Research Areas: 
Ecology of neotropical pioneers

Over the last ten years we have been examining how seed and seedling characteristics influence recruitment success, habitat requirements, and competitive interactions among pioneer species on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Our current work concerns seed germination ecology, determinants of seed persistence in the soil, and plant-fungal interactions. Most recently we have received NSF funding to explore how seed dormancy characteristics are related to seed chemical and physical defenses and seed infection from mutualistic, pathogenic and saprobic fungi. More information is available about this project here: tropicalseeds.org . This is a continuing collaboration with Betsy Arnold (University of Arizona). We are also excited to start working with Adam Davis (USDA Global Change and Photosynthesis Research) and Camilo Zalamea, our project post-doc. In addition, we are also exploring how tropical pioneer tree distributions are affected by soil nutrient availability using seedling growth experiments under greenhouse conditions.

Dept. of Plant Biology School of Integrative Biology
Program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology University of Illinois