Skip Navigation

Sharon Cowling

Assistant Professor, Department of Geography

I am an Earth System scientist studying processes at the interface between the biosphere and atmosphere. The overall goal of my research is to better understand the range of responses of past, present and future vegetation to different climate boundary conditions. Emphasis is placed on canopy-atmosphere exchange of moisture, heat and carbon, and ultimately on biospheric feedbacks on regional and global climate. I address research questions of various temporal and spatial scales and although I am predominantly a computer modeller, I am in the process of building a field component to complement modelling interests.

Members of my lab and I are involved in a variety of projects, some of which include:
  1. Evolution of plant functional types and ecosystem development/diversity
  2. Role of terrestrial vegetation in modifying global distribution of heat and moisture
  3. Dispersal limitations to tropical tree range expansion
  4. Vegetation history and land-use change in the highlands and lowlands of Guatemala
  5. Pacific Decadal Oscillation signals observed in weather data from across Central America
  6. Ecophysiological growth constraints on tropical cloud forest vegetation: past, present and future
Students with interdisciplinary academic interests are encouraged to write to inquire about open research positions in the Cowling lab.