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Royce Anderson

I received my BS in environmental science and resource management from UW in 2007 and my MS in forest ecology from the UW in 2009. I am currently working toward a PhD focusing on plant ecophysiology and forest ecology. I have worked as a teacher’s assistant for an introductory forest and urban ecology class, and assisted with several research projects investigating silviculture, biodiversity along the Elwha River, physiological effects of urban climates and climate change on plants, and the creation of modeling tools that assist urban forest restorationists to plan restoration projects that will be sustainable in today’s urban climate and the uncertain climate of the future.

Royce

During my time at UW, I have developed interests in insects, epiphytes, community ecology, canopy research, computer modeling and climate change as they pertain to the ecophysiology and ecology of forests. For my MS thesis research, I investigated how complex crown structure in old Sitka spruce affects the microarthropod communities living in the epiphytic bryophyte mats of the crown, learning that the high diversity of habitat in old, complex trees allows many different kinds of arthropods to colonize the crown. Other research has shown that young, simplified forests (such as agricultural plantations) do not support the same diversity of arthropod life. This, and other aspects of old ecosystems, has led me to believe that complexity of system is a crucial element of healthy, natural systems that are resilient to disturbance and recognized as valuable the world over; manifold, fractal-like layers of life build over time to create the old-growth gestalt that installs awe in people, regardless of their background.

I hope to build on this during my PhD research. It is likely that the effect of epiphyte masses approaching a metric ton dry weight (as occurs in spruce on the Olympic Peninsula) does not stop at arthropod habitat. These epiphyte mats may act as storage containers for water and nutrients, and access to them may help to explain the incredible rates of tree growth on the Olympic Peninsula. I hope that measuring transfer of water and nutrients from epiphytic mats into the crowns of trees will illuminate some of the complex ecophysiological interactions that create the unique ecology of temperate rain forests in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Royce