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Abby van den Berg

Abby van den BergResearch Assistant Professor in Plant Biology

Ph.D. 2007, University of Vermont

Email: Abby.vandenBerg@uvm.edu

Phone: 802-899-9926

Office: Proctor Maple Research Center

Research Area: plant physiological ecology and maple syrup chemistry

Courses Taught: Plant Physiology (PBIO 104), Principles of Biology I (BIOL 001), Principles of Biology II (BIOL 002), Exploring Biology I (BCOR 011), Exploring Biology II (BCOR 012)

Summary of Research Program

Much of my research focuses on the ecophysiology of maple sugaring, including the effects of tapping and carbohydrate extraction on tree growth and health, the physiology of stem pressure and carbohydrates in xylem sap, and ultimately on helping to develop management practices and tapping guidelines to ensure the long-term sustainability of maple syrup production. Recently, my work has expanded to include studying the physiology of stem pressure development in birch trees, and investigating sap yields and the potential profitability of adding birch syrup production to existing maple operations in the Northeastern US.

Maple syrup is Vermont’s signature agrifood product, and another area of my research is focused on the chemical composition and flavor of maple syrup, particularly on gaining a better understanding of the compounds important to its flavor profile, and on how factors such as the environment, processing technologies, and management practices might affect its composition and flavor. Most recently, we have studied the impacts of modern sap processing technologies, such as reverse osmosis, on the composition and flavor of the maple syrup produced.

I also study the ecophysiology of anthocyanin pigments, particularly the potential effects of climate change on the development of the anthocyanin pigments in autumn senescing leaves that are responsible for the highly-prized display of autumn coloration in Vermont.

Selected Publications

plantation forestry short-rotation forestry coppice

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