News

Winter 2020

  • Mike Koontz's paper is online in Ecology Letters. Using >1000 California wildfires, it evaluates whether vegetation heterogeneity is associated with lower fire severity (spoiler: yes). Data and code available here
  • Derek Young published a new paper in Ecosphere assessing the efficacy of existing Forest Service approaches to assisted gene flow. Also check out this recent paper with the Safford lab on post-drought forest regeneration. 

Fall 2019

  • English Prof Elizabeth Miller and Andrew were awarded a SHAPE grant to develop an interdisciplinary seminar on "Envisioning Climate Futures", which will link up with the musical performance Rising Tide at the Mondavi Center in S2021. 
  • We have new funding for wildfire-related research in the lab: The Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation is supporting research on rapid wildfire spread, and the University of California Office of the President is funding a large project to study health impacts of wildfire smoke, including our lab's work on mapping and modeling fuel loads.
  • Marina helped organize (again!) the annual Cal-IPC Syposium at UC Riverside.
  • Paige attended an Un-Conference in Boulder on future uses of NEON's data sets.
  • Derek traveled to Singapore as a Mistletoe Foundation Research Fellow to meet with people working on an agricultural startup firm.
  • Emily's project about how wildfire and climate change are affecting giant sequoias got some nice press in the SF Chronicle

Summer 2019

  • We are excited to welcome four new lab members this fall! We are dispersing around the world for much of the summer, but will soon converge again in Davis for what we expect will be a full and never-dull school year. Our new lab members: 
  • Joan Dudney, a Smith Postdoctoral Fellow and recent Berkeley grad, will base her ongoing whitebark pine demography and white pine blister rust research at Davis for 2019-2020
  • Nina Venuti will join the lab as a M.S. student, after wrapping up a bunch of projects on fisheries and plastics pollution at Sea Grant in San Diego
  • Emily Purvis will join the lab as a PhD student, after a hardworking summer studying impacts of drought and fire on giant sequoia groves
  • Quinn Sorenson will join us as a postdoctoral researcher who will collaborate on post-disturbance forest community responses with both Latimer and Safford lab groups
  • We are also happy to have several great field researchers with us briefly for the summer to work on the giant sequoia project: Hannah Weinberger, Ian Nilson, Abel Campos, Katie Russell. and Veronica Lourich. 

What we're doing

We study how plant populations and communities respond to change, including sudden, major disturbance such as fire and drought, as well as more gradual changes in climate. At the shortest time scales, we are focusing on how communities and populations respond to drought, fire, and competition. Over longer time scales, we study local adaptation to gradients in climatic conditions and to variability in those conditions. We collectively study all kinds of plants (forbs to forests), and things they interact with (beetles, pathogens, fungi, microbes, humans), and aim to learn by comparing the dynamics of different plant systems. We are excited about new tools, including using drone photography and machine learning, that may allow us to extend some of our research methods and ask questions at larger scales. But we stay true to the idea that the core role of scientists is to ask questions and try to answer them by collecting and analyzing data. We think and talk a lot these days about how we can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation in our multiple roles as researchers, teachers, and citizens.