Virginia Tech® home

Lynn M. Resler

Professor and Associate Chair
Lynn Resler
200 Wallace Hall


·     Ecological biogeography

·     Coupled biogeographic-geomorphic systems

·     Mountain ecotones, especially alpine treelines

·     Invasive species, foundation and keystone species

·     Field experiences

My teaching and research interests are quite diverse, but generally lie within the broad subdiscipline of ecological biogeography. I have emphasized most of my research efforts on spatial pattern-process relationships, with a particular interest in vegetation pattern and dynamics at mountain ecotones. I am intrigued by questions that address how local biophysical and biotic processes affect broader vegetation patterns. For example: how exotic and invasive diseases impact treeline response to climate warming; how fine-scale geomorphic processes and patterns influence tree seedling growth and ultimately treeline advance; and how historical land use impacts contemporary vegetation pattern, are examples of some of the topics that have driven my past and present work.  I am involved in international networks that focus on understanding pattern and process relationships at alpine treelines, globally. I conduct field based research in the Rocky Mountains of the U.S. and Canada, and in the high elevation ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountains.

I have 18 years of field research experience, and have developed and led undergraduate and graduate student research and learning experiences, including the following field courses: Antarctica: Humans and the Environment (2017); Mountain Environments: Mount Baker, Washington (2013); Sustainability in New Zealand (2009); North American Landscapes: Atlantic Provinces (2009).

I currently serve as Associate Editor at Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, and I am an Editorial board member of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Physical Geography, Southeastern Geographer.  Further, I am an elected member of the Electorate Nominating Committee (ENC) of the Section on Geology & Geography, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2019-2022). I am past Vice President and Program Coordinator for the Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers (SEDAAG, 2017-2018).

Courses Recently Taught: 

·     Biogeography (GEOG 4044)

·     Mountain Geography (GEOG 3404)

·     Topics in Physical Geography (GEOG 5444)

·     Geography of Arctic and Subarctic Environments (GEOG 3444)

·     Antarctica: Human Impacts on a Fragile Ecosystem (GEOG 3954)

Selected Recent Publications:

Resler, L. M., Shao, Y., Campbell, J., & Michaels, A.  Land Cover and Land Use Change in an Emerging National Park Gateway Region: Implications for Mountain Sustainability. In F. Sarmiento (Ed.), International Handbook of Sustainability (Geography of Sustainability ed.). Edward Elgar Publishing. (forthcoming).

Aksha, S., Juran, L., & Resler, L.M. 2018. Spatial and temporal analysis of natural hazard mortality in Nepal. Environmental Hazards, 1-17.

Jin, X., Shao, Y., Zhang, Z., Resler, L.M., Campbell, J.B., Chen, G., & Zhou, Y. 2017. The evaluation of land consolidation policy in improving agricultural productivity in China. Scientific Reports 7.

Tomback, D. F., Blakeslee, S. C., Wagner, A. C., Wunder, M. B., Resler, L. M., Pyatt, J. C., & Diaz, S. (2016). Whitebark pine facilitation at treeline: potential interactions for disruption by an invasive pathogen. Ecology and Evolution6(15), 5144-5157.

Malanson G.P., Resler L.M. & Tomback D.F. (2017). Ecotone response to climatic variability depends on stress gradient interactions. Climate Change Responses4(1). doi:10.1186/s40665-017-0029-4.

Malanson G.P. & Resler L.M. (2016). A size-gradient hypothesis for alpine treeline ecotones. Journal of Mountain Science13(7), 1154-1161. doi:10.1007/s11629-016-3984-5.

Malanson, G.P., & Resler, L.M.(2015). Neighborhood functions alter unbalanced facilitation on a stress gradient. Journal of Theoretical Biology 365: 76-83.

Campbell, J. B., & Resler, L. M. (2015). Geomorphological Studies from Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing of Water Resources, Disasters, and Urban Studies, 313.

Malanson, G.P., & Resler, L.M. (2015). Neighborhood functions alter unbalanced facilitation on a stress gradient. Journal of Theoretical Biology 365: 76-83.

Resler, L.M., Shao, Y., Tomback, D.F., & Malanson, G.P. (2014). Predicting functional role and occurrence of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) at alpine treelines: Model accuracy and variable importance. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104(4): 1-20.

Tomback, D.F., Chipman, K.G., Resler, L.M., Smith-McKenna, E. K. & C.M. Smith. (2014). Relative abundance and functional role of whitebark pine at treeline in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 46(2): 407-418.

Smith-McKenna, E.K., Malanson, G.P, Resler, L.M., Carstensen, W., Prisley, S.P., & Tomback, D.F. (2014). Feedbacks, disease, and climate influences on treeline pattern and process: an agent-based model application. Environmental Modelling and Software 62: 85-96.

Recent Grants:

University of Wyoming and National Park Service. Assessing Functional Role and Community Dynamics of Whitebark Pine at Alpine Treeline, Grand Tetons National Park 2015-2016.  Resler, L.M. (PI), Shao, Y. Co-PI.

VT CALS Proposal Development Grant. Poison Ivy Genomics Along the Appalachian Trail Micro Transect. Jelesko, John (PI), Roger Harris, David Haak and Lynn M. Resler, (Co-PIs)

National Science Foundation. Implications of an exotic, invasive pathogen for alpine treeline dynamics. Geography and Spatial Sciences, 2009-13. Resler, L.M. (PI), Tomback, D. and Malanson G. (Co-PIs).