I am an early career ecologist interested in examining the ties between ecosystem functioning and biodiversity in arctic and alpine environments. I am interested in pursuing questions such as what aspects of diversity contribute to ecosystem functioning in northern and high altitude environments, and what consequences does this have for biodiversity in light of climate change? With current rates of extinction there is a pressing need to understand how and why diversity is important. I am particularly interested in alternate forms of the traditional diversity, species richness. Tying in functional information (the characteristics of species important to their establishment in an environment) as well as phylogenetic information (the evolutionary relationships between species) can provide a different perspective on these issues, and hopefully allow us to better model the ways in which communities form both today and into the future.
In 2013 I completed my masters degree at McGill University in the Department of Biology, supervised by Dr. Jonathan Davies. In my research I assessed the linkages between species, phylogenetic and functional lichen beta diversity (turnover) across environmental gradients. I also evaluated the relative importance of both abiotic and biotic factors in determining biomass in moss communities using a phylogenetic approach. Cryptogams (lichen and moss) are incredibly important in subarctic ecosystems as essential components in the carbon, nitrogen and hydrological cycles. These species are relatively understudied as compared to their vascular counterparts, and I documented both their functional and phylogenetic structure as a novel contribution to community ecology.
January 2014 I started as a PhD Fellow at the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen, where I will continue my research on traits and phylogenetics in plant species across elevational gradients. I use both an experimental framework as well as empirical data across scales to assess the importance of biotic interactions in determining species ranges, community structure and ecosystem functioning. I have established a long-term experiment in the Swiss alps in order to address these questions. I also work on forest diversity and growth using the Norwegian National Forest Inventory.