Who's in the lab

Elizabeth M Wolkovich

Associate Professor of Forest & Conservation Sciences

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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. .

Geoffrey Legault

Postdoctoral Fellow 

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Geoff is a theoretical ecologist interested in a variety of topics in population biology, community ecology, and physiology. During his Ph.D. (University of Colorado at Boulder) he studied the impacts of stochasticity on coexistence and spatio-temporal range dynamics. He then worked with Joel Kingsolver (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) developing mechanistic models of insect growth and development. You can read more about his research here: https://geoffreylegault.org/.

Catherine Chamberlain

Graduate Student

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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.

Daniel Buonaiuto

Graduate Student

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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.

Deirdre Loughnan

Graduate Student

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I am interested in how communities are shaped by variation in abiotic and biotic environments and using functional traits to identify the drivers of species coexistence and performance. In completing my Master's degree at UBC, I used functional traits to study the biogeography of plant-insect herbivore interactions on Garry oak across its latitudinal range. Working in the interior forests of BC, my doctoral research will focus on the relationship between and relative importance of functional traits and plant phenology as drivers of plant performance under our changing climate.

Darwin Sodhi

Graduate Student

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I am interested in understanding how plant communities are assembled, and how this assembly is affected by anthropogenic factors. In 2018, I graduated from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My thesis investigated the impact of the invasive vine Vincetoxicum rossicum on the functional diversity of meadow and understory habitats. My current interests are in exploring how climate change alters plant communities, and how this could impact how communities are assembled in the future.

Mira Garner

Graduate Student

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I am a master’s student interested in understanding how climate change is shaping plant communities and developing strategies for conservation and restoration. My master’s research seeks to understand how climate change is affecting wine grape phenology and consequently altering the suitability of specific varieties to their current growth regions. Prior to graduate school, I worked at the Morton Arboretum on projects that studied: the population genetics of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and big red sage (Salvia pentstemonoides), and the effect of phylogenetic diversity on prairie restorations.

Kelley Slimon

Undergraduate researcher (Work-Learn International)

I am an undergrad assistant currently studying Environmental Science with a concentration in ecology and conservation at the University of British Columbia. I am personally interested in botany and plant ecology in the context of climate change. I have joined the Temporal Ecology Lab working on collecting trait data and identifying plants to be used to study phenology and plant performance with climate change.

Mika Yasutake

Undergraduate researcher (NSERC USRA)

I am currently working on a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Management as part of the B+MM Program at the University of British Columbia. While completing my degree, I’ve joined the Temporal Ecology Lab as an undergraduate research assistant helping to collect, process and understand phenological data. Through this experience, I aim to better understand the process of science as well as how it may be translated into policy, as I hope to apply it to my interest of science communication in the future.

Ailene Ettinger

Former Postdoctoral Fellow -- Current Collaborator

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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.

Ignacio Morales-Castilla

Former Research Associate -- Current Collaborator

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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. 

Madisynn Flesner

RMI Phenology Technician

Madisynn is finishing her undergraduate degree at UC-Davis in 2019 and is the current phenology technician at RMI. 

Molly Clemens

Honorary Graduate Student

Molly is in her third year of her SDSU/UC-Davis PhD program and helped coordinate phenological observations at RMI for the 2018 season. In addition to her interest in phenology she is also studying Vitis physiology and genetics (and spent spring 2019 in Bordeaux!).

Temporal Ecology Lab blog
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