How will global change affect interactions among species?
As the climate changes, so do interactions among species. I am particularly interested in how climatic warming may alter how plant species interact during community assembly. By combining experimental warming in the lab with greenhouse and field studies, I am working to understand how increasing temperatures may alter competitive relationships between native and non-native plants to reshape our natural spaces.
How can species interactions inform ecosystem restoration?
Degraded ecosystems abound. The eastern half of the United States is full of land in varying stages of reforestation post-agriculture. While trees often repopulate these spaces, they typically retain evidence of past agricultural land use (legacies), ranging from reduced understory diversity to high levels of invasion. My research considers ways in which we might account for interactions among species when designing restoration strategies for these forests. Such strategies may include manipulating levels of competition by woody invaders, thinning canopy trees to enhance forest productivity, or restoring soil microbial communities as a means of enhancing diversity in the plant community.
How variable are interspecific interactions in space and time?
Using a multi-year, multi-site grassland restoration experiment in northern California, I am studying the extent to which the strength and outcome of competitive interactions is conditional on the abiotic environment. I am also examining the importance of priority effects in grassland plant communities, and how long the signature of the competitive advantage conferred by priority is evident in the composition of plant communities.