Jean H. Burns Lab: About Us
Burns lab: plant ecology with an evolutionary perspective
Interested in graduate school? The lab is recruiting. Contact Jean at jbm122 <@> case.edu
Plant communities provide numerous benefits to humans, filtering our air and water and sequestering carbon. Understanding the mechanisms that structure plant communities is thus increasingly important as humans change landscapes and climate.
Plants are highly diverse, and have evolved many strategies for attracting pollinators, influencing soil microbes, and otherwise "behaving" in ways that structure their environment. Evolution has shaped this diversity. Incorporating information about evolutionary history (phylogeny) into our ecological studies will thus help us answer exciting new questions, such as:
(1) What makes some introduced species invasive, spreading rapidly in the introduced range and causing harm, while closely related species might fail to invade (e.g. Burns 2006, Burns et al. 2011, Burns et al. 2013, Murphy et al. 2016, Burns et al. 2019)?
(2) How might relatedness shape plant-soil interactions (e.g. Burns and Strauss 2011, Burns et al. 2015, Sweet and Burns 2017)? How might plant-soil interactions, and the soil heterogeneity they create, influence coexistence (e.g. Brandt et al. 2013, Burns and Brandt 2014, Brandt et al. 2015, del Pino et al. 2015, Burns et al. 2017) and restoration success (Lance et al. 2019, Lance et al. 2020)?
(3) How does evolution shape plant trait integration in Rhododendron (Medeiros et al. 2017, Medeiros et al. 2019, Medeiros et al. 2020)?
Jean has joined the steering committee of the Rhododendron Research Network, an international collaborative research network.
Congratulations to Yu Liu for his "Highlighted Student Research" paper in Oecologia.
Congratulations to Evan Fritzke, CWRU Department of Biology, Ralph Spengler Award winner!
Dr. Andy Lance has successfully defended his dissertation. Congratulations to Andy!
Andy Lance has accepted a position as a Restoration Project Manager with Western New York Land Conservancy. Congratulations to Andy!
Please see Andy Lance's recent research in Restoration Ecology.
Congratulations to Jennifer Murphy and Anna Osvaldsson for successfully defending their dissertations.
Check out our feature on Colin Cope's research in the Daily!
Congratulations to Alexis Balog for the Ralph A. Spengler, Jr. Award for excellence in plant science!