. If interested please see the next tab of the website for details Fall 2022: Our lab is moving! In January 2023, the lab will join the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Kentucky April/May 2022: Professional Arborists- Elena Lauterbach, Anessa Winn, Tyler Zuniga, Mike Dirksen and Rick Anderer will be on site in Costa Rica to help the lab set up our new experiment! March 2022: Damon Vaughan, PhD starts a postdoctoral position in the lab. Welcome aboard Damon! February 2022: The lab published one manuscript in Oecologia and another in the American Journal of Botany, both with covers! See the publications page for more information. October 2021: Robyn Dudrick joins the lab as a technician. Welcome Robyn! September 2021: Our lab received a 4-yr grant from the National Science Foundation to continue research in the Tropical Montane Forests of Costa Rica! Project Title:Collaborative Research: RUI: Will climate change lead to system shifts on tropical mountains?: the interplay of epiphyte losses on host tree function, microclimate, and hydrology. NSF-IOS and DEB, Award numbers 2130110, 2130111, 2130112, 2130113). This project is in collaboration Lauren Lowman (Wake Forest University, Nalini Nadkarni (U of Utah) and Todd Dawson (UC-Berkeley). January 2021: Our lab received a seed grant from theCenter for Sustained Engagement with Lancaster to evaluate the performance of raingardens in the City of Lancaster, PA. Click here for more information on this new project. June 2020: Our lab received a second NSF grant! Project Title:Collaborative Research: RUI: Hydrology of the vegetation on vegetation: Comparison and scaling of rainfall interception and solute alteration by common arboreal epiphytes. NSF-EAR (Hydrology), Award Numbers 1954538, 1954907, 1954322. This project is in collaboration with John Van Stan (Georgia Southern University and Clifton Buck (University of Georgia). Click here for more information on this project. June 2020: Gotsch gave a research webinar entitled Cambio climático en montañas tropicales in a canopy biology series (Descubriendo el Dosel) hosted by Fundacion Alianza Natural Colombia. The talk was given in Spanish but translated closed captions are available on Youtube. June 2020: Lab Post-doc Cameron Williams had a paper accepted in Functional Ecology. This paper is based on results of a greenhouse drought experiment on cloud forest epiphytes in Costa Rica. PDF coming soon! December 2019: Our lab gave one invited talk, one contributed talk and one poster at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco. See abstractshere. October 2019: Our lab conducted a pilot study on the form and function of epiphytes in the Redwood canopies of Jedediah State Park in California. February 2019: Our local work to determine the ecosystem services of street trees is featured in a Franklin and Marshall publication November 2018: Gotsch receives an NSF supplemental award to expand upon the lab's work evaluating drought resistance in cloud forest canopy plants. May 2018: Gotsch is back in action following back surgery. She and students Laura Green and Renee Bicaba join the project post-doc Cameron Williams and our local crew in Costa Rica for summer field work. December 2017: Winter field season in Monteverde! Gotsch got some heavy climbing in before undergoing back surgery in January of 2018. A few photos here. August 2017: Our research team (Sybil Gotsch, Cam Williams, Rikke Naesborg, Nalini Nadkarni and Autumn Amici (U Utah) will all be giving talks at the Ecological Society of America Conference in Portland Oregon. June 2017: Gotsch presented data from the stormwater research project at the Water and Society Conference in Sevilla, Spain May 2017: Our 2017 field season is underway, check out our photos March 2017: F&M Tree Climbing Training has begun, check out our photos March 2017: Our research was featured in Canopy Watch International's Blog January 2017: Cameron Williams and Rikke Reese Næsborg join the lab for two and a half years! May 2016: NSF funding of our research in Costa Rica begins, stay tuned.