Research Themes

Spatial ecology lab publications

Invasive species biogeography

Equilibrium examples

Invasive and alien plants are substantially more widespread across the U.S. than native plants (source)

Using U.S. species as our model system, we are exploring general questions about invasive species distribution, including looking at abundance patterns, range infilling and equilibrium, and relationships to anthropogenic disturbance.

Plant invasion and fire ecology

Spatial expansion of fire in the U.S. due to human ignitions (source)

Non-native, invasive grasses have long been linked to alterations in fire cycles. But, our paper in collaboration with lead author Jennifer Balch was the first to demonstrate these effects at a regional scale. Our ongoing collaborative work has investigated links between human land use and ignitions, and demonstrated the human ignitions profoundly expand the spatial and seasonal extents of fire in the continental U.S.

Global change and plant invasion risk

Hotspots of plant invasion risk Hotspots of plant invasion risk by 2100 in the U.S. (source)

We use species distribution modeling to project how invasive plant habitat could shift with climate change. We have developed plant distribution models for several common invaders in the United States, including cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), yellow starthistle (Centaurea solstitialis), leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) (left), kudzu (Pueraria montata) and cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) . In collaboration with lead author Jenica Allen, we also analyzed risk collectively from 896 invasive plants in the U.S.