We are in an unprecedented era of rapidly changing climate that is altering the world in which we live. Dr. Berry seeks to understand how our diverse forests will fare in this new world by understanding the fundamental mechanisms of how plants interact with their environment across ecosystems.
By training, Dr. Berry is a ‘physiological ecologist’ meaning that he studies how plants use, move, and store basic resources (carbon, water, nutrients) needed to survive and how that alters their ability to live in current and future environments. He has explored these mechanisms in diverse ecosystems including mountain conifer forests in the Appalachian Mountains, tropical forests in Mexico and Costa Rica, and dry woodlands in Texas. This work has uncovered new insights into how plants strategically move water and carbon to maximize their interactions with their environment. At Chapman University he is exploring how changing cloud patterns alter light and water and the associated effects of how plants manage carbon with global implications for predicting species survival and improving carbon budgets.
Dr. Berry is also a passionate educator and teaches who loves interacting with students in diverse settings. He currently teaches in the Schmid College Grand Challenges Initiative which provides a powerful student-centered learning approach to the undergraduate curriculum. This unique approach instills a sense of empowerment in students to strive for greatness while pushing the boundaries of their own interests and perspectives. He is honored to be a part of this respected community of scholars who seek creative ways to inspire students to take steps towards impacting their world.