Susan Cheng, a graduate student in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, was awarded a two-year Graham Doctoral Sustainability Fellowship for 2012 for her proposal, "Can forest carbon sequestration be sustained under climate change? Coupling atmospheric and ecological sciences to inform forest management."  The project is based at UMBS.   

Cheng is investigating how forest carbon uptake will change as forest communities and atmospheric conditions shift under changing climate. “I will be using NASA's remotely-sensed atmospheric data, UMBS ecosystem-level measurements, and field-collected tree cores to study how light and water limitations influence forest carbon uptake,” she explains.

“As a fellow, I'm also hoping to organize a workshop that will bring Michigan foresters, Graham Fellows, and natural and social scientists together to discuss reciprocal needs, transfer knowledge, and inform future forest management.”

Cheng will receive up to $50,000 over two years. She is working with UMBS director, Knute Nadelhoffer, UMBS collaborators Peter Curtis and Gil Bohrer from The Ohio State University, and Allison Steiner from U-M's Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science.

The Graham Institute is a collaborative partnership of schools, colleges and units across U-M. The institute fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration to create and disseminate knowledge and to offer solutions related to complex sustainability issues. On a broader scale, the Graham Doctoral Fellowship Program helps to create a community of scholars, wherein the fellows can collaborate, engage, and interact during their doctoral studies and into the future. During the fellows' time on campus, academic associations are cultivated through monthly seminars, annual retreats, workshops, and other Graham-sponsored forums.