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Suzie Boyden

Community Ecologist/Forest Ecologist

Associate Professor


Ph.D., Ecology, Colorado State University

B.A., Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Dartmouth College

Contact :

 (W):  393-2759


Office:  265 STC


Professional associations:

Ecological Society of America

Soil Science Society of America

Courses Taught

BIOL 306Botany

BIOL 402Biometrics

BIOL 493/593Community and Ecosystem Dynamics

BIOL 477Forest Ecology

Research Interests

My research goals are to understand how the structure and spatial arrangement of plants influence ecological processes at multiple spatial scales.  My work crosses multiple levels of organization, from individual plant physiology and biogeochemistry, to community and landscape ecology.   My recent research has focused on how the character of a plant neighborhood (the size of neighbors, distance to neighbors, and genetic identity of neighbors) affects an individual plant's ability to access, use and convert resources into new growth.  I aim to understand how these neighborhood interactions drive spatial patterns of plant growth, regeneration, and coexistence at the community and ecosystem scale.  Questions I have tried answering though my research are:

Do genetically identical plants, or more closely related species, compete more intensely than more variable plants?

Does the density and age of saplings influence competitive hierarchies and patterns of succession?

How does the disturbance history of a forest create non-random patterns in tree distribution?

As soil resources become more abundant, do neighboring trees actually compete more?

My work has carried me from plantation forests in Hawaii and Brazil, to old-growth ponderosa pine forests in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, to mixed pine-hardwood communities in Northern Minnesota. 

Recent Publications 

Boyden, S., P.B. Reich, K.J. Puettmann, and T.R. Baker.  (2008), Effects of density and ontogeny on size and growth ranks of three competing tree species. Journal of Ecology. Accepted 7/30/08.

Boyden, S., D. Binkley, J.L. Stape, and J.M. de A. Ferreira.  (2006), Competition among Eucalyptus grandis trees depends on genetic variation and resource supply.  Ecology.  In Press.

Binkley, D., D.M. Kashian, S. Boyden, M.W. Kaye, J.B. Bradford, M.A. Arthur, P.J. Fornwalt, and M.G. Ryan.  (2006), Patterns of growth dominance in forests of the Rocky Mountains, USA.  Forest Ecology and Management.  236: 193-201.

Boyden, S., D. Binkley, and W. Shepperd. (2005), Spatial and temporal patterns in structure, regeneration, and mortality of an old-growth ponderosa pine forest in the Colorado Front Range.  Forest Ecology and Management 219: 43-55.

Boyden, S., D. Binkley, and R. Senock. (2005), Competition and facilitation between Eucalyptus and nitrogen-fixing Falcataria in relation to soil fertility.  Ecology, 86: 4, 992-1001.

Binkley, D., R. Senock, S. Bird*, and T.G. Cole.  (2003), Twenty years of stand development in pure and mixed stands of Eucalyptus saligna and nitrogen-fixing Facaltaria mollucana.  Forest Ecology and Management.  182:93-102.

Burke, I.C., J.P. Kaye, S.P. Bird*, S.A. Hall, R.L. McCulley, and G.L. Sommerville. 2003. Evaluating and testing models of terrestrial biogeochemistry: The role of temperature in controlling decomposition.  Pp. 225-253 In: Canham, C.D., J.J. Cole, and W.K. Lauenroth, editors.  Models in Ecosystem Science.  Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press. 

* maiden name