2018 Ecology Letters and ESA Early Career Section Outstanding Paper Award
Abiotic drivers of change: Temperature. Rainfall. Fire. Nutrient availability. Many abiotic factors shape plant communities. My research examines how a variety of abiotic factors interact to influence ecological communities. Research interests include understanding the ecological consequences of the increased intensity and frequency of climate events, alterations to fire regimes, and increased nitrogen deposition.
Mechanisms of ecological change: In addition to understanding how ecosystems change, I am also interested in understanding why ecological change occurs. I investigate the underlying mechanisms that make species prone to change. Currently I am focusing on how plant stress tolerance, in particular thermal stress tolerance, shapes plant community assemblages in the current era of climate change.
Ecotones and ecological transitions: Whether it is changes from prairie to forest through time in Wisconsin, shrub-grassland ecotones and transitions bewteen Chihuahuan desert and short grass steppe grasslands in New Mexico, or aquatic-terrestrial transitions along the Mid-Atlantic coast, I am interested in community dynamics along ecological transitions across space and through time.
2017 Ecology Letters and ESA Early Career Section Outstanding Paper Award
I am an empirical plant ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of trait variation and integration across biological scales (from within individuals to among communities). My research aims to uncover general principles governing patterns of phenotypic diversity. I am broadly interested in questions at the intersection of the topics of plant physiology, scaling, functional straits, complexity, phenotypic integration and community ecology.
One of my pet interests is to tests implicit and explicit assumptions of the trait-based approach. My research has led me to conclude that considering individual variation, phenotypic complexity and the scale dependence of patterns and processes is key to moving trait-based ecology forward.