Who's in the lab
Elizabeth M Wolkovich
Associate Professor of Forest & Conservation Sciences
I am interested in how communities assemble and dis-assemble with global change. I draw on theory from temporal community ecology with perspectives from population and ecosystem ecology, evolutionary biology, and climatology. Though I tend to address fundamental questions with hypotheses informed by theory and models my research generally has strong applied angles. In particular much of my work to date has examined the causes and consequences of plant invasions and the effects of climate change on the temporal assembly of plant communities. .
As a plant ecologist and conservation biologist, I am fascinated with the vast diversity of plants on Earth and how they interact with their environment and other organisms. I am particularly interested in how climate change, urbanization, and other anthropogenic factors affect plant communities. Understanding anthropogenic impacts to plants is compelling to me for two main reasons: 1) humans exert a large and growing influence on Earth’s biota, and 2) we can simultaneously learn about their basic ecology and address applied problems in conservation biology and restoration.
Former Research Associate -- Current Collaborator
Why biodiversity is distributed on Earth as it does? What is the signature of historical and evolutionary processes on current diversity patterns? Can we predict the future of biodiversity in a changing world? These are among the central questions in which my research program focuses. Specifically, it aims to: (1) disentangle the relative roles of evolution and ecology as drivers of community structure, (2) understanding how different aspects of the species' niches are evolutionarily conserved, (3) enhancing models of biotic interactions and/or species distributions by incorporating phylogenetic, functional and geographic information.
I am a plant ecologist interested in understanding how anthropogenic climate change impacts plant communities. In November 2015, I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation. For my dissertation, I investigated the vegetation composition of grazing lawns along an anthropogenic impact and grazing pressure gradient at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. I would like to continue focusing my research efforts on plant community composition and how temperature, precipitation, and photoperiod affect plant phenology.
I am interested in how plant communities are responding to global change, and how these responses are affecting the composition and function of North American ecosystems. In the summer of 2016, I completed my master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment where my thesis work examined the reproductive ecology of the woodland sedge, Carex pensylvanica, as applied to native plant production and ecology restoration. My current research interest is in plant phenology, with a particular focus on expanding phenology research to include a greater diversity of plant taxa, and investigating how phenological characteristics covary with other life history traits.
RMI Phenology Observations Coordinator
Molly is in the second year of her SDSU/UC-Davis PhD program and coordinating phenological observations at RMI for the 2018 season. In addition to her interest in phenology she is also studying Vitis physiology and genetics and is headed to Bordeaux in January 2018.