Plant-Fungal Interactions

I am particularly fascinated by the relationships between plants and fungi. I am interested in coming to a greater understanding of how plant-fungal relationships establish in nature, and how they play a role in the overall functional ecology of ecosystems.

Some of my interests lie in the following broad topics:

1. Climactic, latitudinal, and elevational gradients in mycorrhizal relationships. 

2. The physiological ecology of mycoheterotrophic plants.

3. The invasion of fungal pathogens in forest ecosystems, and the processes that drive invasions. 



Vegetation Dynamics in Coastal Dunes

I am interested in the community ecology and geomorphology of coastal sand dunes. My interests lie in some of the following areas:

  1. The mechanisms important to community structure and function at local and regional spatial scales in dune ecosystems.

  2. Dune and beach sensitivity to environmental changes such as sea level rise, climate change, and variation in storm severity.

  3. How species invasions dramatically alter the morphology, species diversity, and ecosystem services of coastal dunes.


Shifts in Ecological Dynamics in a Changing World

One core theme throughout my research interests is how anthropogenic change influences ecological processes. Most of my interests in this realm of study are related to changes in vegetation dynamics, such as:

1. How spatial shifts in vegetation dynamics could potentially alter Carbon and Nitrogen cycling and ecosystem functioning.

2. The demographic consequences of changes in phenology. 

Building Bridges: Connecting Research, Education, and Practice

One strong element to much of the work I do relates to how we can put research into practice. Through education programs, and communication, to applied restoration projects, I think it is important to get your hands dirty and let others know what is going on. Research can often me a hierarchical field in which not all new findings are communicated well in the public eye. I think it is important to seek ways in which others can be informed on what is going on in the scientific community, while also seeking to propose ways we can all be involved in conservation and restoration activities. From the simplest things like planting native shrubs on your property, to volunteering once a month planting trees, it is easy to get involved and make a difference. While there is no changing the world we live in, we can at least change the way in which we interact with it.

Check out this link to see other ways you can get involved!