Photo of Chelcy F. Miniat

Chelcy F. Miniat

Project Leader
3160 Coweeta Lab Road
Otto, NC 28763
Phone: 828-524-2128 x118
Fax: 828-369-6768
cfminiat@fs.fed.us

Current Research

My research is centered on developing a mechanistic understanding of watershed ecosystem function by studying how abiotic and biotic factors (e.g., species, environmental variables, disturbances) regulate carbon, nutrient, and water cycling processes. My personal research spans the continuum from the organism, to stands, to landscapes and includes determination of the roles of species and natural and anthropogenic disturbances (including forest management activities) in regulating ecosystem hydrologic processes. I am conducting a combination of ecophysiological and ecosystem studies at multiple scales to understand and forecast how evapotranspiration and streamflow are regulated by biotic and abiotic factors.

Research Interests

My primary areas of emphasis are: (1) quantifying rates of and driving mechanisms influencing water and carbon fluxes in trees across a range of environmental conditions; and (2) scaling these measurements spatially and temporally, often in a predictive manner, to make inferences on forest ecosystem processes (e.g., forest hydrologic and carbon cycles) under changing management or climatic conditions.

Why This Research is Important

Being able to resolve the importance of species identity on the water cycle is challenging, but critical for addressing questions of management, natural disturbances, and climate change on stream flow. Management and natural distrubance often create forests with specific species and structure. Climate change will have a similar effect. Because the average rate at which ecosystems must shift geographically to keep pace with changing temperatures as a result of global warming is 0.42 km/year, most ecosystems will face temperature increases faster than species will be able to migrate or adapt, leading to mass extinction of many plant species. Thus, developing an understanding of species-level variation on forest processes will allow us to predict the impacts of invasive insects (e.g. hemlock woolly adelgid) and disease (e.g. chestnut blight), climate change (i.e., by linking stress physiology with population dynamics), and develop management options to adapt to or mitigate the impacts on stream flow.

Education

Ph.D. in Forest Resources, 2004
University of Georgia
M.S. in Botany, 1999
University of South Florida
B.S. in Applied Biology, 1997
Georgia Institute of Technology

Professional Experience

Research Project Leader and Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Center for Forest Watershed Research, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory
2012—Current
Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Center for Forest Watershed Research, Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory
2006—2012
Graduate Research Assistant, Environmental Protection Agency STAR Graduate Fellow, Univeristy of Georgia, Warnell School of Forest Resources
2004—2008
Technician, Univeristy of South Florida, Department of Biology
2000—2000
Grantee, US Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory (NHEERL), Western Ecology Division
1999—2000
Graduate Research Assistant, University of South Florida, Department of Biology
1997—1999
Technician, Georgia Department of Natural Resources/Environmental Protection Division
1993—1994

Professional Organizations

  • American Geophysical Union, Member (2006—Current)
  • Ecological Society of America, Member (2002—Current)
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences, Member (2002—2002)

Featured Publications and Products

Publications