University of Vermont

Laura Hill Bermingham, PhD
Panel discussion at Leadership in Campus
Laura Hill, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer and Research Associate
University of Vermont
Plant Biology Department

302 Jeffords Hall
Burlington, Vermont 05405
PH: (802) 656-1134, FAX (802) 656-0440

Recipient of the 2014 Joseph E. Carrigan Award for Excellence in Teaching and Undergraduate Education

Courses Taught
  • Exploring Biology (BCOR 11/12) Fall/Spring semester
  • Genetics (BCOR 101) Fall semesters
  • Intro to Botany (PBIO4) Spring semester, second-half
  • Principles of Biology (BIOL001), Summer term
  • The Green World (PBIO6) with Cathy Paris, odd-year Spring semesters

Research Objectives
I am largely interested in researching how humans impact ecological systems. I am a plant ecologist and conduct research in wetland ecosystems. 

My postdoctoral research program, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and the University of Vermont, explored various ecological and anthropogenic impacts
on populations of rare plant Polemonium vanbruntiae in the Green Mountain National Forest. 

My sustainable agriculture research focused on the future of growing cold-hardy varieties of rice (Oryza sativa) in cold climates, such as the Northeast.
In collaboration with Vermont farmers, we studied how variable water availability affected rice plant vigor, survival, panicle formation, maturation date, and total grain yield of 4 temperate rice strains during the 2012 growing season.  The project results have informed northeastern farmers how to utilize subprime agricultural land (i.e., on dairy farms) to grow rice and increase farm diversity and income in a changing climate.

For my doctoral research with Dr. Alison K. Brody at the University of Vermont Department of Biology (2003-2008), I examined how various ecological and evolutionary factors affected rare plant persistence in wetland habitats.  Specifically, I tested how pollinators, herbivores, and habitat type influenced long-term population dynamics for globally threatened plant species, Polemonium vanbruntiae (Eastern Jacob's ladder).  I used a combination of field experiments and ecological modeling to discern the factors most significantly affecting extinction risk for these rare plant populations. 

Polemonium vanbruntiae
Polemonium vanbruntiae occurs in montane wetland regions throughout the Appalachian mountain range in eastern U.S. and Canada.  

Last modified August 18 2015 10:31 AM

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