New paper in Nature Communications
This epic combines strong theory with causal inference to isolate the effect of climate change on infectious tree disease range shifts. The range shift was asymmetric due to complex, abiotic-biotic interactions that varied in strength and direction across an aridity gradient. To describe these complex interactions, we used a stable isotope analysis and long-term observational field data. Check the study out here!
Research in the news!
The New York Times recently interviewed me about the recent fires in Sequoia National Park, where I’ve spent the past seven years conducting research.
Guest on the podcast Water Talk!
I was invited to record a podcast on Water Talk! It was so much fun chatting with the wonderful hosts, Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns, and Sam Sandoval, about my research in the Sierra Nevada. We covered a lot of ground from drought-disease interactions, to bark beetles and climate change, to processing the loss of millions of trees during extreme events. Check out the episode and the many other fascinating guests at Water Talk!
Research Brief for CalFire
Sara Winsemius from UC Davis wrote a really clear and concise research brief on my recent paper in Ecosphere. She highlights the concerning decline of sugar pine in the southern Sierra, the spread of white pine blister rust disease into higher elevation white pines, and the importance of understanding multiple biotic and abiotic factors that shape forests under climate change.
The forest understory is often the most diverse and under-appreciated forest layer. Should we conserve this undervalued source of biodiversity? I recently published a paper describing the long-term impacts of three commonly applied fuel treatments and patch cuts (small clearcuts) on understory species. We found fuel treatments increased introduced species in the mid-term, though patch cuts were associated with much higher levels of invasion (e.g., > 100% cover in some sites). This study helped identify win-win forest treatment outcomes that can support management goals aimed at reducing high severity fire and sustaining forest biodiversity. PDF
Third chapter of my dissertation on the compounding effects of white pine blister rust, bark beetles, and wildfire was finally published! It’s open access, so anyone can read it here.
“New evidence from over 4,600 studies calls into question the universal application of critical threshold values, or tipping points, along gradients of environmental stress. Identifying never-to-exceed environmental targets may prove elusive for environmental policy and management.”
Class of 2019 Smith Fellows!
I am honored to join the amazing Smith Fellows 2019 cohort. This fall, I am heading to UC Davis and will work with Andrew Latimer, Connie Millar and Phil van Mantgem on whitebark pine research and conservation.
See more about the project here.
We had an out-of-this-time super bloom in Southern California this year. I finally got a glimpse of what John Muir wrote about years ago before the invasive grasses outcompeted our native forbs.
My writing piece on last summer’s research was selected and featured by the UC Berkeley Graduate Division. See the full story here!
Our paper was published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution. We discuss the importance of considering novel elements and ecosystems in resilience-based management.
Novelty is a double-edged sword.
Some novelty is critical for long-term ecosystem resilience, while novelty can also lead to undesirable outcomes, including a reduction of biodiversity and other ecosystem services.
Identifying how we embrace or reject novelty in natural resource management is becoming increasingly important in an era of global change.
CNR press release here.