Changes in biodiversity through space and time constitute some of the most striking features of life on earth and have broad implications for human health, the production of renewable resources, and global climate regulation. Yet human activities are altering biodiversity through changes to environmental conditions such as climate, disturbance, habitat fragmentation, and productivity. Our research group seeks to understand patterns of biodiversity at multiple scales and why changes in biodiversity emerge through the interplay of fundamental processes that add species (speciation & dispersal) or limit species membership (ecological drift & niche selection) in ecological communities. We explore this question using a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates concepts from community ecology, biogeography and evolutionary biology, and ecophysiology. Our empirical studies combine field experiments, large-scale and long-term observations, ecological modeling, and synthesis of biodiversity data from a wide range of plant communities spanning temperate and tropical ecosystems. We focus on the following questions:
Community Assembly from
Local to Global Scales
How do communities assemble across biodiversity gradients?
Eco-Evolutionary Assembly of Hyperdiverse Biotas
How do species-rich regions and communities assemble?
Biotic Interactions & Environmental Change
Why does environmental change alter biotic interactions and ecological networks?