My research lies at the interface of plant community and ecosystem ecology, with the goal of understanding controls over plant community change, and how species introductions affect ecosystem composition, structure and functioning. Our lab studies the mechanisms by which plant species alter ecosystem functions over short and long time scales, using non-indigenous species invasions as 'natural experiments' to seek generality in ecology. We explore context-specific information regarding invasions, including how large-scale vegetation change influences land management and restoration decision-making, particularly related to soil productivity, fire regimes and native species habitat. Many of our students are involved in collaborations with the Dudley RIVRLab, on topics such as the ecophysiology of invasive Tamarix, plant-herbivore interactions in native vs. invasive-dominated dune communities, impacts of invasive wood-boring beetles to riparian tree species, and how host-specific biological control organisms may influence the recovery of native assemblages.
santa clara river