Dr. Benjamin Ramage


Postdoc - University of California, Berkeley, 2011-2013
Ph.D. - University of California, Berkeley, 2011
B.S. - University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 2001



BIOL 325: Ecology

BIOL 330: Human Ecology and Evolution

BIOL 340: Ecological Simulation

BIOL 499: Capstone Seminar

BIOL 121: Integrative Biology I

Research Interests

Research in my lab focuses on how and why forests change over time, with a particular focus on the multitude of challenges tree seedlings face as they grow towards the forest canopy. Most of our work is done in the forest, but we also use computer simulations to test some hypotheses.

Current projects are focused on answering the following questions:

  1. To what extent do tree seedlings benefit from local diversity in eastern temperate forests?  In the tropics, it is well documented that tree seedlings near mature trees of the same species often have lower survival rates than seedlings growing near other species. Similarly, seedlings that are surrounded by dense patches of conspecific ("same species") seedlings are also likely to suffer. This phenomenon, called conspecific negative density/distance dependence (CNDD), occurs primarily because of the local accumulation of species-specific insect pests and pathogens. However, very little is known about the prevalence of CNDD in the forests of the eastern United States. In my lab, we are working to further elucidate this process via field observations, tree seedling planting projects, and computer simulations.
  2. Is the strength/importance of CNDD altered by disturbance, heavy deer herbivory, or competition with invasive plants?  For a variety of reasons, these factors may alter the strength of CNDD (the reduction in seedling performance when in the vicinity of conspecifics) as well as the importance of CNDD (the extent to which CNDD drives forest dynamics). We are currently testing several associated hypotheses by investigating CNDD in burned and unburned areas, inside and outside of deer exclosures, and in invaded and uninvaded forest plots.  In addition, we are complementing this fieldwork with related simulations.


Previous research:

As a graduate student, I worked in California’s coastal conifer forests and explored the impacts of two distinct disturbances (wildfire and sudden oak death, an emerging disease caused by a non-native pathogen). As a postdoctoral researcher, I shifted to tropical forest ecology and conservation, and focused on improving scientific understanding of logging effects as well as developing management strategies that maximize biodiversity conservation in timber production forests. 


Selected Publications

Ramage BS, Johnson DJ, Gonzalez-Akre E, McShea WJ, Anderson-Teixeira K, Bourg NA, Clay K.  2017.  Sapling growth rates reveal conspecific negative density dependence in a temperate forest.  Ecology and Evolution.  [Open Access]

Ramage BS and Mangana IJ.  2017.  Conspecific negative density dependence in American beech.  Forest Ecosystems. 4:8: 1-8.  [Open Access]

Ramage BS, Sheil D, Salim HMW, Fletcher C, Mustafa NZA, Luruthusamay JC, Harrison RD, Butod E, Dzulkiply AD, Kassim AR, and Potts MD. 2013. Pseudoreplication in tropical forests and the resulting effects on biodiversity conservation. Conservation Biology. 27: 364–372.

BS, Marshalek EC, Kitzes J, and Potts MD. 2013. Conserving tropical biodiversity via strategic spatiotemporal harvest planning. Journal of Applied Ecology. 50: 1301–1310.

Ramage BS, Kitzes J, Marshalek EC, and Potts MD. 2013. Optimized Floating Refugia: A new strategy for species conservation in production forest landscapes. Biodiversity and Conservation. 22: 791-801.

O’Hara KL and Ramage BS. 2013. Silviculture in an uncertain world: Utilizing multiaged management systems to integrate disturbance. Forestry. 86: 401-410.

Ramage BS, Forrestel AB, Moritz MA, and O’Hara KL. 2012. Sudden oak death disease progression across two forest types and spatial scales. Journal of Vegetation Science. 23: 151-163.

Ramage BS, O’Hara KL, and Forrestel AB. 2011. Forest transformation resulting from an exotic pathogen: Regeneration and tanoak mortality in coast redwood stands affected by sudden oak death. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 41: 763-772.

Ramage BS and O'Hara KL. 2010. Sudden oak death-induced tanoak mortality in coast redwood forests: Current and predicted impacts to stand structure. Forests. 1: 114-130.

Ramage BS, O'Hara KL, and Caldwell BT. 2010. The role of fire in the competitive dynamics of coast redwood forests. Ecosphere 1: art20.