My research focuses on population and community ecology and I am particularly interested in the dynamics of biological invasions and plant-herbivore interactions. Most of my projects emphasize the use of experiments in the field and have a strong plant focus – although insects, mammals and pathogens are often involved as well. In addition, much of my work has an applied emphasis and strives to provide science-based insights about the management and restoration of human-impacted landscapes.
My current research focuses primarily on a series of long-term studies that explore the following:
- the importance of mammalian herbivory, plant facilitation and environmental stress as forces structuring coastal plant communities;
- the impacts of cattle grazing on invaded grassland communities and endangered butterflies;
- consequences of tule elk re-introduction for plant invasions and community composition in coastal grasslands;
- deer and small mammals as mediators of oak recruitment and regeneration;
- the role of soil disturbances by feral pigs as drivers of plant invasion; and
- biotic and abiotic factors that drive the spread of an exotic forest pathogen (Phytophthora ramorum) that causes Sudden Oak Death.
I have an active group of graduate students working with me on research projects in ecology, conservation biology and restoration ecology – and am always on the look-out for bright, motivated individuals who want to join our group (see the link titled "Prospective Students" on the left-hand menu bar for more details).