I study the interactive effects of multiple stressors on forest ecosystem functioning. Specifically, how fire disturbance mediates forest resistance and resilience to drought stress.

I’m interested in the following questions:

  • Does fire-induced resprouting in trees provide short-term increased resistance to drought stress?
  • Do fire-induced reductions in stand density and soil moisture demand influence a tree’s long-term resistance and resilience to drought stress?
  • How does forest functional trait composition respond to varying fire regimes and what is the effect of this shift in functional traits on forest resistance to drought stress?
  • Does fire-induced vegetation change also alter the availability and composition of mycorrhizal symbionts critical for resource uptake in trees?

I am currently working on several projects involving how populations of Quercus spp. respond to the multiple stressors of fire and drought, including:

  • A field experiment where we expose resprouting and control Q. alba seedlings to an artificial drought to compare their physiological response to stress
  • A dendrochronology study where we compare historical patterns of drought stress in adult Quercus growing in unburned and burned treatments of a 60-yr fire experiment.
  • A greenhouse experiment where Q. rubra seedlings were inoculated with field soils collected from sites with contrasting fire histories and exposed to contrasting watering treatments. We will compare the colonization by arbuscular v. ectomycorrhizal fungi across treatments and relate this back to seedling performance.

I am a student of Professor Jen Fraterrigo at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For more information about my research and teaching experience, please check out my CV,  ResearchGate and/or Google Scholar Profile.