I am a faculty member
in the Institute of Arctic Biology and the Department of Biology
and Wildlife and principal investigator of the Bonanza Creek Long-Term
Ecological Research (LTER) program. My background is in plant
physiological ecology and ecosystem ecology, with current interests
in the resilience of social-ecological systems.
My LTER research addresses the controls over successional changes
in vegetation and nutrient cycling. In particular, I am interested
in the mechanisms of resilience of a given successional trajectory
(e.g., as a result of post-fire seed supply) and the triggers
for change (e.g., establishment of new species under certain circumstances).
This involves studies of tree growth and mortality, and the effects
of vegetation on nutrient cycling. My nutrient-cycling studies
focus on the effects of vegetation and environment on plant-microbial
interactions, with the notion that plant traits strongly determine
many of the ecological properties of ecosystems.
In addition to my work in LTER, I direct a graduate educational
program in Resilience and Adaptation (http://www.uaf.edu/rap/)
and extend my interests in post-fire succession to human-fire
interactions in the boreal forest. The central focus of my research
is the study of the resilience of regional systems in the face
of directional changes in climate, economics, and culture. I believe
this is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity: How
do we sustain the desirable features of Earth's ecosystems and
society at a time of rapid changes in all of the major forces
that govern their properties? This requires an understanding of
the mechanisms that tend to maintain the system in its current
state vs. factors that cause changes to a new state. It also requires
an integration of natural and social sciences because many of
the drivers of change involve social-ecological interactions.
Please visit my Web