Education & Curriculum Vitae
B.S., Ph.D., Iowa State University
Berlyn’s dissertation involved the ecophysiology and morphology of trees growing on sites of varying stress levels. It examined how site quality affected the ability of the trees to form reaction wood in response to the mechanical stress of lean. It analyzed the nature and properties of the xylem formed under these different conditions. This work also resulted in one of the first papers to use allometric equations to examine the relationship between tree crowns and stems. Since that time Berlyn and his students have studied factors affecting tree growth, xylem structure, and leaf functional traits in many countries (US, Costa Rica, Panama, Sri Lanka, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Jamaica, Central African Republic, Korea, Japan, India, Mexico) and along many types of environmental gradients including mountain ranges from the Andes to the Brooks Range in Alaska and to the Himalayas. These ecophysiological and anatomical studies also covered changes along latitudinal gradients along the east coast of the U.S. and in Alaska. Combined these elevational and latitudinal gradients represent natural experiments in climate change for species and ecosystems. Professor Berlyn also pioneered in the development of non-hormonal plant biostimulants. These improve the growth, yield, and stress resistance of plants while reducing the need for inorganic fertilizers that readily contaminate the ground water. In addition, Berlyn is part of an international group led by Dr. Anitra Thorhaug that studies carbon sequestration by sea grasses and mangroves.