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Faculty Profile
John Stella

John  Stella


Orange horizontal rule

200 Bray Hall


You can read more about my research and lab group at the links below. 

Curriculum Vitae

Research Homepage

Google Scholar Profile | ORCiD Profile | Experts@ESF Profile

To learn about ESF's graduate programs, please visit THE GRADUATE SCHOOL at SUNY-ESF. 

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

  • Watershed Ecology and Management (FOR 442/642, Fall)
  • Quantitative Methods and Models in R (FOR 796/EFB 796, Fall)
  • Data Management and Archiving (FOR 796/EFB 796))
  • Restoration Ecology (FOR 607)

Current Graduate Advisees

Yun ZhaoYun Zhao

  • Degree Sought: PHD
  • Graduate Advisor(s): Stella
  • Area of Study: ESC Environmental Monitoring


***undergrad advisee; ** grad advisee; *other student contributor


Kui, L., J. Williams**, M.B. Singer, J.C. Stella, C.L. Kibler*, T.E. Dawson, M.M. Rohde**, A.M. Lambert, D.A. Roberts. In preparation. Increased groundwater dependence of riparian vegetation in response to atmospheric drought conditions.


Kibler, C.*, L. Hall, A.M. Lambert, L. Kui, C. McMahon*, M.M. Rohde**, D.A. Roberts, J.C. Stella, M.B. Singer. In preparation. Riparian bird species exhibit distinct strategies to cope with drought-induced habitat loss.

63. Pu, G.*, L.J. Quackenbush, J.C. Stella. In review. Quantifying restored riparian buffer delineation accuracy and detectability in multitemporal imagery. Ecological Engineering
62. Lochin, P.*, P. Malherbe, B. Marteau, J. Godfroy, F. Gerle, J. Marshall, S Puijalon, M.B. Singer, J.C. Stella, H. Piégay, A. Vernay. In review. The Ant and the Grasshopper: contrasting responses and behaviors to water stress of riparian trees along a hydroclimatic gradient. Science of the Total Environment
61. Lochin, P.*, H. Piégay, J.C. Stella, K.K. Caylor, L. Vaudor, M.B. Singer. In review. Drivers of spatiotemporal patterns of riparian forest greenness along a hydroclimatic gradient. Ecohydrology
60. Rohde, M.M.**, C.M. Albano, X. Huggins, K.R. Klausmeyer, C. Morton, A. Sharman, E. Zaveri, L. Saito, Z. Freed, J.K. Howard, N. Job, H. Richter, K. Toderick, A-S Rodella, T. Gleeson, J. Huntington, H.A. Chandanpurkar, A.J. Purdy, J.S. Famiglietti, M.B. Singer, D.A. Roberts, K.K. Caylor, J.C. Stella. 2024. Groundwater-dependent ecosystem map exposes global dryland protection needs. Nature.


Williams, J.**, J.C. Stella, M.B Singer, A.M. Lambert, S.L. Voelker,, J.E. Drake,, J.M. Friedman,, L. Pelletier**,, L. Kui, D.A. Roberts. 2024. Seasonal and species-level water-use strategies and groundwater dependence in dryland riparian woodlands during extreme drought. Water Resources Research. DOI: 10.1029/2023WR035928


Rohde, M.M.**, J.C. Stella, M.B. Singer, D. A. Roberts, K. Caylor, C.M. Albano. 2024. Groundwater for Ecosystems: Establishing ecological thresholds and targets for groundwater management. Nature Water DOI: 10.1038/s44221-024-00221-w


McMahon, C.*, D.A. Roberts, J.C. Stella, A. Trugman, M.B. Singer, K.K. Caylor. 2024. A river runs through it: robust automated mapping of riparian woodlands and land surface phenology across dryland regions. Remote Sensing and the Environment DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2024.114056


Jessamy, J.**, J.E. Drake, J.C. Stella. 2024. Persistent legacies of discrimination predict urban forest structure and composition across a socioeconomic gradient. Landscape and Urban Planning DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2024.105018


Fichot, R., M. Lefebvre*, M. Pégard, D. Chassagnaud, M. Bliard, J. Ferdinand, F. Laurans, D. Le Thiec, A. Deveau, J.C. Stella, P. Rozenberg, M. Villar. 2024. Distinct trait syndromes and plasticity maintain similar performance between seedlings populations of the riparian tree species Populus nigra L. Environmental and Experimental Botany. DOI: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2023.105598


Kibler, C.L.*, A.T. Trugman, D.A. Roberts, C.J. Still, R.L. Scott, K.K. Caylor, J.C. Stella, M.B. Singer. 2023. Evapotranspiration regulates leaf temperature and respiration in dryland vegetation. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology DOI: 10.1016/j.agrformet.2023.109560


Kua, Z.X., C.M. Davis, L.A. Townley, J.C. Stella, S.B. Shaw. 2023. Analyzing the impact of agricultural BMPs on stream nutrient load and biotic health in the Susquehanna-Chemung Basin of New York. Journal of Environmental Management DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.4271223


Warter, M.M.*, M.B. Singer, D. Roberts, K.K. Caylor, R. Sabathier, M.O. Cuthbert, J.C. Stella. 2023. Modeling seasonal vegetation phenology from hydroclimatic drivers for contrasting plant functional groups within drylands of the Southwestern USA. Environmental Research: Ecology DOI: 10.1088/2752-664X/acb9a0


Sabathier, R.*, M.B. Singer, J.C. Stella, D.A. Roberts, K.K. Caylor, K.L. Jaeger, J.D. Olden. 2023. High resolution spatiotemporal patterns of flow at the landscape scale in montane non-perennial streams. River Research and Applications 39:225-240 DOI: 10.1002/rra.4076


Williams, J.**, J.C. Stella, S.L. Voelker, A.M. Lambert, L. Pelletier, J.E. Drake, J.M. Friedman, D.A. Roberts, M.B. Singer. 2022. Local groundwater decline exacerbates response of dryland riparian woodlands to climatic drought. Global Change Biology. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16376


Beslity, J.*, S.B. Shaw, J.E.. Drake, J. Fridley, J.C. Stella, J. Stark, K. Singh. 2022. A low cost, low power sap flux device for distributed and intensive monitoring of tree transpiration. HardwareX e00351 DOI: 10.1016/j.ohx.2022.e00351


Jayasuriya, M.T.*, R.H. Germain, J.C. Stella. 2022. Applying the "Goldilocks Rule" to Riparian Buffer Widths for Forested Headwater Streams across the Contiguous US – How Much Is "Just Right"? Forests. DOI: 10.3390/f13091509


Bywater-Reyes, S., R.M. Diehl, A.C. Wilcox, J.C. Stella, and L. Kui. 2022. Green New Balance: interactions among riparian vegetation plant traits and morphodynamics in alluvial rivers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 47:2410–2436. DOI: 10.1002/esp.5385


Rodríguez-González, P., S. Dufour, J.C. Stella, et al. 2022. Bringing the margin to the focus: 10 challenges for riparian vegetation science and management. WIRE Water. DOI: 10.1002/wat2.1604


Rohde, M.M.**, J.C. Stella, D.A. Roberts, M.B. Singer. 2021. Groundwater dependence of riparian woodlands and the disrupting effect of anthropogenically altered streamflow. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2026453118


Kibler, C.L.*, E.C. Schmidt*, D.A. Roberts, J.C. Stella, L. Kui, A.M. Lambert, M. Singer. 2021. A brown wave of riparian woodland mortality following groundwater declines during the 2012-2019 California drought. Environmental Research Letters. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1377


Stella, J.C., L. Kui, G.H. Golet, F. Poulsen. 2021. A dynamic riparian forest structure model for predicting large wood inputs to meandering rivers. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. DOI :


Haynes, K.R.*, J. Friedman, J.C. Stella, D.J. Leopold. 2021. Assessing climate change tolerance and the niche breadth-range size hypothesis in rare and widespread plants. Oecologia 196(4):1233-1245. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-021-05003-9


Jayasuriya, M.T.*, J.C. Stella, R.H. Germain. 2021. Can Understory Plant Composition and Richness Help Designate Riparian Management Zones in Mesic Headwater Forests of the Northeastern United States? Journal of Forestry DOI: 10.1093/jofore/fvab034


Stephan, E.*, T. Endreny, P. Groffman, P.G. Vidon, J.C. Stella. 2021. Interacting drivers and their tradeoffs for predicting denitrification potential across a strong urban to rural gradient within heterogeneous landscapes. Journal of Environmental Management 294 DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113021


Warter, M.M.*, M.B. Singer, M.O. Cuthbert, D.A. Roberts, K. Caylor, R. Sabathier*, J.C. Stella. 2021. Drought onset and propagation into soil moisture and grassland vegetation responses during the 2012–2019 major drought in Southern California. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). DOI: 10.5194/hess-2020-479


Sabathier, R.*, M.B. Singer, J.C. Stella, D.A. Roberts, K.K. Caylor. 2021. Vegetation responses to climatic and geologic controls on water availability in southeastern Arizona. Environmental Research Letters 16 : (ERL-109499) DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abfe8c


Janssen P., J.C. Stella, B. Räpple**, C.R. Gruel**, G. Seignemartin*, B. Pont, S. Dufour, H. Piégay. 2021. Long-term river management legacies strongly alter riparian forest attributes and constrain restoration strategies along a large, multi-use river. Journal of Environmental Management DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111630


Mayes, M., K. Caylor, M.B. Singer, J.C. Stella, D.A. Roberts, P. Nagler. 2020. Climate sensitivity of water use by riparian woodlands at landscape scales. Hydrological Processes. DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13942


Mahoney, M.***, J.C. Stella. 2020. Stem size selectivity is stronger than species preferences for beaver, a central place forager. Forest Ecology and Management. DOI : 10.1016/j.foreco.2020.118331


Kua, Z.X.**, J.C. Stella, J.M. Farrell. 2020. Local disturbance by muskrat, an ecosystem engineer, enhances plant diversity in regionally-altered wetlands. Ecosphere. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.3256


Diehl, R.M., A.W. Wilcox and J.C. Stella. 2020. Evaluation of the integrated riparian ecosystem response to future flow regimes on semiarid rivers. Journal of Environmental Management DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111037


Janssen P., J.C. Stella, H. Piégay, B. Räpple**, B. Pont, J-M Faton, J.H.C. Cornelissen, A. Evette. 2020. Divergence of riparian forest composition and functional traits from natural succession along a degraded river with multiple stressor legacies. Science of the Total Environment 720. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137730


Lightbody, A., Kui, L.**, J.C. Stella, K.W. Skorko, S. Bywater-Reyes, A.C. Wilcox. 2019. Riparian vegetation and sediment supply regulate the morphodynamic flood response of an experimental stream to floods. Frontiers in Environmental Science (Freshwater Science section). DOI: 10.3389/fenvs.2019.00040


Kui, L.**, J.C. Stella, R. M. Diehl, A.C. Wilcox, A. Lightbody, L.S. Sklar. 2019. Can environmental flows moderate riparian invasions? The influence of seedling morphology and density on scour losses in experimental floods. Freshwater Biology DOI: 10.1111/fwb.13235


Matzek, V., J.C. Stella, P. Ropion*. 2018. Development of a carbon calculator tool for riparian restoration. Applied Vegetation Science DOI: 10.1111/avsc.12400


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. 2018. Socio-environmental stakes associated with process-based restoration strategies in large rivers: should we remove novel ecosystems along the Rhône (France)? Regional Environmental Change DOI: 10.1007/s10113-018-1325-7


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Kui, L.**, 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


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


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 719:291–315. DOI:10.1007/s10750-012-1304-9


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. 6: 402–412. DOI:10.1002/eco.1283


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


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


Beier C.M., J.C. Stella, M. Dovçiak, S.A. McNulty. 2012. Local climatic drivers of changes in phenology at a boreal-temperate ecotone in eastern North America. Climatic Change 115:399–417. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0455-z


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 36: 316–326. DOI:10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.10.042


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. DOI:10.1007/s10021-011-9446-6


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 


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(S2): 284–294. DOI:10.1111/j.1526-100X.2010.00651.x


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. DOI:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.02.012


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


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. DOI:10.1007/s10021-005-0138-y



Current and Former Undergraduate Researchers

Mike Mahoney (B.S. in Forest Ecosystem Science, Fall 2018) is an undergraduate student in the Stella Lab working on his honors thesis. He is interested in the larger role beavers play within forest ecosystems, both from an ecological and a natural resources management perspective. He is studying how beaver foraging impacts forest health, including aspects of both forest structure and non-monetary values such as aesthetics and tree architecture.

Giselle Schreiber (B.S. in Environmental Science major with Marine Science minor, Spring 2018) completed her senior capstone project on the influence of several abiotic factors (temperature, precipitation, sediment depth, etc.) on the growth rate of Populus fremontii  (Fremont cottonwood)a keystone riparian tree species in the Sacramento River Valley of California. She was raised in Miami, Florida and has experience working with freshwater and marine fish and invertebrates.

Will Fernandez (B.S. in Environmental Science major, Spring 2018) completed his senior capstone project on the impacts of beaver on riparian forest communities surrounding lakes at the Huntington Wildlife Forest in the central Adirondacks.

Margaret (“Maisie”) Baronian (B.S. in Environmental Science major with Mathematics minor, Spring 2018) focused her senior capstone project on  how seasona precipitation events impact instream conductivity levels in an urban stream. Conductivity concentrations in streamwater can be used as an indicator for road salt, which is widely applied in the region as a de-icer in winter. She used the statistical software R to model hydrologic conditions in Meadowbrook Creek in Syracuse, NY, using data collected from automated stream gauges.