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Aspen/Conifer Forest

If a species’ success is defined by the size of its range, abundance and its influence on other organisms, then quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) is among the most successful species on earth. It has an expansive range that covers much of the North American continent with high abundance across … Continue reading

Ungulate species may have differential effects on plant community development after fire.

This photo documents the loss of hundreds of acres of forested land because of excessive ungulate herbivory after a timber harvest.

An interesting idea: Ungulate species may have differential effects on plant community development after fire. Aaron Rhodes, Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Brigham Young University Fire and herbivore disturbance drive successional cycles and ecosystem function.  While the effects of both fire and herbivory have been well studied, no disturbance acts in … Continue reading

Video: Aspen Heart Attacks


In dappled forests across the West, aspen trees are battling deadly killers from heat stroke to bud-nipping predators to tree “heart attacks.” In this short video Sam St. Clair talks about the troubling declines in aspen populations in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado.

Student Research at the St. Clair Lab

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Students in the St. Clair lab work in mentored research teams designed to provide graduate students and experienced undergraduates an opportunities to teach, while giving new students direction. This mentoring environment allows students to become fluent in the scientific method so that they can identify biological patterns and implement hypothesis testing. Click … Continue reading

Aspen Decline

Aspen/Conifer Forest

Quaking aspen occupies more of Utah’s forests than any other tree. But in recent decades aspen have been in decline in some areas. Click here to read more about what we are studying, and what we think we can do to help turn aspen health around.