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Tom Gower

Professor

Partners Building II 2516

Bio

Education

B.S. Furman University (1980)

M.S. North Carolina State University (1983)

Ph.D. University of Washington (1987)

Research Interests

The effects of disturbance on carbon, water and nutrient budgets of forest ecosystems, life cycle inventories of greenhouse gases to produce wood and paper products, forest carbon adaptation and mitigation management; whole system (biological and industrial) analysis of forest ecosystems and landscapes to optimize sustainable production of ecosystem goods and services..

Educational Interests

Education innovation that emphasizes student-centered learning; he is a co-recipient of a National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education grant to promote quantitative science literacy in natural sciences, and renewing a national dialogue on rewarding faculty for outstanding education.

Learn more about Dr. Tom Gower from this article in CNR News Central >>

Area(s) of Expertise

Whole-system Analysis of Forest Ecosystems; Education Innovation

Publications

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Grants

Date: 12/01/19 - 9/30/23
Amount: $310,544.00
Funding Agencies: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Although gender diversity in the natural resources profession has increased dramatically in the past twenty-five years, the field continues to lack adequate racial and ethnic diversity. We believe that diversification of the conservation workforce is essential for the long-term success of conservation science in our country. Diversification will bring important ideas and perspectives to natural resources decision-making that are currently absent. Moreover, in an increasingly diverse society, disciplines that attract a narrow ethnic and racial slice of the population are unlikely to be adequately valued by society. Given our changing demographics and the environmental challenges we face, it is important to foster expertise in conservation science and exposure to the conservation ethic across the breadth of society. A key bottleneck in efforts to diversify the conservation science workforce is recruitment and graduation of undergraduates. To address this issue, we propose to establish a national partnership to increase enrollment and graduation of students from under-represented groups in conservation science programs and to provide those students with the necessary training, research and workforce experiences, social and academic support, and mentorship to transition to successful leadership positions in the field. A secondary objective will be to document and disseminate our diversity recruitment model and success with the ultimate goal of expanding diversity recruitment efforts at undergraduate institutions across the US. Program objective: To develop long-term, sustainable educational programming to increase enrollment and retention of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in conservation science undergraduate degree programs, and to create a pathway for employment in key positions in the conservation profession.

Date: 10/01/15 - 9/30/20
Amount: $266,623.00
Funding Agencies: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Although gender diversity in the natural resources profession has increased dramatically in the past twenty-five years, the field continues to lack adequate racial and ethnic diversity. We believe that diversification of the conservation workforce is essential for the long-term success of conservation science in our country. Diversification will bring important ideas and perspectives to natural resources decision-making that are currently absent. Moreover, in an increasingly diverse society, disciplines that attract a narrow ethnic and racial slice of the population are unlikely to be adequately valued by society. Given our changing demographics and the environmental challenges we face, it is important to foster expertise in conservation science and exposure to the conservation ethic across the breadth of society. A key bottleneck in efforts to diversify the conservation science workforce is recruitment and graduation of undergraduates. To address this issue, we propose to establish a national partnership to increase enrollment and graduation of students from under-represented groups in conservation science programs and to provide those students with the necessary training, research and workforce experiences, social and academic support, and mentorship to transition to successful leadership positions in the field. A secondary objective will be to document and disseminate our diversity recruitment model and success with the ultimate goal of expanding diversity recruitment efforts at undergraduate institutions across the US. Program objective: To develop long-term, sustainable educational programming to increase enrollment and retention of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in conservation science undergraduate degree programs, and to create a pathway for employment in key positions in the conservation profession.

Date: 09/15/14 - 8/31/20
Amount: $223,581.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Quantitative skills are among the core competencies for career success in biology and thus have an important place in all bioscience curricula. However, the incorporation of quantitative biology (or QB) into classrooms has been slow, hampered by poor communication among QB educators and an academic reward system that often overlooks pedagogy development and research. The QUBES project proposes five distinct, but interdependent, initiatives to dramatically improve Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES): 1. Coordinate the efforts and resources of disparate communities invested in promoting quantitative biology education. 2. Support faculty understanding and implementation of specific quantitative biology concepts and teaching approaches. 3. Increase the visibility, utility, and adoption of existing quantitative biology materials and the capacity for peer interactions to support innovation. 4. Describe and track faculty contributions to quantitative biology education scholarship. 5. Study and disseminate the features of this system that influence implementation success NCSU will explore a metric system measuring scholarship and innovation in teaching,

Date: 06/01/14 - 5/31/19
Amount: $164,877.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The regularity and spatial synchrony of 10-year snowshoe hare cycles in northern forests are classic textbook phenomena in basic ecology with broad practical importance because hares are a dominant herbivore and the nearly exclusive prey of the federally Threatened Canada lynx. Although well-described in their northern range, hare cycles are essentially unstudied in the continental U.S. In this region, where the persistence of their specialized predator (lynx) is most tenuous, hare cycles are thought to be dampened and possibly non-synchronous. In its first 5 years, this LTREB project has facilitated a long-term core data set consisting of >1,300 hare genetic samples and hare abundance data spanning 12 to 16 years for 35 sites in Wyoming and Montana. Extending the core data under the decadal research plan of this LTREB grant will result in nearly 2 putative cycle lengths of capture-mark-recapture abundance data for at least 21 replicate sites, producing the longest, most rigorous, and most spatially extensive set of hare time series in the conterminous U.S. By reaching out to hunters, trappers, and hare researchers across North America to complement the core LTREB monitoring data, the researchers have supplemented the core site data with >300 time series and 1,014 genetic samples from 16 U.S. states and 12 Canadian provinces. Preliminary analyses of the genetic data with microsatellite and mtDNA markers indicate that hares form 3 genetic groups that correspond to patterns of synchrony in population dynamics, suggesting a role for dispersal in synchronizing snowshoe hare populations. With the next five years of the decadal data plan, dynamics of cycles and spatial synchrony will be analyzed based on the approximately 20 year time series for the core data sites. Autocorrelation analyses and pairwise synchrony tests will be applied to the time series of abundance data to ask whether hare population cycles are dampened and less synchronous in the southern parts of the hare range, and whether synchrony patterns are likely to be explained by gene flow. Finally, because the PI has recently identified compromised camouflage in hares to be a potentially strong climate change stressor as hares molting to their white winter coat confront reduced snowpacks, the project will add a coat color mismatch covariate to the time series analysis; this will be a value-added hypothesis that will add no expense to the original study plan.

Date: 07/07/15 - 8/31/18
Amount: $50,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

The nexus of ecological and socioeconomic systems requires that research questions address interactions between forests and people, both how people manage forests and how society derives essential ecosystem services from forests. Effective resource, environmental, and energy policies and forest management strategies will increasingly rely on this kind of knowledge. Partnerships among research organizations (e.g., federal and state research organizations, universities, NGO’s, etc.) will be critical for attacking these complex research questions. The purpose of this agreement is to develop and implement a process for enaging NCSU Forestry and Environmental Resources (FER) faculty and students with the Center for Integrated Forest Science (CIFS). As such, this agreement focuses on a few key areas of high priority of research within CIFS and provides funding to facilitate engagement by NCSU FER faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students .

Date: 08/01/16 - 1/31/18
Amount: $105,000.00
Funding Agencies: University of Montana

This project involves the daily care of 21 wild snowshoe hares in captivity and the mentoring of 4 NCSU undergraduates conducting research projects. Dr. Lafferty will conduct behavioral, physiological and genetic studies to understand the basis of adaptation of seasonal coat color change to climate change.

Date: 09/01/13 - 8/31/17
Amount: $181,310.00
Funding Agencies: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Although gender diversity in the natural resources profession has increased dramatically in the past twenty-five years, the field continues to lack adequate racial and ethnic diversity. We believe that diversification of the conservation workforce is essential for the long-term success of conservation science in our country. Diversification will bring important ideas and perspectives to natural resources decision-making that are currently absent. Moreover, in an increasingly diverse society, disciplines that attract a narrow ethnic and racial slice of the population are unlikely to be adequately valued by society. Given our changing demographics and the environmental challenges we face, it is important to foster expertise in conservation science and exposure to the conservation ethic across the breadth of society. A key bottleneck in efforts to diversify the conservation science workforce is recruitment and graduation of undergraduates. To address this issue, we propose to establish a national partnership to increase enrollment and graduation of students from under-represented groups in conservation science programs and to provide those students with the necessary training, research and workforce experiences, social and academic support, and mentorship to transition to successful leadership positions in the field. A secondary objective will be to document and disseminate our diversity recruitment model and success with the ultimate goal of expanding diversity recruitment efforts at undergraduate institutions across the US. Program objective: To develop long-term, sustainable educational programming to increase enrollment and retention of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in conservation science undergraduate degree programs, and to create a pathway for employment in key positions in the conservation profession.

Date: 04/01/16 - 8/15/17
Amount: $5,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service

North Carolina has over 2 million acres of woodlands in holdings less than 20 acres in size. These small woodlots range from parcels in larger forested areas to patches of green infrastructure in our urban communities. The majority of these woodlands are owned by over 341,000 families and go unmanaged. These woodlands provide environmental, economical, and social benefits to their owners and to the communities in which they are found. Through management planning woodland owners and communities can enhance these benefits by developing a road map to the future. The NCSU Forestry & Environmental Outreach program will deliver a Small Wood Education and Outreach program targeted to landowners, foresters, loggers, county commissioners, and urban & park land managers. The program will include two events: 1) Small Wood: A Wood Recovery Primer Seminar and Demo (1/2 day format) June 8, 2016, Laurel Ridge Retreat and Conference Center in Laurel Springs, NC and 2) Small Wood: The Small Woodlot and Urban Interface Forest Management (date and location TBD.)


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