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Kerry Woods

Ecology and Evolution
Ph.D., Cornell University
Bennington College Faculty since 1986


Some of my students in the field in classes or working at my field sites. (Click on a photo to go to Picasa web album with higher resolution photos.)

Welcome to my professional home-page. Use the menu bar at the top for more complete information about my lab at Bennington College and other professional activities.

Home-pages for my SPRING 2016 CLASSES: Evolution, Natural History of Plants, and Projects for mill-town class.

For more information about Bennington College and about science at Bennington, visit:
The Bennington College Science and Math website
Benningon Science and Math Wiki
Bennington College website

Here are pdf's  of some of my research publications (you can also find most of these at my ResearchGate page).

My research focuses on understanding properties of 'slow' ecological systems, where community dynamics play out over decades and centuries (and often over large areas).  Even though the forests that cover much of eastern North America fit this definition, we don't understand slow systems very well because typical research structures (grant cycles, grad student programs) don't easily permit work at the requisite time-scales.   In attempting to address this data 'blind spot',  I've worked with remote sensing, historical data-sets, paleoecological approaches, dendrochronology, and, especially,  long-term permanent plot data.  My research has been supported by grants from NASA, the U.S. Forest Service, NSF, The Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Huron Mt. Wildlife Foundation.  Current projects focus on long-term studies in old-growth forests in Michigan, and landscape analysis of pattern and dynamics in the post-agricultural landscapes of southwestern VT and adjacent NY. (The panorama at the top of this page is from one of my study areas in Michigan.)

As a teacher, I offer a flexible and ever-evolving curriculum ranging over ecology, evolutionary biology, and field biology generally.  The Bennington campus and surrounding landscape offer a very wide range of habitats and high biological diversity, and we make full use of that in coursework (e.g., check out our ongoing, wiki-based Bennington College All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory.)
 Individual and group projects have also contributed to an emerging study of landscape history in adjacent Washington Co., NY.  My students have gone on to careers in research science, education, environmental management, etc. (see some examples here).

In other professional activities I serve as Director of Research for the Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation and the Ives Lake Research Station near Big Bay, MI.  I've been actively involved with two professional societies -- the Ecological Society of American and the International Association for Vegetation Science -- editing journals, serving on and chairing committees, etc.  I've been a Bullard Fellow at Harvard Forest in Petersham MA and a Center Fellow at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, CA.

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