Our lab investigates the forces enabling the maintenance, and governing the distribution, of biological diversity. Specifically, we seek to understand how climate, dispersal limitations and biotic interactions affect historical and contemporary patterns in the distribution of species and structure of communities. We also study how species respond to rapid and ongoing climate change, with a particular focus on genetic and population responses at northern range limits. Finally, we are interested in the importance of preserving biological diversity in order to insure the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems.
Forest ecosystems cover 30% of the world’s land surface, but historically covered as much as 50%. By storing 80% of the global plant carbon pool, forest ecosystems play a central role in regulating global climate. Boreal forests alone cover 11%
With rapid climate change, we expect species to shift their geographic distribution. Possible future scenarios include geographic range expansion, range contractions as well as local extirpation and species-wide extinctions. Which of these scenarios is more likely will vary among species,
Biological invasions are a leading cause of ecosystem changes worldwide and many of these changes go unoticed. Specifically, the invasion of exotic plant species is a global phenomenon which is significanlty altering native plant diversity and ecosystem function . Invasive
Ecological and hydrological perturbations resulting from climate change and affecting northern ecosystems have become increasingly evident. In particular, climate change could affect the functioning of peatland ecosystems, a dominant feature of the landscape in eastern Canadian North. Peatlands play central