Phys-Fest is back!


During July 15-19, 2018, a broad training workshop for plant eco-physiologists will convene in an eastern deciduous forest ecosystem. Phys-Fest 2 is specifically focused on promoting collaboration, interactions, and networking among plant eco-physiologists. Phys-Fest 2 will occur at the Holden Arboretum, outside Cleveland, OH. There are several unique attributes of the Holden Arboretum including: field-based eco-phys training focused on tree canopy water and energy exchange within vertical gradients of the canopy, insight into non-academic careers through interactions with staff working in a non-profit public research institution, and a rare opportunity to learn first-hand about public engagement and scientific communication.

Phys-Fest 2 is organized to accomplish 3 distinct goals:

    1. Provide an immersive field measurements component incorporating a broad range of ecophysiological techniques
    2. Training in science communication and outreach
    3. Student dissemination of eco-physiology to a public audience

The workshop aims to broadly train graduate students in plant ecophysiology techniques, initiate discussion addressing research frontiers within plant ecophysiology, and promote collegiality among participants. 



Phys-Fest 2 gratefully acknowledges support from:


PMS Instruments


Participants will arrive in Cleveland on Sunday, July 15, 2018. The first evening will include group icebreaker activities and an overview of the workshop. Daytime activities during Mon-Weds will have measurement demonstrations and data collection (Goal 1), and evening activities will include Science Communication Training (Goal 2). On Wednesday afternoon, workshop participants will engage with the public audience at Holden to teach ecophysiology concepts and purpose (Goal 3). The workshop concludes midday on Thursday, July 19.

To accomplish Goal 1:
Students will works as teams in coordinated ecophysiological sampling campaigns to collect in-canopy physiological data for four broad data types:

  1. hydraulics
  2. gas exchange
  3. chlorophyll fluorescence
  4. hyperspectral and thermal imaging

Vertical gradients within the tree canopies will be instrumented prior to the meeting using METER environmental sensors (NDVI, PRI, leaf wetness, and canopy temperature). Ecophys data collected will be used for broader inference such as monitoring the response of forest tree canopies to diurnal variations, including heat and irradiance stress, and to demonstrate how canopy microclimate observations can advance fundamental ecophysiological understanding of canopy processes.

To accomplish Goal 2:
Science Communication: We will provide short workshops on engaging public audiences via training in scientific outreach, professional social media, and writing for public audiences. The social media workshop will be run by Cait Anastis, Holden Arboretum’s social media director and magazine editor and the writing workshop will be run by Holden scientist Juliana Medeiros.

Science Outreach and Policy: Jacob Carter (Union of Concerned Scientists) will provide guidance on how to effectively engage with local stakeholders to develop their research in a way that is most relevant and useful to the public, discuss how to communicate the scientific experience and research to different audiences through storytelling, and explain how scientists and technical experts can leverage their valuable expertise to engage decision-makers at the local, state, or national level.

To accomplish Goal 3:
Holden provides a unique opportunity to engage the public with ecophysiology. Each research group will be responsible for developing a particular type of media content (social, print, video, and on-site interpretation). Media for disseminating course events will be developed during Phys-Fest 2 and shortly thereafter. Relaying the workshop events will provide the public a first-hand look at how data collection and science training are accomplished, and provide a tangible connection to scientific discovery taking place near Cleveland.

Hydraulics stations at Phys-Fest 1 (Konza Prairie, 2016)


The Holden Arboretum

Phys-Fest 2 will occur in mid-July (15-19), 2018 at the Holden Arboretum outside Cleveland, OH. The Holden Arboretum is an accredited museum that manages 3000 acres of natural forested areas. These areas include 800 acres of old-growth beech-maple forest, ~500 acres of formal gardens and visitor grounds, and an impressive Canopy Walk and Emergent Tower. These structures were constructed with two goals: to provide an exciting venue for visitors to learn about forest science, and to provide infrastructure for canopy research. Phys-Fest 2 participants will have access to the canopy walk and emergent tower to conduct canopy ecophysiology measurements in a publicly visible place.

 The Holden Arboretum Judith and Maynard H. Murch IV Canopy Walk (left) and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower (right).

Accommodation will be provided in nearby dormitories at Lake Erie College. Most meals will occur at the arboretum, provided by the organizing committee. Group activities will occur within the Long Science Center and the Holden Visitor Center, which are equipped with state of the art facilities to support field and lab activities.

Logistically, travel to the Holden Arboretum is via the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (~45 min away). Arrangements will be organized to shuttle participants from the Cleveland airport to Holden.

Students and post-docs will receive a $500 travel voucher to offset travel expenses, and accommodation expenses will be covered. Most meals and drinks will be provided for all participants.



Given the logistical constraints of coordinated research at Holden, workshop attendance is limited to 50 total participants. Approximately 10 faculty eco-physiological scientists with broad research interests will help coordinate Phys-Fest 2. For the other 40 attendees, we encourage applications from students and post-docs. We encourage participants from historically under-represented ethnic, racial, and gender groups.

Students / Post-docs: Prepare a 1-page (< 400 words) statement that describes:

    • background / research interests
    • motivation to attend Phys-Fest 2
    • identify your research sub-group of preference
      1. hydraulics
      2. gas-exchange
      3. thermal and hyper-spectral imaging
      4. chlorophyll fluorescence

To submit your applications, please email BOTH:

Jesse Nippert:
Juliana Medeiros:

Application deadline is February 28, 2018


If you have additional questions about Phys-Fest 2, please contact any of the workshop organizers:

  Last Update: 09-Feb-2018