COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Mark Tjoelker, a Texas AgriLife Research forest ecologist and professor in the department of ecosystem science and management at Texas A&M University, has been appointed to a U.S. Department of Agriculture national forestry advisory council.
Tjoelker will serve on the Forestry Research Advisory Council, which represents forestry schools and state agricultural experiment station interests.
The council, as required by law, reports annually to the secretary of agriculture on regional and national planning and coordination of forest research within federal and state agencies, forestry schools and industries.
The appointment is for a three-year term.
“We are extremely pleased to have someone of Dr. Tjoelker’s expertise be selected to this prestigious national advisory council,” said Dr. Mark A. Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University.
“Dr. Tjoelker’s appointment will provide valuable insight on issues such as climate change effects and climatic adaption in plants,” said Dr. Steven Whisenant, department head. “This will be a great extension to the research he conducts as part of AgriLife Research, Texas’ only agricultural research agency, and the teaching efforts he has led here at Texas A&M.”
Tjoelker’s research focuses on the impacts of global environmental change on terrestrial ecosystems. His research includes savanna and forests in North America, Europe and Australia. He also teaches forest ecology and terrestrial ecosystems and global change and serves as undergraduate forestry program leader.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to serve as a member of the Forestry Research Advisory Council to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture,” Tjoelker said. “I look forward to representing the interests of the Texas A&M System and its agencies and in particular the role of research at academic institutions.
“As a researcher, I know first hand the challenges facing forestry in Texas and beyond. Climate change, land-use change and increasing pressures on native and managed forest ecosystems are among the grand challenges facing us in the coming decades. It is critical to have science-based research to inform policy choices.”
As a physiological ecologist, he explores the linkages between plant traits and processes at the individual, stand and ecosystem scales. Research interests include climate change effects on respiration and carbon cycling, climatic adaptation in plant traits and the biogeography of forest tree species.
His awards include a Fulbright Fellowship (1995) to Poland and the Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences Outstanding Young Faculty Award at Texas A&M University (2009).
Tjoelker has served on grant advisory panels for the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies. He serves on the editorial advisory boards of New Phytologist and Tree Physiology and is an associate editor for Functional Ecology.
During 2009, Tjoelker was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University. In addition to his appointment in the department of ecosystem science and management at Texas A&M, Tjoelker is a member of the interdisciplinary faculties of ecology and evolutionary biology and molecular and environmental plant sciences.