Wesleyan portrait of Helen Mills Poulos

Helen Mills Poulos

Distinguished Professor of the College of the Environment and Environmental Studies

284 High Street, 304

Associate Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences


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BS Pepperdine University
MPHIL Yale University
MS Pennsylvania State University
PHD Yale University

Helen Mills Poulos

Dr. Poulos is a plant ecologist who examines the influences of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on local-, landscape-, and regional-scale plant distribution patterns. Helen's work explores the mechanisms underscoring such patterns through the lenses of plant ecophysiology, biogeochemistry, and community ecology. The overarching goal of Professor Poulos' research is to understand spatiotemporal patterns of plant diversity and community organization as well as examining the relationships between humans and ecosystem function. She has worked in diverse ecosystems including forests, deserts, rivers, and estuaries across North America and has field expertise in fire ecology, rapid assessments, restoration ecology, coastal marine carbon sequestration, and aquatic community dynamics.

Dr. Poulos has a master's degrees in geography from The Pennsylvania State University and a PhD from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Upon graduation with an undergraduate degree from Pepperdine University, Helen spent two years in Honduras in the Peace Corps where she worked with natural resources management in rural eastern Honduras. She is a nature-lover and born field biologist. Her research takes her to remote regions of North America that require long hours of back country work, camping under the stars, and sometimes mules for packing gear. Helen has authored over 55 peer-reviewed publications and popular articles on a range of environmental topics.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Fall 2023: Mondays 10:00-11 and W 11-12 in Exley 427


Fall 2023
BIOL 346 - 01
The Forest Ecosystem

ENVS 391 - 03
Senior Colloquium

Spring 2024
ENVS 329 - 01
Fire Ecology and Management

ENVS 392 - 03
Senior Colloquium: Envir Stud