Faculty Bio

Lynn Christenson

Assistant Professor of Biology on the Mary Clark Rockefeller Chair

Research Interests

As an ecologist, I am interested in understanding the complex relationships between multiple biotic and abiotic factors and feedbacks in ecosystems. This is an important challenge to environmental science researchers – the integration of multiple factors influencing the patterning and processing of ecosystems, particularly under changing disturbance and climatic regimes. I have used a number of approaches to elucidate these relationships in northern temperate forests: I have studied how invasive insect pests (gypsy moths) influence forest nutrient cycling, how atmospheric nitrogen deposition in the Catskill Mountains of New York can influence forest nutrient dynamics and how shifts in winter climate regimes will impact multiple levels of forest community structure and function (including trees, shrubs and moose).

In a broader ecological context, I am working towards better understanding the role that biodiversity plays in structuring the soil and stabilizing soil fertility as well as structuring forest communities. This work is very collaborative in nature, bringing together colleagues from a number of institutes/organizations, including the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook NY, the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Campton NH, the University of Vermont: Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Vassar College.

Teaching Interests

I teach Introduction to Biological Investigation (Biol 106), Ecology (Biol 241) and Topics in Ecosystem Ecology (Biol 381b).

I also have teaching interests in the Environmental Studies Program (Biogeochemistry, Global Change, and Essentials of Environmental Science). I welcome students who would like to do independent research or senior research associated with environmental science and ecology.

Selected Publications