Climate Change and Herbivory
My research program aims to understand how climate change will affect plant-herbivore interactions. Warming, for example, stimulates herbivore metabolic rates and, as a result, herbivore consumption of plants. Drought might make plants more or less susceptible to herbivory by changing plant nutritional quality (and depending on herbivore nutritional needs). I try to understand the ecological and evolutionary ramifications of altered herbivory patterns on plant and insect communities.
I am also interested in how climate change will affect community composition and ecosystem function, and to understand the physiological mechanisms underlying such changes. For example, I am interested in whether warming stimulates competition among plants and whether this strengthens or weakens the positive effects of biodiversity on ecosystem function. I am also interested in how nutrient enrichment disrupts plant below-ground interactions and whether these changes affect ecosystem function.