As a plant ecologist and conservation biologist, I am fascinated with the vast diversity of plants on Earth and how they interact with their environment and other organisms. I am particularly interested in how climate change, urbanization, and other anthropogenic factors affect plant populations and communities. Understanding anthropogenic impacts to organisms is compelling to me for two main reasons: 1) humans exert a large and growing influence on Earth's biota, and 2) we can simultaneously learn about their basic ecology and address applied problems in conservation biology and restoration.
I have broad interests and have worked in diverse systems ranging from Pacific Northwest montane forests and tropical bee communities in coffee farms to suburban vernal pool amphibians and coastal sandplain grassland communities. I use field experiments and observational monitoring, meta-analysis, and statistical models as my primary research tools.
News & Updates
July 2017: The Wolkovich Lab, of which I am a (mostly) remote member, came to D.C. to work on a lab research project! It was great to see everyone in-person for a change!
March 2017: Are tree ranges likely to consistently and evenly shift up with warming? Our research says probably not, due to a switch from competitive to facilitative interactions between trees across the range. Read about it in Global Change Biology!
January 2017: Our paper on conifer regeneration in a Seattle urban forest is available at Urban Ecosystems!
December 2016: I attended the AGU fall meeting for the first time and really enjoyed the mix of biology and physical science there! I presented our Arnold Arboretum work, written up here by science writer Ula Chrobak.
November 2016: Our paper on modelling death in orchids is available at Journal of Ecology! Sounds morbid, perhaps, but it’s not- I promise!
August 2016: I spent much of July traveling, including to my home state of Maine, where my family was so pleased to attend the dedication of a new Kennebec Land Trust preserve in memory of my mom. I didn’t get to botanize there as much as I would have liked, though...
April 2016: I thoroughly enjoyed working with other climate change biologists for our Radcliffe Exploratory Seminar on “Predicting Future Springs”!
December 2015: Happy Holidays! Among other things, I enjoyed exploring Washington, D.C. and New York City over the holidays with my family. A couple of botanical highlights of the season: 1) visiting model train exhibits at the U.S. Botanic Garden and the NY Botanic Garden- both gorgeous and the perfect places for a botanist and her train-obsessed three-year old, and 2) seeing cherry trees blooming on the national mall- a result of the wacky warm weather we had this December.
November 2015: Fall observations of phenology are winding down, and I had a chance to look at some of the phenology data collected by volunteers for the first year of the Tree Spotters program at Arnold Arboretum. Here’s a short summary available at the Temporal Ecology Lab blog
September 2015: I’ve recently begun to collaborate with Andy Royle, a fabulous statistician at USGS who is my new mathematical mentor for my postdoctoral fellowship. Looking forward to learning more Bayesian hierarchical modeling techniques from him, as well as exploring the wildlife refuge where his office is located!
All photos by Ailene Ettinger, unless otherwise stated.