Adrian Rocha Associate Professor

Ecosystem Ecologist
Adrian Rocha

Research Interests:

I am interested in the biological and environmental controls on ecosystem exchanges of mass and energy at various temporal and spatial scales. My work utilizes a variety of tools including eddy covariance, remote sensing, and ground-based measures of ecosystem physiology to address these topics. Past work has focused on a variety of topics including the influence of clouds on CO2 and water exchange in a northern hardwood forest in Michigan, the physiology of tree growth in an old black spruce forest in Manitoba, Canada, and the environmental and biological controls on energy and mass exchanges in a freshwater marsh in Southern California. My current work focuses on characterizing the effects of wildfire on climate forcing and vegetation recovery on the north slope of Alaska, an area of rapid environmental change.



  • Associate Professor: Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2019-Present
  • Assistant Professor: Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame 2012-2019
  • Research Associate: Marine Biological Laboratory, Ecosystems Center 2010-2012
  • Post-doctoral Researcher: Marine Biological Laboratory, Ecosystems Center 2008-2010
  • Ph.D. Earth Systems Science, University of California, Irvine 2008
  • M.S. Environmental Science, Ohio State University 2003
  • B.S. (cum laude) Earth Systems Science and Policy [ESSP], California State University of Monterey Bay 2001


Recent Papers:

  • Rocha, A.V. and M.L. Goulden (2010) Drought legacies influence the long-term carbon balance of a freshwater marsh.JGR-Biogeosciences. 115, G00H02, doi:10.1029/ 2009JG001215.
  • Rocha, A.V. and G.R. Shaver (2011) Post-fire energy exchange in arctic tundra: the importance and climatic implications of burn severity. Global Change Biology. 17(9): 2831-2841
  • Rocha, A.V., M.M. Loranty, P.E. Higuera, M.C. Mack, F.S. Hu, B.M. Jones, A.L. Breen, E.B. Rastetter, S.J. Goetz, G.R. Shaver (2012) The footprint of Alaskan tundra fires during the past half-century: implications for surface properties and radiative forcing. Environmental Research Letters, 7, 044039.
  • Hu, F.S., P.E. Higuera, P. Duffy, M.L. Chipman, A.V. Rocha, A.M. Young, R. Kelly, and M.C. Dietze. (2015) Tundra fires in the Arctic: Natural Variability and Responses to Climate Change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.13(7):369-377.
  • Jiang, Y., E.B. Rastetter, A.V. Rocha, A.R. Pearce, B.L. Kwiatkowski, G.R. Shaver. (2015) Modeling carbon-nutrient interactions during the early recovery of tundra after fire. Ecological Applications. 25(6):1640-1652.
  • Jiang, Y., A.V. Rocha, J.A. O’Donnell, J.A. Drysdale, E.B. Rastetter, G.R. Shaver, and Q. Zuang. (2015) Contrasting soil thermal responses to fire in Alaskan tundra and boreal forest. JGR-Earth Surface. 120, doi: 10.1002/2014JF003180.