I am a postdoc at Florida State University interested in understanding how climate, nutrients, and habitat shape plant and insect communities. Using large manipulative field experiments I answer questions at the interface of global climate change, community ecology, and ecological stoichiometry.
Globally, grasslands are facing anthropogenic nutrient addition. Fertilization often directly alters plant biomass and richness while indirectly altering arthropod abundance and diversity. I have several avenues I’ve explored within this vein of research:
- How does a gradient of soil fertility ramify upward in a grassland food web?
- Does insect herbivore nutrient limitation increase as plant nutrient content decreases?
- Globally, how do N, P, K, and micronutrient limitation affect arthropod abundance among seven common feeding guilds?
- How do temperature and nutrient demands interact in organisms to determine foraging decisions?
My next project aims to address the consequences of nutrient addition in tandem with pollination outcomes, as this is an important yet infrequently taken step in creating sustainable agro-ecological management plans. I am planning a manipulative field experiment combined with lab assays to (1) Examine how nutrient addition affects plant traits relevant to pollinators and subsequent pollinator visitation rate, community composition, and plant yield; (2) Assess how nutrient addition indirectly affect pollination outcomes via altered herbivory and/or natural enemy abundance; (3) Examine how nutrient addition affects pollinator health via altered nectar.
Understanding climate effects on the phenology of plants and animals is challenging. Weather is changing at different rates across seasons, organisms use different weather variables as phenological cues, and the interval between cues and phenological events such as emergence, reproduction, or activity varies among species. To explore how responses to climate cues differ among taxonomic groups and the importance of prior versus current climate in determining species’ phenology, I collated first-sighting and median-activity phenological events for 30 plant, 13 insect, 16 bird, 2 mammal, and 1 amphibian species representing 10,812 phenological events across 45 years (1975 – 2020) from the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and compared them to climate data.