GOOD THINGS COME IN 3's:  Phys-Fest 3!



We are excited to host our third iteration of Phys-Fest from July 18-23, 2021. Phys-Fest is an immersive training workshop for graduate students and post-docs focused on plant eco-physiology. Our goal is to promote a collaborative learning environment focused on learning new techniques and networking among plant eco-physiologists.

PhysFest 3 will be hosted at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus (CSU-MC), which is situated within a high-elevation parkland (Pingree Park) ~53 miles west of Fort Collins, CO. CSU-MC was obtained by CSU in 1914 and the first academic courses were held in 1915, making it one of the longest running summer field camps in the US. The campus is now populated with dorms, cabins, conference facilities, and a dining hall to support summer camps and workshops (like Phys-Fest 3). The CSU-MC sits at 9,000 ft elevation, with a high-elevation meadow bordering the east and regenerating lodgepole pine forests on the west. A short walk up in elevation leads to spruce-fir forests and, eventually, the alpine of Comanche Peak Wilderness. Within a short drive there are also large areas of Ponderosa Pine Forests all within the Roosevelt National Forest. Much of the area was burned in the Cameron Peak Fire during the summer of 2020, which offers us a unique opportunity to learn key ecophysiological methods and apply them to understanding the recovery of these ecosystems following a ecological disturbance. For more information about the campus and the surrounding area, visit the CSU-MC webpage at:

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

    1. Provide an immersive experience to learn key eco-phys field measurements in a relaxed small-group setting
    2. Training in science communication and outreach
    3. Discussion of a range of career options available after grad school   

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. 


CSU Mtn Campus

Phys-Fest 3 gratefully acknowledges support from:


PMS Instruments


Everyone will arrive on Sunday, July 18, 2021. The first evening will include 3-min elevator talks, group icebreaker activities and an overview of the week. Daytime activities during Mon-Weds will include measurement demonstrations and data collection, with data synthesis and presentations on Thurs (Goal 1). Evening activities will include team-building and Science Communication Training for public audiences (Goal 2) as well as nightly career discussion and engagement with professionals from many eco-phys career paths (Goal 3). The workshop concludes in the morning of Friday, July 23.

To accomplish Goal 1:
Students will work 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

We will take advantage of the Cameron Peak fire (in Fall, 2020), to explore ecophysiological responses to fire along an altitudinal gradient in a high-elevation forest. We will have plots established in lower elevation Ponderosa Pine, mid-elevation Lodgepole Pine, and high-elevation Spruce/Fir community. At each site, we will compare responses in unimpacted vs fire-impacted tree species.  This comparison will allow us to compare how varying levels of scorching impacts physiological recovery in these forest communities.

To accomplish Goal 2:
Science Communication: We will work with Science Communication professionals from CSU to work on crafting impactful messages that translate our science to diverse, general audiences. Providing sound, scientific information to the public is imperative to inform and advance the work we do. This process seems so easy, but to do effectively requires skill, planning, and practice.  We are going to get some great help!    

To accomplish Goal 3:
One of the traditions of Phys-Fest is our discussion of career options post-graduate school. Learning eco-physiology opens doors to many careers!  This year we are so excited to have a three-part focus: (1) Federal (2) Private-sector, and (3) Academic jobs. In particular, we are excited to welcome folks to speak about their careers in the USDA Forest Service and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as well as scientists working for Li-COR Biosciences and METER, Inc.            

Troy teaching hydraulics at Phys-Fest 2 (Holden, 2018)


Colorado State University Mountain Campus

Phys-Fest  3 will occur in mid-July (18-23), 2021 at the CSU Mountain Campus west of Fort Collins, CO. Hiking trails originate from the campus and explore the high-altitude forest that surrounds the area. In addition, CSU-MC has a challenge course (ropes, climbing, team-building) that are an optional element for Phys-Fest participants.       

 View of the Rocky Mountains from the dorms at CSU-MC 

We will have shared (2 people) dorm accommodations and access to a large central lodge space to facilitate classroom interactions, a lounge area and whole-group meetings. In addition, we will utilize an outdoor amphitheater for evening activities around a large campfire. All meals will be provided by CSU-MC. Keeping with previous Phys-Fest meetings, our goal is to make this low/no-expense for you to participate.

Logistically, travel to the CSU-MC is via the Denver International Airport (~ 2 hours away). We will help make arrangements to shuttle participants from Denver to CSU-MC.

Students and post-docs will receive a $300 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 CSU-MC, workshop attendance is limited to 50 total participants. Approximately 10 faculty eco-physiological scientists with broad research interests will help coordinate Phys-Fest. 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 3
    • identify your research sub-group of preference (you will receive training in all 4) 
      1. hydraulics
      2. gas-exchange
      3. thermal and hyper-spectral imaging
      4. chlorophyll fluorescence

To submit your applications, please email a .pdf attachment to both:
Jesse Nippert
Jennifer Rhodes

Application deadline is March 31, 2021

Unfortunately, we are unable to consider applications from non-US citizens performing their graduate studies outside the United States.


We strongly encourage all attendees to receive the CV-19 vaccine prior to workshop start. We will do our best to maintain social distance protocols during the meeting, but this is a small-group, interactive workshop. Maintaining the isolation we've come to live with over the past year may not be possible for all activities. We cannot accommodate single occupancy dorm room requests. Please keep this in mind when deciding if this workshop at this time is right for you.

If we are unable to host the workshop due to continuing pandemic concerns, that decision will be made by May 1, 2021.


If you have additional questions about Phys-Fest 3, please contact any of the workshop organizers:

  Last Update: 23-Feb-2021