Plant communities are complex systems shaped by numerous processes acting over various spatial and temporal scales. The interplay of interactions across these scales is fascinating. Further as plants are a major component of the global carbon cycle, these processes also have the potential to significantly buffer or accelerate the pace of climate change.
In attempts to understand how plant communities work, we move back and forth between empirical and theoretical studies. We build simple tractable models whose results can be clearly understood. We accompany these models with more realistic simulation models to validate that understanding and make quantitative predictions. And most importantly, we motivate, parameterize and test theoretical work with experiments and observations in the field.