Michele L. Pruyn

Associate Professor of Plant Biology

Education: BS, University of Chicago; MS, Michigan State University; PhD, Oregon State University

Office: Boyd Science Center, Room 226

Phone & E-mail: 603-535-3320; mlpruyn@plymouth.edu

Homepage: http://oz.plymouth.edu/~mlpruyn/

About Professor Pruyn:

I am a woody tree eco-physiologist researching the various controls of tree species distributions in the northern hardwood forest. Most recently, we are investigating the long term effects of acid rain on tree health and productivity. One of the residual effects of acid rain has left many of the soils in NH forests depleted in calcium. We have fertilized plots with calcium at three sites of varying soil-calcium availability within the White Mountain National forest and are measuring the response in the water transport capacity of three key northern hardwood species (i.e. American beech, sugar maple and yellow birch) as compared to the controls. Water transport serves as an effective proxy for carbon dioxide exchange, providing an indicator for tree productivity. I am also interested the physiological differences among tree species (especially yellow birch) along natural environmental gradients, such as elevation, aspect and changing soil characteristics. Defining such variation in tree response to the environment will help explain why trees grow where they do, improving forest management practices.

I also have experience in measuring respiration of components of individual trees and ecosystems (leaves, branches, stems and soils) with the objective of scaling to the whole tree and ecosystem level, respectively.  A comprehensive understanding of carbon flow into and out of forest systems will enable us to determine whether systems are sources or a sinks for carbon dioxide and predict how those sources and sinks may change in the advent of climate change.  I have also researched how trees respond to wind stress in terms of their anatomy, morphology and physiology with the application for managing hybrid tree plantations for a specific product, like paper. During my PhD, I studied forest science and wood science, so I have an understanding of applied aspects of forest ecology, such as modeling carbon flow from cradle to grave for a particular forest product. Another area of applied research that captures my attention is phytoremediation, which is the process by which plants remove various toxins from the environment. I also have an appreciation for ethnobotany and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and have been interested in pursuing research in those areas for some time.

Selected Publications/presentations:

Zahor, L., M.B. Green, M.L. Pruyn, and G. Wilson. 2013. The Impact of Calcium on Transpiration in an Acid Rain Impacted Forest.  National SAF Convention: Silviculture Matters, October 23-27, North Charleston, SC. (presentation)

Pruyn, M.L. and R. Spicer. 2012. Parenchyma. In: eLS 2012, John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Chichester http://www.els.net/ [DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002083.pub2]

Domec, J.C., B.L. Lachenbruch, M.L. Pruyn and R. Spicer. 2012. Effects of age-related increases in sapwood area, leaf area, and xylem conductivity on height-related hydraulic costs in two contrasting coniferous species. Annals of For Sci. 69:17–27. DOI 10.1007/s13595-011-0154-3

Butnor J.R., M.L. Pruyn, D.C. Shaw, M.E. Harmon, A.N. Mucciardi and M.G. Ryan. 2009. Detecting defects in conifers with ground penetrating radar: applications and challenges. For. Path. 39:309-322.

Domec, J.C. and M.L. Pruyn. 2008. Bole girdling affects metabolic properties and root, trunk and branch hydraulics of young ponderosa pine trees. Tree Physiol. 28:1493-1504

Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2005. Storage vs. substrate limitation to bole respiratory potential in two coniferous tree species of contrasting sapwood width. J Exp Bot. 56:2637-2649.

Pruyn, M.L., M.E. Harmon & B.L. Gartner. 2003. Stem respiratory potential in six softwood and four hardwood tree species in the Central Cascades of Oregon. Oecologia 137:10-21.

Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2002. Within stem variation of respiratory potential in Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) trees. New Phytol. 154 (2): 359-372.

Pruyn, M.L., B.L. Gartner & M.E. Harmon. 2002. Respiratory potential in old versus young ponderosa pine trees in the Pacific Northwest. Tree Physiol. 22 (2/3): 105-116.

Other significant publications:

Pruyn, M.L., B.J. Ewers III & F.W. Telewski. 2000. Thigmomorphogenesis: changes in the morphology and mechanical properties of two Populus hybrids in response to mechanical perturbation.  Tree Physiol.  20:535-540.

Telewski, F.W. & M.L. Pruyn. 1998. Thigmomorphogenesis: a dose response to flexing in Ulmus americana seedlings. Tree Physiol. 18:65-68.

Courses Taught:

  • Biological Sciences I (BI1110)
  • Evolution (BI3130)
  • Plant Physiology (BI4750)
  • Botany (BI2750)
  • Winter Ecology (BI 4060 & 5910)

Contact Us

Contact Us

January 9th, 2013 by Michael

Center for the Environment

Plymouth State University
Samuel Read Hall Building, 2nd Floor
MSC #63, 17 High Street
Plymouth, NH 03264

phone (603) 535-3179
fax (603) 535-3004