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No longer at LDEO: 
Graduate Research Fellow
Earth and Environmental Sciences
Biology and Paleo Environment
101G Paleomagnetics
61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
(845) 365-8150


Fields of interest: 
I am specifically interested in the impacts climate change and changing seasonality have on the vegetation in the Arctic tundra. I am also interested in the effect increasing deciduous shrub cover has on plant and canopy phenology and overall plant commun


General Research Project:

Working with a team of researchers from three universities, we aim to better understand multi-trophic consequences of climate change and increasing deciduous shrub cover in the Arctic tundra.  Our research focuses on the impacts of changing seasonality in the Alaskan Arctic tundra: from plants, to arthropods, to migratory songbirds.  To better understand the interactions between these trophic levels, and the cascading effects of climate change, we use a wide range of techniques, including satellite and in-situ remote sensing techniques; vegetation, migratory songbird community, and arthropod monitoring; and weather, snow-cover, and bioacoustic monitoring.


My Specific Research:

Increasing temperatures in arctic regions are causing earlier spring snowmelt, leading to earlier plant emergence and a lengthened growing season.  Warming is also leading to a shift from graminoid/evergreen-dominated to deciduous shrub-dominated tundra, increasing winter snow depth and delaying spring snowmelt as taller stature shrubs trap more snow. I am investigating potential causes and consequences of altered plant phenology due to changes in vegetation functional groups and structure. 

My current research compares foliar phenology of plant functional groups in deciduous shrub-dominated and graminoid/evergreen-dominated communities on the North Slope of Alaska.  I also use remote sensing technology to track canopy development to examine the impact of increasing deciduous shrub cover on canopy phenology, and to identify spectral signatures that correlate with environmental variables (such as active later depth and soil temperature) important to plant phenology and vegetation structure. 





List of degrees from highest to lowest:
M.Phil. in Earth & Environmental Science
Columbia University
M.A. in Earth & Environmental Science
Columbia University
B.A. Earth & Environmental Science
SUNY Plattsburgh
Honors & Awards: 
James B. Hayes Graduate Student Research Award, DEES, Spring 2012
Faculty Teaching Fellowship, DEES, Fall 2010 to present
SUNY Plattsburgh's Presidential Scholarship, CEES, Fall 2001 to Spring 2005

Advisor List:

Adam Formica (former senior thesis student DEES)
Jessica Gersony (former senior thesis student E3B)
Marley Tran (former Barnard College student)

Selected Publications:

NDVI as a predictor of canopy arthropod biomass in the Alaskan arctic tundra Sweet, S.; Asmus, A.; Rich, M.E.; Gough, L.; Wingfield, J.C.; Boelman, N.T. Ecological Applications 04/2015 Volume: 25 Issue: 3 p.: 12 (2015) 10.1890/14-0632.1
Greater deciduous shrub abundance extends tundra peak season and increases modeled net CO2 uptake Sweet, S.; Griffin, K.L.; Steltzer, H.; Gough, L.; Boelman, N.T. Global Change Biology p.: 16 (2015) 10.1111/gcb.12852
Tall deciduous shrubs offset delayed start of growing season through rapid leaf development in the Alaskan arctic tundra Sweet, S. K.; Gough, L.; Griffin, K. L.; Boelman, N. T. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 09/2014 Volume: 46 Issue: 3 p.: 16 (2014) DOI: