Cross site synthesis

Ecosystems are being influenced by a diverse set of anthropogenic stressors such as global climate change and nitrogen deposition. Comparing data gathered from different experiments at multiple sites enables us to gain a more extensive understanding of how and when these stressors affect different ecosystems.

I am involved on several projects that synthesize data collected from plant communities across the United States, including several Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. Questions include: How does precipitation variability affect species richness, turnover and composition? Why are some communities more sensitive to increases in interannual precipitation variability than others? Do species interactions buffer communities properties, such as biomass production, to climate variability?

I also work with an NCEAS team that is trying to make it easier for other people to do these types of syntheses. We developed and maintain a user-friendly R package to characterize community change over time. It is published on CRAN, the latest version and issue tracker are on GitHub.