Michael Loranty - Assistant Professor of Geography Skip Navigation

Colgate Directory

Michael Loranty

Mike Loranty

Associate Professor of Geography
Geography, 307 Ho Science Center
p 315-228-6057
My research seeks to answer questions regarding the spatial and temporal dynamics of biosphere-atmosphere interactions in boreal and arctic ecosystems. This involves studying water, carbon, and energy cycles in order to understand how terrestrial ecosystems respond to climate, and also to investigate how changing ecosystem processes will feed back to climate.

As a geographer, I employ a variety of methods including field observations, simulation modeling, and satellite remote sensing to readily place my results in regional and global contexts. Visit my lab website for more information.


BS, West Virginia Wesleyan College; PhD, SUNY Buffalo

Teaching Specialties

Ecohydrology, physical geography, GIS, and remote sensing

Teaching Experience

SUNY Buffalo: Introduction to GIS, Geostatistics


* denotes Colgate student
  • Loranty, M.M., W. Lieberman-Cribbin*, L.T. Berner, S.M. Natali, S.J. Goetz, H.D. Alexander, A.L. Kholodov, 2016. Permafrost soil carbon affected by vegetation productivity changes and fire disturbance across arctic-boreal ecosystems. Environmental Research Letters, 11(9), 095008 
  • Curasi*, S.R., Loranty, M.M. and Natali, S.M., 2016. Water track distribution and effects on carbon dioxide flux in an eastern Siberian upland tundra landscape. Environmental Research Letters11(4), 045002
  • Berner, L. T., H. D. Alexander, M. M. Loranty, P. Ganzlin, M. C. Mack, S. P. Davydov, and S. J. Goetz (2015), Biomass allometry for alder, dwarf birch, and willow in boreal forest and tundra ecosystems of far northeastern Siberia and north-central Alaska, Forest Ecol Manag, 337(C), 110–118, doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.10.027
  • Loranty, M. M., S. M. Natali, L. T. Berner, S. J. Goetz, R. M. Holmes, S. P. Davydov, N. S. Zimov, and S. A. Zimov (2014), Siberian tundra ecosystem vegetation and carbon stocks four decades after wildfire, Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences, 119(11), 2144–2154, doi:10.1002/2014jg002730.
  • Loranty, M.M., L.T. Berner, S.J. Goetz, Y. Jin, and J.T. Randerson. 2014. Vegetation controls northern high latitude snow-albedo feedback: observations and CMIP5 model simulations. Global Change Biology. 20(2), 594-606. doi:10.1111/gcb.12391
  • Pearson, R. G., S. J. Phillips, M.M. Loranty, P. S. A. Beck, T. Damoulas, S. J. Knight, and S. J. Goetz, 2013, Shifts in Arctic vegetation and associated feedbacks under climate change, Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/nclimate1858. Scientific American coverage
  • Epstein, H.E., D.A. Walker et al and 21 others including M.M. Loranty, 2012, Vegetation [in Arctic Report Card 2012], http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/reportcard
  • Rocha, A.V., M.M. Loranty, P.E. Hiquera, M.C. Mack, F.S. Hu, B.M. Jones, A.L. Breen, E.B. Rastetter, S.J. Goetz, and G.R. Shaver. 2012. The footprint of Alaskan tundra fires during the past half-century: implications for ecosystem function and resilience. Environmental Research Letters 7 044039 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/4/044039
  • Berner, L.T., P.S.A. Beck, M.M. Loranty, H.D. Alexander, M.C. Mack, S.J. Goetz. 2012. Cajander larch (Larix cajanderi) biomass distribution, fire regime and post-fire recovery in northeastern Siberia. Biogeosciences 9, 3943-3959, doi:10.5194/bg-9-3943-2012.
  • Alexander, H.D, M.C. Mack, S.J. Goetz, M.M. Loranty, P.S.A. Beck, K. Earl, S. Zimov, S. Davydov, and C. Thompson. 2012. Effects of stand age and tree density on carbon accumulation patterns during post-fire succession in Cajander larch (Larix cajanderi) forests. Ecosystems doi: 10.1007/s10021-012-9567-6
  • Jin, Y., J.T. Randerson, S.J. Goetz, P.S.A. Beck, M.M. Loranty and M.L. Goulden. 2012 The influence of burn severity on post-fire vegetation recovery and albedo change during early succession in North American boreal forests. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences. 117, G01036, doi:10.1029/2011JG001886
  • Mackay, D.S., B.E. Ewers, M.M. Loranty, E.L. Kruger, S. Samanta 2012. Bayesian analysis of canopy transpiration models: A new test of posterior parameter means. Journal of Hydrology 432-433: 75-83. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.02.019
  • Loranty, M.M., and S.J. Goetz. 2012 Shrub expansion and climate feedbacks in Arctic tundra. Environmental Research Letters 7 011005 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/7/1/011005 (Invited Perspective Article)
  • Beck, P.S.A., N. Horning, S. J. Goetz, M.M. Loranty, K. Tape. 2011. Shrub cover on the North Slope of Alaska: a circa 2000 baseline map. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research, 43(3):355-363. doi: 10.1657/1938-4246-43.3.355
  • Beck, P. S. A., S. J. Goetz, H. Alexander, M. C. Mack, Y. Jin, J. T. Randerson, M.M. Loranty. 2011. The effects and implications of an intensifying fire regime on boreal forest in Alaska. Global Change Biology, 17: 2853-2866, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02412.x
  • Loranty, M.M., S. J. Goetz, P.S.A Beck. 2011. The effects of tundra vegetation on pan-Arctic albedo. Environmental Research Letters 6 024014
  • Loranty, M.M., S. J. Goetz, E. B. Rastetter, A.V. Rocha, G.R. Shaver, E.R. Humphreys, and P.M.Lafleur. 2011. Scaling an instantaneous model of tundra NEE to the Arctic landscape. Ecosystems 14(1):76-93. (Article and photograph featured on cover)
  • Loranty, M. M., D. S. Mackay, B. E. Ewers, E. Traver, and E. L. Kruger 2010, Competition for light between individual trees lowers reference canopy stomatal conductance: Results from a model. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 115, G04019, doi:10.1029/2010JG001377 
  •  Mackay, D.S., B.E. Ewers, M.M. Loranty, E.L. Kruger. 2010. On the representativeness of plot size and location for scaling transpiration from trees to a stand. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences., 115, G02016, doi:10.1029/2009JG001092
  • Loranty, M.M., D.S. Mackay, B.E. Ewers, E. Traver, and E.L. Kruger. 2010. Competition for light contributes to within-species variability in stomatal conductance. Water Resources Research., 46, W05516, doi:10.1029/2009WR008125.
  • Traver, E., Ewers, B.E., Mackay, D.S., Loranty, M.M., 2010. Tree transpiration varies spatially in response to atmospheric but not edaphic conditions. Functional Ecology, 24, 273-282.
  • Loranty, M.M., D.S. Mackay, B.E. Ewers, J.D. Adelman, E.L. Kruger. 2008. Environmental drivers of spatial variation in whole-tree transpiration in an aspen-dominated upland-to-wetland forest gradient. Water Resources Research, 44, W02441, doi:10.1029/2007WR006272.

Grants and Awards

National Geographic Society CRE, 2016-2017. Disentangling tree and shrub phenology in Siberian taiga ecosystems, $20,395
Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute, 2016-2018. Impacts of boreal climate feedbacks on climate change, $136,545
NSF Polar Sciences Division, 2015-2018.Vegetation and Ecosystem Impacts on Permafrost Vulnerability, $443,250 to Colgate
NSF Polar Sciences Division, 2013-2017. Fire regime influences on carbon dynamics of Siberian boreal forests, $96,039 to Colgate


"Towards a mechanistic understanding of spatial patterns of forest transpiration and its implications for scaling"

Professional Experience

Postdoctoral fellow, Woods Hole Research Center