Tropical to temperate forest dynamics and their potential influences on plant performance strategies, a theory-data fusion approach

Forest dynamics, plant strategies, and inclusive theoretical ecology

We are starting an integrative research and educational outreach project to:
(1) study the differences and similarities in forest dynamics from the tropics to the temperate zone and
(2) predict the effects of these differences on dominant plant strategies and their diversity and
(3) to increase the integrative and inclusive nature of theoretical ecology.

We will tackle the first goal through an integration of data and simple models. We are collaborating with several PIs of ForestGeo long-term forest dynamics plots for this study. The forest dynamics modeling will build off the success of our tropical and temperate forest dynamics models, currently tested at one site, each (Barro Colorado Island Panama, Farrior et al. 2016 and Wind River, Washington USA, Francis et al. 2023, respectively).

We will use these models to forward hypotheses of the role of differences in forest dynamics across these biomes on differences in plant strategies and their diversity. Here we plan to use adaptive dynamics techniques to evaluate the role of differences in forest dynamics on predicted, competitive dominant, strategies. Data analyses here will follow those of Rüger et al. 2018 and will be dependent on ForestGEO sites as well are global trait databases.

And we will be developing and conducting classes and workshops on theoretical ecology for those who work in forest dynamics and beyond. Our goal is to improve the accessibility and utility of theoretical ecology to ecologists of all levels of comfort and experience with mathematics.

Join the team!

Postdoctoral position

Graduate student positions

This project is funded by an NSF CAREER award: DEB-2239483.
Project dates: June 1, 2023 - May 31, 2028.