John Stella

John C. Stella
Associate Professor

344 Illick Hall
1 Forestry Dr.
Syracuse, New York 13210

Phone: (315) 470-4902



Highest Education

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (Environmental Science, Policy and Management), 2005

Areas of Study

Riparian and stream ecology; plant ecohydrology and dendroecology; aridland and Mediterranean ecosystems; river corridor restoration.

Courses Taught

Selected Publications (*Indicates Student Author)


Manners, R., A.C. Wilcox, J.C. Stella, L. Kui*, A. Lightbody, L. Sklar. (in review) Sediment supply as a control on plant-geomorphic interactions.

Dixon, M.D. and J.C. Stella. (in revision) Temporal variability in hydrology modifies the influence of geomorphology on wetland distribution along a desert stream: a commentary on Dong et al. (2015). Journal of Ecology.

Bywater-Reyes, S.*, A.C. Wilcox, J.C. Stella, and A. Lightbody (in press) Flow and sediment transport constraints on uprooting thresholds for pioneer woody seedlings. Water Resources Research.

Bishop, D.A.*, C.M. Beier, N. Pedersen, G.B. Lawrence, J.C. Stella, T.J. Sullivan. (in press) Regional growth decline in sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and potential causes. Ecosphere.

Manners, R., A.C. Wilcox, L. Kui*, A. Lightbody, J.C. Stella, L. Sklar. 2015. When do plants modify fluvial processes? Plant-hydraulic interactions under variable flow and sediment supply rates. Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface. DOI: 10.1002/2014JF003265

Kui, Li*, J.C. Stella, A. Lightbody, A.C. Wilcox. 2014. Ecogeomorphic feedbacks and flood loss of riparian tree seedlings in meandering channel experiments. Water Resources Research. 50, DOI: 10.1002/2014WR015719

Dufour, S., M.K. Hayden*, J.C. Stella, H. Piégay, J.J. Battles. 2014 Maintaining channel abandonment processes increases riparian plant diversity within fluvial corridors. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.1546 [pdf]

Riddle, J., N. Pedersen, J.C. Stella, D.L. Leopold. 2014. Shifting climate sensitivity and contrasting growth trends in Juniperus species growing together at opposite range margins. Tree-Ring Research 70:101–111. DOI: 10.3959/1536-1098-70.2.101 [pdf]

Stella, J.C., J. Riddle*, H. Piégay, M. Gagnage*, M-L. Trémélo. 2013. Climate and local geomorphic interactions drive patterns of riparian forest decline along a Mediterranean Basin river. Geomorphology. DOI: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2013.01.013 [pdf]

Bendix, J., and J.C. Stella. 2013. Riparian Vegetation and the Fluvial Environment: A Biogeographic Perspective. In Treatise on Geomorphology 12: Ecogeomorphology (D. Butler and C. Hupp, Eds.). Elsevier, San Diego. [pdf]

Stella, J.C., P. Rodríguez-González, S. Dufour, J. Bendix. 2013 Riparian vegetation research in Mediterranean-climate regions: common patterns, ecological processes, and considerations for management. Hydrobiologia. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-012-1304-9 [pdf]

Eallonardo, A. S.*, D.J. Leopold, J.D. Fridley and J.C. Stella. 2012. Salinity tolerance and the decoupling of resource axis plant traits. Journal of Vegetation Science. DOI: 10.1111/j.1654-1103.2012.01470.x [pdf]

Singer, M.B., J.C. Stella, S. Dufour, L.B. Johnstone*, H. Piégay, and R.J.S. Wilson. 2012. Contrasting water uptake and growth responses to drought in co-occurring riparian tree species. Ecohydrology. DOI: 10.1002/eco.1283 [pdf]

Beier C.M., Stella J.C., Dovçiak M., McNulty S.A. 2012. Local climatic drivers of changes in phenology at a boreal-temperate ecotone in eastern North America. Climatic Change DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0455-z [pdf]

Schifman, L.A.*, J.C. Stella, M. Teece and T.A. Volk. 2012. Plant growth and water stress response of hybrid willow (Salix spp.) among sites and years in central New York. Biomass & Bioenergy. Published online 16 Nov. 2011; doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.10.042 [pdf]

Stella, J.C., J.D. Riddle, J.J. Battles, M.K. Hayden*, and A.K. Fremier. 2012. Riparian forest dynamics on a large, regulated river (California, USA): impacts and implications for management. Proceedings of the Integrative Sciences and Sustainable Development of Rivers (IS Rivers) Conference, Lyon, France, 26–28 June 2012. [pdf]

Stella, J.C., M.K. Hayden*, J.J. Battles, H. Piégay, S. Dufour, and A.K. Fremier. 2011. The role of abandoned channels as refugia for sustaining pioneer riparian forest ecosystems. Ecosystems 14: 776-790. [pdf]

Harper, E.B., J.C. Stella, A.K. Fremier. 2011. Global sensitivity analysis for complex ecological models: a case study of riparian cottonwood population dynamics. Ecological Applications 21: 1225-1240. DOI:10.1890/10-0506.1 [pdf]

Downs, P.W., M.S. Singer, B.K. Orr, Z.E. Diggory, T.C. Church, and J.C. Stella. 2011. Restoring ecological integrity in highly regulated rivers: The role of baseline data and analytical references. Environmental Management 48:847-864. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-011-9736-y

Stella, J.C., and J.J. Battles. 2010. How do riparian woody seedlings survive seasonal drought? Oecologia 164:579–590. DOI 10.1007/s00442-010-1657-6 [pdf]

Stella, J.C., J.J. Battles, J.R. McBride, B.K. Orr. 2010. Riparian seedling mortality from simulated water table recession, and the design of sustainable flow regimes on regulated rivers. Restoration Ecology 18: 284-294. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2010.00651.x [pdf]

Rodríguez-González, P.M., J.C. Stella, F. Campelo, T. Ferreira, A. Albuquerque. 2010. Subsidy or stress? Tree structure and growth in wetland forests along a hydrological gradient in southern Europe. Forest Ecology and Management 259: 2015–2025. [pdf]

Stella, J.C., J.J. Battles, B.K. Orr, J.R. McBride. 2006. Synchrony of seed dispersal, hydrology and local climate in a semi-arid river reach in California. Ecosystems 9:1200-1214. [pdf]

Stella, J.C., J.C. Vick, B.K. Orr. 2004. Riparian vegetation dynamics on the Merced River. The Wilderness Society Riparian Floodplains Conference Proceedings.Sacramento, California. March 2001.[pdf]

Current Graduate Advisees

Current Graduate Advisees

Andrea IronsAndrea Irons

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Stella
  • Area of Study: Water & Wetland Resource Studies
  • Undergraduate Institute: University of Calif Berkeley (Environmental Science)

Personal Statement
I am studying riparian forest dynamics along California’s Sacramento River. I love both forests and rivers, and am interested in how they affect one another. I hope to analyze the relationship between flow regimes and tree recruitment and succession, particularly focusing on the Fremont Cottonwoods native to the area. Utilizing GIS, hundreds of tree cores, and sediment data, I hope to draw a picture of how the riparian forest has changed in relation to the Sacramento River over time.

Patrick OelschlagerPatrick Oelschlager

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): McNulty and Stella
  • Area of Study: Ecology
  • Undergraduate Institute: Juniata College

Graduate Research Topic
My research focuses on successional dynamics of beaver wetlands in the central Adirondacks, the potential factors that influence these dynamics, and the resulting effects on biological diversity at the landscape scale. Deer impacts on plant regeneration and bird community responses to landscape modification by beavers are two areas of focus, but I am broadly interested in role of beaver-modified habitats in the region.


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