Logo for Research Work Unit 4505                   

Dr. Walter C. Shortle
USDA Forest Service
Northern Research Station
271 Mast Road
Durham, NH  03824

Telephone: 603-868-7620 
Fax: 603-868-7604
wshortle[at]fs.fed.us   {Note: [at] = @}


Printable Curriculum Vitae for Dr. Walter C. ShortleReturn to Research Work Unit 4505 HomepageLink to 4505 Photo Gallery


Ph.D. Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, 1974.
M.S. Botany, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., 1970.
B.S. Botany, University of New Hampshire, Durham, N.H., 1968.

Professional Positions:

Senior Scientist/ Research Plant Pathologist, Northeastern Research Station, Durham, NH 1996-present.

Project Leader/Research Plant Pathologist, Northeastern Research Station, Durham, NH 1986-1995.

Research Plant Pathologist, Northeastern Research Station, Durham, NH 1974-1985.

Current Research:

I am currently working with teams of scientists to understand dendrochemical patterns of essential base cations  (K, Ca, Mg) in major trees species (spruce, fir, pine, maple, birch, cherry, oak, southern beech) in the northeastern USA, central Europe, northwestern Russia, and southeastern Siberia in the northern hemisphere, and Tierra del Fuego in the southern hemisphere. The goal of this work is to determine the influence of internal biochemical processes on the observed patterns relative to external geochemical processes affected by atmospheric deposition so that the affect of environmental change on wood production, wood quality, and tree survival can be evaluated. In related work, the role of wood-decay fungi in cycling base cations back into root zones depleted of these elements is being studies. We are attempting to link mineralization of wood in dead trees to biological weathering of mineral sources of base cations followed by their transport into the upper root and storage in biologically available forms. We are also studying the impact of major wounding events such as the January 1998 Ice Storm on tree survival, wood production, and wood quality. In addition to providing practical information for managers of forest land affected by a major wounding event, we are able to expand of knowledge of fundamental biological processes that limit the spread of infections following wounding.

Most of the current research involves work in multidisciplinary teams. The following are collaborators with whom I have worked in recent years K.T. Smith, R. Minocha, C. Eagar, and S.W. Bailey (USFS), G.B. Lawrence (USGS), A.G. Lapenis (SUNY, Albany), K.A. Vogt and D.J. Vogt (U. Washington, Seattle), G.E. Likens (IES, Millbrook, NY), J. Jellison and W.D. Ostrofsky (U.Maine, Orono), J.H. Connolly (Husson College, Bangor, ME), R.O. Blanchard (UNH, Durham), R. Wimmer (BOKU, Vienna, Austria), D. Dujesiefken (Institut fuer Baumpflege, Hamburg, Germany), and K. Cufar (U, Ljubljana, Slovenia).

Subject Area Index:  Tree Biology, Wood Quality, Forest Pathology, Acidic Deposition, Nutrient Cycling.

Selected Publications:

1. Lawrence, GB; Lapenis, AG; Berggren, D; Aparin, BF; Smith, KT; Shortle, WC; Bailey, SW; Varlyguin, D; Babakov, B. 2005. Climate dependency of tree growth suppressed by acid deposition effects on soils in northwest Russia. Environmental Science and Technology. 39(7): 2004-2010
2. Shortle, W.C.; Smith, K.T.; Dudzik, K.R. 2003. Tree survival and growth following ice storm injury. USDA For. Serv. Res. Pap. NE-723. 4 p.
3. Smith, K.T.; Shortle, W.C. 2003. Radial growth of hardwoods following the 1998 ice storm in New Hamshire and Maine. Can. J. For. Res. 33:325-329.
4. McLaughlin, S.B.; Shortle, W.C.; Smith, K.T. 2002. Dendroecological applications in air pollution and environmental chemistry: research needs. Dendrochronologia 20:133-157.
5. Smith, K.T.; Shortle, W.C. 2001. Conservation of element concentration in xylem sap of red spruce. Trees: Structure and Function 15:148-153.
6. Shortle, W.C.; Smith, K.T.; Minocha, R.; Minocha, S.; Wargo, P.M.; Vogt, K.A. 2000. Tree health and physiology in a changing environment. In: Mickler, R.A.; Birdsey, R.A.; Hom, J. eds. Responses of northern U.S. forests to environmental change, Ecological studies, Vol. 139. New York: Springer-Verlag: 229-274.
7. Shortle, W.C.; Smith, K.T.; Minocha, R.; Lawrence, G.B., David, M.B. 1997. Acidic deposition, cation mobilization, and biochemical indicators of stress in healthy red spruce. J. Environ. Qual. 26:871-876.
8. Minocha, R.; Shortle, W.C.; Lawrence, G.B.; David, M.B.; Minocha, S.C. 1997. Relationships among foliar chemistry, foliar polyamines, and soil chemistry in red spruce trees growing across the northeatsern United States.  Plant Soil 191:109-122.
9. Lawrence, G.B.; David, M.B.; Shortle, W.C. 1995. A new mechanism for calcium loss in forest-floor soils. Nature 378:162-165.  
10. Shortle, W.C.; Bondietti, E.A. 1992. Timing, magnitude, and impact of acidic deposition on sensitive forest sites. Water, Air, Soil Pollut. 61:253-267.  
11. Shortle, W.C.; Smith, K.T. 1988. Aluminum-induced calcium deficiency syndrome in declining red spruce. Science 240:1017-1018.