Stella Copeland, Doctoral Student

Research interests

I am interested in the abiotic and biotic factors that determine plant distribution across spatial scales. My research interests and experience range from ecosystem ecology in the Brazilian Cerrado, to restoration science in temperate rainforests (Washington, USA), and orchid diversity and conservation in Neotropical cloud forests (Ecuador & Peru).

For my PhD, I am studying how microclimates created by topographic features (e.g. aspect and slope) interact with biotic factors, like competition and mycorrhizal facilitation, to determine plant distribution in the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains (NW California and SW Oregon). In particular, I would like to know, can topographic microclimates serve as microrefugia for plant biodiversity in the face of climate change? I use a combination of field experiments and statistical modeling approaches to understand the variables that control species distribution. I am also involved in a related project to assess how microclimate and climate change might be affecting the distribution of rare orchid species - Cypripedium spp. - in SW Oregon.

For my Master's at University of Florida advised by Dr. Emilio Bruna, I studied the effects of nitrogen deposition and precipitation change on co-dominant native grasses of the Brazilian Cerrado (savanna) in collaboration with Prof. Heraldo Vasconcelos and Laura Vivian Barbosa  M.Sc., Universidade Federal de Uberlândia, and Dr. Michelle Mack, University of Florida.

My work proceeds through an ever-expanding network of academic and non-academic collaborators  - please contact me ( if you share my research interests.