Welcome to theBurton Forest Ecology Lab

Welcome to the Andrew Burton's Forest Ecology Lab at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. Forest ecosystems have constantly changed through time. The difficulty today is understanding the influence of man relative to the background of natural change. We impact our forests both intentionally through management and unintentionally by creating pollution, introducing exotic pests, and altering our atmosphere. Are these impacts so severe that our forest ecosystems cannot be sustained? Will large-scale declines in forest health and productivity occur, or will our forests simply undergo gradual changes in composition as they adjust to a new environment? Our research integrates soil science, hydrology, plant physiology and ecology in order to determine how ecosystems are affected by and adjust to environmental stresses and human manipulations. By understanding how forests are likely to change, we will be able to adjust our activities now to create a future in which forests can continue to provide the goods and services to which we have become accustomed.

  • news

    Would you like to see some of the news about this lab? Check this out:

    Andrew Burton and Mickey Jarvi receive Best Paper Award January 2011
    more...

    Burton receives Top-25 citation recognition January 2011
    more...

    Andrew Burton elected to ESA Board of Professional Certification January 2011
    more...

    Carley Kratz receives DOE Fellowship August 2010
    more...

  • publications

    Publications describing our most research results can be found here:

    Pregitzer, K.S., D.R. Zak, A.F. Talhelm, A.J. Burton, and J.R. Eikenberry. 2010. Nitrogen turnover in the leaf litter and fine roots of sugar maple. Ecology 91:3456-3462.
    more...

    Burton, A.J., J.M. Melillo and S.D. Frey. 2008. Adjustment of forest ecosystem root respiration as temperature warms. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 50:1467-1483.
    more...

  • research

    Would you like to learn more about our current research projects? Look here:

    Michigan Gradient -Long Term Nitrogen Deposition Study
    more...

    Northern Forest Ecosystem Experiment/Aspen FACE
    more...

meet the Burton Lab

faculty and staff

  • Andrew J. Burton
    Dr. Andy Burton

    Associate Professor; Director, Ecosystem Science Center

    Director, Midwestern Regional Center of the DOE National Institute for Climatic Change Research


    Forest ecosystems have constantly changed through time. The difficulty today is understanding the influence of man relative to the background of natural change. We impact our forests both intentionally through management and unintentionally by creating pollution, introducing exotic pests, and altering our atmosphere. Are these impacts so severe that our forest ecosystems cannot be sustained? Will large-scale declines in forest health and productivity occur, or will our forests simply undergo gradual changes in composition as they adjust to a new environment? My research integrates soil science, hydrology, plant physiology and ecology in order to determine how ecosystems are affected by and adjust to environmental stresses and human manipulations. By understanding how forests are likely to change, we will be able to adjust our activities now to create a future in which forests can continue to provide the goods and services to which we have become accustomed.

    Our students will manage the forests of the future. I enjoy taking them into the field so they can not only learn how our ecosystems work, but they also can see it, feel it and appreciate it. It is very important to me that our students learn and succeed. I am willing to work as hard as I can at making their education a success. I know I can contribute to our understanding of forest ecosystems through my research, but I also know that what I can do is far less than what hundreds of well-trained students will accomplish.
    download CV

  • Wendy Jones
    Wendy Jones
    Research Associate

  • Janet Pikkarainen
    Janet Pikkarainen
    Administrative Aide

  • Kayla Griffith
    Kayla Griffith
    Research Associate

    I have been working as Andy's research associate since August 2010.  My work involves gathering field data from each of the research sites including the Aspen FACE site, Michigan Gradient sites and Ford warming site.  I also assist with laboratory work and management.  I recently graduated with a BS in Biology from Michigan Tech and I am currently working on my Master's degree.

  • Jennifer Eikenberry
    Jennifer Eikenberry
    Assistant Research Scientis

    I am the manager in the forest ecology laboratory. I spend most of my time operating and maintaining the various analytical instruments in the lab. I also help coordinate and assist with the research projects in the field. I enjoy working with students, continually learning new things, and solving any problems as they arise. My job is never boring!

    I graduated from Manchester College with a B.S. in Environmental Science and spent the next few years working in analytical labs at Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis and the Indiana State Chemist Office at Purdue University I came up the Michigan Tech in 2001 to earn my M.S. in Forestry and subsequently accepted a position as the Assistant Research Scientist in 2002. I love living and working in the Keweenaw with endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.

  • Jennifer Eikenberry
    Alisha Autio
    Research Assistant

    I have just earned my B.S. in Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Michigan Technological University. My interests lie in tree physiology, ecophysiology, ecology, and biogeochemical cycling. I began to work in Dr. Burton's lab in the spring of 2008. For the past three years I have worked in Dr. Andrew Burton's laboratory preparing and analyzing samples from his nitrogen deposition (Gradient) and F.A.C.E. long term studies. These samples include: root biomass, leaf litter biomass, leaf area, and more. His lab is a great place to get hands-on laboratory experience, and to learn more about research methods. Beyond the research in Dr. Burton's laboratory, I have also worked closely with Dr. Molly Cavaleri on an independent study in which we looked at the effects of canopy height on leaf mass per area and nitrogen concentrations.

grad/undergrad students

  • Mickey Jarvi
    Mickey Jarvi
    Masters Student

    I graduated from Michigan Tech. 2009 with a B.S. in Forestry and a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology. While working towards my B.S. I worked in Burton's lab working for various projects. I started graduate school in the fall of 2009 working towards a M.S. in Forest Ecology and Management and plan on defending in the fall of 2011. I am currently studying the short-term effects of sugar maple fine root respiration to experimental warming in a northern hardwood forest. Primarily, we are trying to determine if sugar maple trees can metabolically acclimate to increased temperatures to mitigate carbon loss from the tree and lessen the potential positive feedback loop that can occur during climate change. My research interests include forest belowground processes, atmospheric gas exchange and forest responses to climate change. download CV

  • Daniel Yeboah
    Daniel Yeboah
    Masters Student

    Daniel obtained a BSC in Natural Resources Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. Soon after graduation, Daniel was recruited by national service secretariat for a one year national service assignment. Daniel worked in a management position for Samartex Timber and Plywood Company in Ghana before joining Michigan Tech. Currently, Daniel is in the Applied Ecology master's program. My work in the lab involves investigating carbon stocks of tropical tree species from Ghana with the objective of providing baseline information which is lacking for virtually all the tree species. I have been conducting analyses on carbon concentration, wood density and biomass estimation of eighteen most popular plantation species (Khaya spp, Ceiba pentandra, Terminalia ivorensis etc.) grown in Ghana.

  • Emmanuel Ebanyenle
    Emmanuel
    Ebanyenle
    PhD Student

    My activities in the lab involves investigating the impact of shoot-borer (Hypsipyla robusta) attack on wood anatomical properties of plantation grown African mahogany species (Khaya ivorensis A. Chev.). Also, I investigate the impact of elevated Carbon dioxide (CO2), and Ozone (O3) on the wood anatomical properties of paper birch, sugar maple and four clones of trembling aspen after 12 years of exposure.

  • Carley Kratz
    Carley Kratz
    PhD Student

    My research involves evaluating the impacts of climate change on soil microbial communities. I am interested in connecting the structural dynamics of the microbial community to functional changes in carbon and nutrient cycling. I am currently involved in two warming studies in deciduous temperate forest in North America. The LTER soil warming sites at Harvard Forest in Massachusetts allow me to evaluate the impact of increased temperature on soil microorganisms in the long term. Another soil warming experiment at Michigan Technological University's Ford Forestry Center in northern Michigan gives me the opportunity to examine the short term impacts of soil warming on the microbial community. This site has warming and moisture addition treatments which will allow me to determine the relative importance of increased temperature or decreased moisture on the soil microbial community. I also use laboratory culture experiments to study the impact of warming on fungal physiology. download CV

  • Jerry Jondreau
    Jerry Jondreau
    Undergraduate Researcher

    I have been looking at root respiration rates and growing season C allocation to fine root respiration for common forest ecosystems in the upper Lake States. The goal of this work is to determine the relative effects of root biomass and specific respiration on differences in C allocated to root respiration at the ecosystem level, and to assess whether annual allocation to root respiration could be predicted from the N content in leaf litterfall.

  • Kenneth Carruthers
    Kenneth Carruthers
    Undergraduate Researcher

    I am currently a junior Applied Ecology and Environmental Science undergraduate studying at the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Technological University. I work in the Soils Laboratory for Dr. Andrew J. Burton as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. I have assisted in projects that include the Michigan gradient study, the U.S. Forest Service Aspen F.A.C.E. site in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and the Ford Forestry Center's soil warming study in Alberta. I am a recipient of the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) award and will be researching the effects of climate change on northern hardwood ecosystems during the summer of 2011. My research interests include climate change impacts, ecosystem interaction, landscape ecology, gas exchange and nutrient cycling. Following graduation in December 2012, I intend to pursue a graduate research program in global change.

  • Drew Ballantyne
    Drew Ballantyne
    Research Assistant

    My name is Drew Ballantyne and I received my Masters’ degree in Forest Science in December 2010. I investigated the effects of long-term water table manipulations and short-term warming on the peatland carbon fluxes. Our study site was at the Seney National Wildlife Refug located in the central part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I am currently working on submitting a paper to Ecosystems for publication. I am going to be starting my PhD in Forestry at Michigan State University in the fall of 2011. I will be working with Dr. David Rothstein looking at the environmental impacts ex. greenhouse gas emissions & nitrate leaching) of converting abandoned or marginal agricultural lands in poplar and willow bioplantations. 
    download CV