Humans have dramatically changed Earth's lands, waters and atmosphere. I study how these changes impact ecosystems using a combination of field studies, massive biodiversity databases and satellite measurements. I work mainly on plants because these are the foundations of most ecosystems, but I am also interested in mammals and birds. I also try to understand long time-periods to get a better perspective on current changes. For example, a number of my projects have looked at climate change since the Last Glacial Maximum (21,000 years ago), or patterns of plant evolution over tens of millions of years. Finally, because I am often working on complex and large datasets, my work often involves collaborations with computer scientists to develop improved analytical algorithms.
Sharing of data and analytical code is crucial to the advancement of ecology, as with many branches of science. I contribute to several efforts to compile plant distribution data (sPlot, BIEN) and functional trait data (TRY). I also develop and release new code (particularly in the R language) for ecological and evolutionary analyses.
B.A. in Biology: Carleton College
Ph.D. in Integrative Biology: University of California, Berkeley