John C. Stella | Forest and Natural Resources Management | SUNY-ESF
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
e s f home link - e s f college of environmental science and forestry
John Stella

John C. StellaAssociate Professor

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

Phone: (315) 470-6536/470-4902



Graduate Assistantships in Arid-land Riparian Forest Ecology and Tree-Ring Research at SUNY-ESF (Funded by NSF and SERDP)

Qualified applicants should contact me as soon as possible ( before applying. Applications are due JANUARY 15, 2018 for funding consideration. For more information visit THE GRADUATE SCHOOL at SUNY-ESF, and see my Opportunities page for information on the Stella Lab.


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)

Thorel, M., H. Piégay, C. Barthélémy, B. Räpple*, C-R Gruel*, P. Marmonier, T. Winiarsky, J-P Bedell, F. Arnaud*, G. Roux, J.C. Stella, G. Seignemartin*, A. Tena-Pagan, V. Wawrzyniak*, D. Roux-Michollet, B. Oursel, S. Fayolle, C. Bertrand*, E. Franquet. (in review) Socio-environmental stakes associated with process-based restoration strategies in large rivers: should we remove novel ecosystems along the Rhône (France)? Regional Environmental Change

Räpple, B.*, H. Piégay, J.C. Stella, D. Mercier*. 2017. What drives riparian vegetation establishment in river channels at patch to corridor scales? Insights from annual airborne surveys (Drôme River, SE France). Ecohydrology DOI: 10.1002/eco.1886

Kui, L.*, J.C. Stella, P.B. Shafroth, P.K. House, A.C. Wilcox. 2017. The long-term legacy of geomorphic and riparian vegetation feedbacks on the dammed Bill Williams River, Arizona, USA. Ecohydrology DOI:10.1002/eco.1839

Ledford, S.H.*, L.K. Lautz, P.G. Vidon, J.C. Stella. 2017. Impact of seasonal changes in stream metabolism on nitrate concentrations in an urban stream. Biogeochemistry DOI:10.1007/s10533-017-0336-7

Diehl, R.M., A.C. Wilcox, J.C. Stella, L. Kui*, L. Sklar, A. Lightbody. 2016. Fluvial sediment supply and pioneer woody seedlings as a control on bar-surface topography. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms DOI:10.1002/esp.4017  [pdf]

Hultine, K.R., K.C. Grady, T.E. Wood, S.M. Shuster, J.C. Stella, T.G. Whitham. 2016. Climate change perils for dioecious plant species. Nature Plants. DOI:10.1038/nplants.2016.109  [pdf]

Ledford, S.H.*, L.K. Lautz, J.C. Stella. 2016. Hydrogeologic processes impacting storage, fate, and transport of chloride from road salt in urban riparian aquifers. Environmental Science and Technology 50: 4979–4988 DOI:10.1021/acs.est.6b00402  [pdf]

Kui, L.* and J.C. Stella. 2016. Fluvial sediment burial increases mortality of riparian tree seedlings but induces compensatory growth response in survivors. Forest Ecology and Management, 366. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.02.001  [pdf]

Bywater-Reyes, S.*, A.C. Wilcox, J.C. Stella, and A.F. Lightbody. 2015. Flow and scour constraints on uprooting of pioneer woody seedlings, Water Resources Research, 51. DOI:10.1002/2014WR016641  [pdf]

Dixon, M.D. and J.C. Stella. 2015. 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. DOI:10.1111/1365-2745.12499  [pdf]

Bishop, D.A.*, C.M. Beier, N. Pedersen, G.B. Lawrence, J.C. Stella, T.J. Sullivan. 2015. Regional growth decline in sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and potential causes. Ecosphere. DOI:10.1890/ES15-00260.1  [pdf]

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  [pdf]

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  [pdf]

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  [pdf]

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


  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Farrell and Stella
  • Area of Study: Ecology
  • Undergraduate Institute: Ohio State University of Columbus (Evolution and Ecolog)

Graduate Research Topic
For my Masters research, I am studying the effects of water regulation changes on aquatic wetland community of the St. Lawrence River at the Thousand Islands Biological Station (TIBS) following the implementation of Plan 2014. The main objectives of the study will focus on the hydrologic fluctuation effects on muskrat occupancy and the subsequent interactive effects of muskrat disturbances on the aquatic community.

Michael RosenthalMichael Rosenthal

  • Degree Sought: MS
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Farrell and Stella
  • Area of Study: Conservation Biology
  • Undergraduate Institute: Cornell University

LinkedIn ResearchGate

Graduate Research Topic
My research examines the effects that beavers' tree felling activities has upon small rodent, weasel, shrew and bat biodiversity and habitat selection.

Rachel ZevinRachel Zevin

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

Web Link

Personal Statement
Rachel Zevin, a passionate environmentalist, joined the Stella lab in the summer of 2017. After deciding as a child to dedicate her life to the protection of nature, Rachel attended the University of Vermont, where she graduated with multiple honors (Rubenstein School Honors and as an Honors College Scholar). She majored in Natural Resource Ecology and minored in Geospatial Technologies. While in undergrad, Rachel performed independent research (thesis titled, “Effect of wind disturbance intensity on Carabidae assemblages”) for UVM's Forest Ecosystem Health lab. In addition, she worked for the Watershed Alliance of the Lake Champlain Basin Program and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, educating water ecosystem health and science. Since graduating, Rachel has worked as a GIS technician for the State of Vermont's Agency of Agriculture and the New England Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Rachel is thrilled to have joined the Stella Lab. Her research goals are to create geospatial models to predict areas well-suited for beaver occupancy in the Adirondack Mountains and then further predict whether beaver occupancy would be detrimental to nearby humans. This will be done using a combination of field data, collected by Rachel and other past and present members of the Stella Lab, and geospatial data products. To contact Rachel email

Graduate Research Topic
Rachel Zevin's graduate research project is to create geospatial models to predict areas well suited for beaver occupancy in the Adirondack Mountains and then further predict whether beaver occupancy would be detrimental to nearby humans.

Favorite Quote
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." ~ Dr. Suess, The Lorax