Sagebrush Steppe Restoration
Climate change, historical disturbance, and invasion by obnoxious weeds have led to serious challenges in the restoration of wildland ecosystems. Plant population studies serve as a key to understanding several ecosystem processes. Variability in plant stress tolerance and persistence mechanisms,can directly translate into demographic patterns and changes in species composition. This is achieved through variable plant development, survival strategies, mortality risks, and physiological and plastic behavior. Broadly, I am interested in understanding how variation in physiological traits can determine variation in survival and success of species and /or populations.
I am working with my co-advisor, Tom Jones of the USDA-ARS, to answer specific questions such as:
- Which stages in the life cycle of plants are most vulnerable to environmental stresses?
- Which physiological traits can best explain plant’s stress tolerance capabilities?
- Will more plastic or more homeostatic species and/or populations be more favored in a climate change scenario?
- Do stress tolerance mechanisms differ widely among populations and species and how can this information help us to make intelligent choices in a broader landscape of restoration?