Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
Vulnerability of forest biodiversity to climate change: Individual risks and regional responses
Individual trees bear the burden of responding to global climate change but predictions of associated changes to forest biodiversity are usually based on aggregate species level responses. However, species responses are not synonymous with individual responses to drought and changes in growing season length. To address this discontinuity, I are collecting individual-scale data in forests spanning a continental gradient of temperature and precipitation in eastern North America. I measure annual fecundity, germination, recruitment, growth, and mortality along with climate drivers in a series of new and established > 1ha forest plots. I am working to assimilate this collection of forest demographic and ecological data is being assimilated into Ecosystem Demography 2.2 (ED2) model to produce improved process-based predictions of regional vulnerability of forest biodiversity to the combined risks of increasing drought and growing season length.
This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under award no. #1318164. Collaborators include Mike Dietze, Jim Clark, Alan Gelfand, Andy Finley, Sean McMahon, Jackie Mohan, and Maria Uriarte.
I am also working on a project using RADAR remote sensing (PALSAR) data to estimate biomass in a chronosequence of forest disturbances throughout eastern North America. This project will improve our understanding of forest responses to disturbance by providing estimates of biomass that are independent from existing disturbance detection methods using optical remote sensing data.