Academics Jennifer Ramstetter - Biology
Contact Jennifer Ramstetter; 802-258-9216
A biologist with a passion for rare plant conservation, Jenny Ramstetter graduated from Marlboro College herself. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, with a dissertation on the dynamics of pollination and fertilization in two wild plant species, and did postdoctoral research on rare plants in France. Jenny recognizes that biology is only one of many pieces to the conservation ‘puzzle.’ "One of the most exciting things about being at Marlboro is that it offers so many opportunities to integrate biology with policy issues and cultural considerations," says Jenny, who has team-taught a course in Conservation Biology with economics professor Jim Tober.
In all of her courses, from general biology (which she co-teaches with biologist Jaime Tanner) to plant physiology or evolution, Jenny seeks to impart not merely detail, but an understanding of processes and relationships. "I also try to help students understand what constitutes a good question in biology," she says. "Some of the questions that seem most fascinating are broad and unmanageable The biologist’s job is to ask smaller questions, and use the answers to address larger questions."
Student Plans and Collaborations
- A study of the natural world with a focus on the disturbance ecology of New England and Pacific coast forests. Julia Powers-Boyle '10, environmental studies.
- An exploration of ecology and conservation biology with a focus on mutualistic relationships and human impacts in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Nels Lund '09, biology.
- A study of place-based education in southeastern Vermont, with a focus on nature. Louisa Pugh '09, anthropology and environmental studies.
- An investigation of issues in ecology and conservation biology with a focus on the impacts of human disturbance and mathematical analysis. Elizabeth Toleno '09, biology and mathematics.
Jenny’s abiding concern is for protecting biodiversity at multiple levels—populations, species, communities and ecosystems—and understanding the biology of these systems is crucial to that effort. She has done extensive fieldwork to conserve three rare plant species in New England: Ludwigia polycarpa, Cynoglossum virginianum and Triphora trianthophora, or three birds orchid. Jenny was recognized for this work by the New England Wild Flower Society, which presented her with the Vermont State Award in 2005.
Jenny has providing guidance on rare plants in Vermont's Flora Advisory Group (FLAG) and served on the Vermont Endangered Species Committee, advising the Natural Resources Agency on conservation. As a member of the conservation commission in the town of Marlboro, she helped initiated conservation of a 500-acre conservation area on Hogback Mountain. She continues to contribute to the conservation of this vital area through class field studies and collaborations with the local elementary school.
B.S., Marlboro College, 1981; M.A., University of Montana, 1983; Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1988; Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Montpellier, France, 1988 - 1989, Marlboro College, 1989 -