I am a PhD Candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at Cornell advised by Monica Geber. My research focuses on understanding how plants coexist in natural systems. I study how the indirect and direct interactions of flowering plants in the genus Clarkia affect their coexistence in the Kern River Canyon of southern California. Specifically, I work on quantifying the individual and population-level effects of pollinator sharing and spatial heterogeneity on Clarkia communities.
I will be joining the Dwyer and Mayfield Labs as a postdoc at the University of Queensland in 2020!
In this project, I estimate pollinator constancy and preference to understand how pollinator sharing affects Clarkia communities. An offshoot of this project has recently been recommended for DDIG funding from the NSF. With this funding, I will use molecular techniques to measure the pollen contents found on foraging bees I captured in 14 different Clarkia communities in 2014.
In 2015 and 2016, I experimentally tested the local-scale effects of Clarkia species richness and density on bee foraging behaviors. I found that bee pollinator constancy decreases with increasing plant species diversity in plant neighborhood, and bee visitation rates increased in response to more abundant floral neighborhoods.
The Clarkia system I work in presents a unique opportunity to understand the effects of spatial variation on plant coexistence. I am currently working with collaborators in the Eckhart lab to investigate how spatial heterogeneity affects where Clarkia occur in space, and if this affects their coexistence, through the lens of plant water-use strategies.
Pollinator Sharing and Coexistence
Using experimental data, I'm estimating the competitive interactions of the Clarkia I study to isolate the effects shared pollinators have on competition.