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Alumna to Expand Forestry Fieldwork Options

March 1, 2017

Marlyse Duguid (PhD 2016, Forestry and Environmental Studies) was named the inaugural Siccama Lecturer in Environmental Field Studies. In that position, she will provide students with enhanced field-based opportunities. Duguid will create and lead three new courses as well as a 10-week summer program. She will also oversee fellowships for students interested in conducting research in the Yale School Forests. The forests, managed by F&ES, comprise 10,880 acres in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

My goals for the position are to get more students (both Yale College and F&ES) outside. My courses will all be heavily field based; I will be developing and leading summer internships in field ecology, and my research agenda includes ample student participation. In addition, I want to help build awareness and participation in using the Yale School Forests ( F&ES owns a number of forests throughout New England with excellent opportunities for field trips and student research. I hope to really capitalize on these, as well as on more local properties owned by Yale (such as those owned by the Peabody Museum of Natural History) to put natural history in context and give first-hand experience to students.”

The lectureship, funded with support from F&ES friends and alumni, honors the memory of Professor Thomas G. Siccama (1936-2014). Siccama was a leader in the study of forest ecosystems who joined the Yale faculty in 1967 and continued to teach even after his retirement in 2006.

Duguid’s dissertation was advised by Mark Ashton (PhD 1990, F&ES), director of the Yale School Forests and the Morris K. Jesup Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Her research focused on the response of understory plants to human activity. The understory is what grows below the forest canopy and consists of seedlings, saplings, shrubs, and herbs. “The legacy of agriculture and intense human use in New England made it an ideal location to study understory dynamics in a severely human-influenced site,” she says.

Since 2011, she has served as research coordinator for Yale School Forests, overseeing more than 40 projects. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection designated her a Certified Forester in 2010. She is author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, including “Changes in breeding bird abundance and species composition over a 20 year chronosequence following shelterwood harvests in oak-hardwood forests,” published in Forest Ecology and Management (2016) and “Mapping tree density at a global scale,” in Nature (2015).

Duguid earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in 1999 and worked in agriculture, horticulture, and landscape design before coming to Yale, where she completed a Master of Forestry degree in 2010. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family: husband Jed, five-year-old Waylon, and six-month-old Nyssa (named for one of her mother’s favorite trees).

I still spend a lot of time hiking and botanizing for fun,” she says. “Mostly I try to combine those things and drag my poor children into the woods any chance I can. Luckily I live within walking distance to a large, beautiful, state forest. I also love to garden and cook.”