1. Physiological response of high elevation pines to multiple stresses and implications on population resiliency in a changing climate.2. Ecological genetics of Pinus aristata: geographic patterns in population structure and adaptive traits.3. Development of a population genetic infection model for high elevation five-needle pines to evaluate efficacy of management strategies to sustain pine population in the presence of a non-native pathogen..4. Identification and characterization of white pine blister rust disease resistance mechanisms and frequencies in Pinus flexilis, P. aristata and P. longaeva.5. Regeneration and colonization dynamics of high elevation five-needle pines. 6. Ecological and economic trade-offs of proactive vs reactive management strategies in high elevation pine ecosystems impacted or threatened by an invasive non-native disease (white pine blister rust)7. Development of management strategies to sustain ecosystem function under multiple stresses.
My research interests are to continue to provide a solid scientific foundation for proactive management to facilitate a shift from crisis management of natural resources to proactive management for sustained ecosystem function and resiliency. I want to continue to use an integrated interdisciplinary approach to further the scientific knowledge and inform land managers.
Our natural ecosystems are being challenged by new and interactive stresses more and more as we move into a global economy and continue to transport organisms into new ecosystems, pollute the atmosphere and alter land use. The old paradigm of crisis management in which no action is taken until ecosystems are impaired and then restoration efforts are initiated will not ensure ecosystems sustainability into the future under multiple novel stresses. There is a need for development of new management approaches that provide early intervention to increase ecosystem resiliency before ecosystem function is compromised. A small investmnet now to increase ecosystem resiliency will save funds later and sustain delivery of ecosystem services. The high elevation pine ecosystems are a perfect system to promote this change in management approach because these ecosystems are already showing impacts of non-native invasives, elevated insect outbreaks caused by climate warming and direct growth effects from global changes in the physical and chemical climate. There are still ecosystems that have not been impacted heavily and therefore opportunity to alter the trajectory of those healthy but threatened ecosystems to one that retain sustainability in the future. We know from our research that people value and are willing to pay to see that the high elevation pines persist on the landscape for future generations of people.
1. Participated in some of the first studies that quantified the effects of air pollution on tree and crop growth and physiology and contributed to refinement of predicting impacts from pollutant uptake rather than pollutant exposure. Applied this prospective to predict pollutant loadings that could impact plants in Class 1 Wilderness areas for use in evaluation of permits for new pollutant sources. 2. Quantifies the ecological significance of variable leaf longevity on tree carbon gain and demonstrated the interactions of physiological traits, light capture and crown architecture.3. Quantified the effects of environmental gradients on plant physiological traits among species with different ecological amplitudes to assess adaptive significance.4. Quantified the spatial pattern of colonization of large stand replacing burns in P. ponderosa, P. flexilis, P. albicaulis. and P. aristata ecosystems. Characterizes the preferred regeneration sites for each species.