Our lab focuses on the role biodiversity plays in structuring and governing ecological systems. The scientific approach is broadly based and employs a combination of theory, empirical and experimental analysis that requires a highly collaborative research program. Major breakthroughs in ecological understanding require that ecologists separated by traditional scientific divisions begin to communicate. Many of the systems that ecologists seek to understand do not strictly obey scientific boundaries (e.g., aboveground versus belowground, aquatic versus terrestrial), while many of the phenomena of interest simultaneously merge population, community and ecosystem processes (now all largely disparate areas of ecological research). Taken together, our lab seeks to address three major scientific questions:
- What is the structure that underlies the biotic and abiotic components of ecosystems?;
- Does this structure influence the stability, function and maintenance of diverse assemblages of species? and;
- Does this structure influence the way we manage biological resources?
Developing the answers to these important questions places society in a position to interpret how large-scale human perturbations impact the biodiversity and function of ecological systems. People in this lab range from being very mathematical to very field oriented; however, all overlap in that they are interested in developing conceptual advances in ecology.