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Vegetation Section Officers

Chair: Martin Dovčiak (

Martin is an associate professor in plant ecology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse. His PhD is from the University of Minnesota and his post-doctoral training was at the University of Washington-both in forest ecology. His undergraduate degree is in forest engineering from Technical University in Zvolen, Slovakia. Martin’s research focuses on responses of forest ecosystems and plant communities to various global change drivers and on ecological applications in forest ecosystem management. Martin joined ESA in 2002 and served as Vice Chair for ESA Vegetation Section from 2019 to 2021, and he has served as the Vegetation Section Chair, ESA Council member, and Subject Matter Editor for Ecological Applications since 2021. He periodically contributes as a judge for ESA Buell-Braun awards.

Vice Chair: Carissa Brown (

Carissa is a plant ecologist and associate professor of biogeography at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador. Her Northern EDGE Lab research group focuses on the distribution of plant species at the edge of their ranges, with particular emphasis on non-climatic factors influencing species responses to climate change. Her research primarily takes place in fire-driven boreal forest ecosystems, in both sub-arctic and southern regions. Carissa champions the use of experimentation in field studies, and leads the Global Treeline Range Expansion Experiment. She has been engaged with ESA since her first meeting in Montreal in 2005, most recently chairing ESA’s W.S. Cooper Award Committee, as well as being an active member of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution.

Secretary/Treasurer: Anita Thompson (

Anita is with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension as an Agriculture Agent where she focuses primarily on arid lands sustainable agriculture and agroecology, with additional work in vegetation management for agricultural enterprises. Her bachelor’s degrees are in Forest Management and Rangeland Ecology from University of Nevada – Reno and her master’s is from Colorado State University in Natural Resource Stewardship/Ecological Restoration. Before joining University of Arizona, Anita worked for the USDA Forest Service as a silviculturist doing vegetation management in ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper vegetation types, and she owned and worked a southwestern native seed farm.

Student Rep: Morgan Frost (

Morgan is a PhD Candidate in Environmental Health Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to starting graduate school, Morgan received a BS in Biology and Environmental Studies at Washington and Lee University in 2018. Her research focuses on the multi-trophic impacts of invasive grass species in mixed grass prairies. She is especially interested in understanding how invasion will impact long-term rangeland sustainability, particularly in the face of climate change.

Past Chair: Kyle Palmquist (

Kyle is a plant ecologist interested in the ecological processes that influence and maintain plant biodiversity. She is particularly interested in asking ecological questions over large spatial scales, ultimately to inform landscape conservation. Kyle received her BS in Biology and Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston and her PhD in Ecology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining the Department of Biological Sciences at Marshall University in January 2019, she was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Wyoming.

See all past Vegetation Section Officers since 1984 (Section’s establishment) here.