As an ecologist, I use physiological and biochemical approaches to investigate climate-driven processes in tree ecology. But, rather than manipulating the climate that trees experience, I use naturally occurring gradients in environmental conditions (temperature, precipitation, altitude, and urbanization) to study the growth of mature trees. I use these data to address applied and theoretical questions at the forefront of global change biology.
Are trees growing in warmer sites better or worse at responding to increasing temperatures?
How does stress affect tree growth along an urban-rural gradient?
Do co-occurring tree species differ in resource storage as elevation increases?
Under the umbrella of tree ecology, my research methods are diverse; I study resource storage and allocation strategies, defense against herbivores and pathogens, and gas exchange, isoprene emission, and water relations. This cross disciplinary research has taken me from monitoring bark beetle outbreaks in sub-alpine forests in the Rocky Mountains to a investigating tree resistance to beetle-vectored fungi in Norway, and from measuring leaf-level photosynthesis and isoprene emission of urban street trees in Texas to studying the role of temperature along an urban gradient in North Carolina.