Chris Gough's Group

swirlThanks for visiting! Here, you will find information about our research in plant physiological and ecosystem ecology. Our emphasis is on understanding how global change, disturbance, ecological succession, and forest structure affect plant and ecosystem function, with a focus on forest carbon cycling. Work more recently extends into urban and wetland ecosystems.

I am seeking student collaborators to conduct Department of Energy and National Science Foundation supported research at VCU's field station, the Rice Rivers Center, the University of Michigan Biological Station, and NEON sites. Contact Chris.

WHAT'S NEW(ish)?


July 2017: The team!
From left to right: Bob, Shea, Lisa, Ellen, Me, Mark, Jeff, and Carina.

July 2017: BIG exciting lab news forthcoming, stay tuned!

June 2017: Congratulations to Ben Sagara on the successful defense of his MS thesis, and to Ellen Stuart-Haentjens on easily clearing her PhD comprehensive exams.

May 2017, Part I: Congratulations to Ellen Stuart-Haentjens for receiving the Outstanding Ph.D. Student in Ecology Award! Much deserved!

March 2017: Thrilled to have Shea Wales sign on as an MS student, and Lisa Haber to re-up as a PhD student in the Fall!

January 2017: From part-time adjunct faculty/stay-at-home Dad (see the kid on my shoulders on the "People" page) to term faculty to, as of January 1, tenure-track faculty. Thankful, really thankful, for all the support from the lab and many others along the way.

December 2016, Part II: Ellen, Jeff, and I had a productive and motivating Fall AGU Meeting, contributing to a record 13 co/authored presentations plus a sponsored session.

December 2016, Part I: Cynthia Scheuermann successfully defended her MS thesis and graduated. Congratulations Cynthia!

July 2016: Papers co/authored by students are out, one a research article in Forest Ecology & Management ( and the other an Ecosphere Innovative Viewpoint (

June 2016: Check out this article on the new flux tower at the VCU Rice Rivers Center:

May 2016: The field season is underway, with several very cool science projects this summer in VA, MI, and the Eastern US. Stay tuned for results, including at ESA!

November 2015: Congratulations to Amy Schmid, VCU MS 2015, on the publication of her thesis in Forest Ecology and Management:

September 2015: Our Ecology paper on disturbance severity and forest net primary production was published in this month's issue. Great job Ellen and team!:

July 2015: Bob Fahey, Brady Hardiman, and I are thrilled to receive an NSF EAGER-NEON award that will use the National Ecological Observatory Network to study forest canopy structure-carbon cycling relationships.

Janurary, 2015: Check out our recent publication on modeled carbon cycling dynamics following moderate forest disturbance:

October, 2014: We seek M.S. students to join our research teams investigating carbon cycling at the University of Michigan Biological Station and VCU's Rice Center. Please contact Chris Gough.

November, 2013: Our group, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Michigan, received an NSF Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) grant to study the mechanisms controlling carbon storage over the course of ecological succession.

August, 2013: The UMBS carbon cycling research site was selected as an Amerflux core research location by the Department of Energy, ensuring long-term support for our research program! See:


"Trees can help offset human-caused climate warming, and scientists want to know how big a role forests will play."

-University of Michigan Press Release (Full article here )

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We use meteorological towers and ecological methods to estimate how much carbon forests and wetlands take up and release, and why. VCU is a partner in this research, which is supported by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Chris Gough 2017, Updated January, 2017|