Gisselle Mejía

Photo_GisselleMejia-(002) headshot student

Research Interests

  • Ecosystem science; forest ecology; urban ecology; biogeochemistry; soil ecology; nitrogen cycling; nutrient pollution; atmospheric deposition; plant-soil feedbacks

Dissertation Topic: Forests in urban areas provide invaluable ecosystem services that regulate climate (e.g. carbon sequestration,) improve air and water quality, and increase biodiversity and human well-being. Ecosystem services are supported by biological, physical, and chemical processes in soils critical to forest growth, health, and development, which are poorly understood in urban areas. Gisselle's dissertation will investigate how these plant-soil relationships are impacted by altered environmental conditions is urban areas, to better understand the factors that determine the structure and functions of urban forests.

Advisor: Peter Groffman PhD

Gisselle Mejía (PhD Candidate) holds a B.A. in environmental studies and political science from Case Western Reserve University focused on sustainable development, and M.S in Forestry focused on community-based natural resource management from Michigan Technological University. Gisselle was a Peace Corps Master’s International Program fellow and served as a Peace Corps agroforestry extensionist for 2.5 years in Chalatenango, El Salvador. She worked on soil conservation projects, and agricultural co-op management in collaboration with community members and non-governmental organizations. In El Salvador, she developed her master's thesis to understand farmers' motivations for woodlot management and their perceptions of forest management policies. Just prior to embarking on a Ph.D., Gisselle was a forester for the City of New York’s Parks and Recreation Department. As an urban forester, Gisselle worked on tree-planting and green infrastructure programs across the five boroughs. This experience exposed her to the complexity of urban ecosystems, providing a venue to merge basic and applied research with implications to urban sustainability and ecological resilience.

Gisselle is NYC native from Washington Heights, and now resides in the Bronx. In her free time, Gisselle enjoys hiking the city’s natural areas in northern Manhattan and the Bronx.