UC Davis Plant SciencesAndrew Latimer Lab


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Fall 2016

Our paper on California tree mortality patterns during the recent drought will appear soon in Ecology Letters. The research team included Derek Young, lab alum Jens Stevens, and Mason Earles, as well as forest service collaborators Amy Jirka, Adam Ellis and Jeffrey Moore.

Derek, Andrew, and Kevin Welch submitted a proposal on to the Joint Fire Science Program on optimizing tree planting treatments in severely burned forest patches in the Sierra Nevada.

Summer 2016

Andrew gave a talk on California tree mortality at the University of Zürich's Global Change and Biodiversity Research Program annual meeting; and a talk on multispecies distribution modeling at the annual meeting of International Society of Bayesian Analysis.

Former postdoc Melis Akman, with Jane Carlson and Andrew, submitted a full proposal to NSF's Evolutionary Processes Cluster, on the causes and consequences of "plasticity landscapes" -- spatial patterns of variation in phenotypic plasticty. Fingers crossed.

Spring 2016

Marina LaForgia co-organized a symposium on Non-Academic Careers in Conservation.

Stella Copeland's paper synthesizing plant community responses to California's historic drought, based on our NSF RAPID grant to survey drought effects, will appear later this year in Ecological Monographs.

Allie Weill led the Kids into Discovering Science (KiDS) program at Lower Lake Elementary school, which included classroom teaching about ecology and evolution, a hands-on experiment, and a field trip to McLaughlin UC Natural Reserve.

Melis Akman is moving on to work with Ben Blackman at UC Berkeley on the genomics of domestication in sunflowers using ancient DNA while she continues to work with her existing network of collaborators on other things including submergence tolerance and the evolution and functional basis of plasticity.

Wildflowers are blooming spectacularly in many of last summer's burned oak woodlands, savannahs and grasslands. Last year's fires cleared thatch and stimulated germination, and this years rains have made things intensely green. Will this drought relief lead to a full rebound in plant diversity? So far, despite beautiful displays, the answer appears to be "no, or at least, not yet." "Post-fire moonscape" in Cache Creek Wilderness area burned by last summer's Rocky Fire:

Winter 2016

An NCEAS working group Andrew was involved in last year published this paper: "A global remote sensing mission to detect and predict plant functional biodiversity change" Nature Plants

Katie Stuble joined the lab for a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Institute for the Study of Ecological and Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI). She'll work on a meta-analysis of biotic community shifts at UC Natural Reserves, and be co-advised by Laurel Fox.

Fall 2015

Our rain exclusion/ water addition experiment with Susan Harrison and Elise Gornish at McLaughlin Natural Reserve is up and running. We'll test how germination, survival and fitness responds of grassland plants respond to drought (rainout shelters) and mitigation of drought (watering).

Melis Akman's paper "Transcriptome sequencing reveals population differentiation in gene expression linked to functional traits and environmental gradients in South African shrub Protea repens" is out in New Phytologist

Stebbins Cold Canyon UC Reserve after the Wragg Fire:

What we're doing

Our group studies how environmental variation affects plant communities, populations, species and lineages. We are especially interested in how plants respond to change -- rapid major disturbance such as fire, as well as more gradual changes in climate. At the shortest time scales, we are focusing on how communities and populations respond to drought and fire, and how invasive species respond to novel habitat. Over longer time scales, we examine local adaptation to gradients in climatic conditions and to variability in those conditions. At the longest time scales, we are also interested in how lineages change as they encounter novel conditions and diversify. Much of our work involves fire, since this plays such a major role in the ecology and evolution of Mediterranean climate floras and in local land management here in California. Our research on the interactions among fire, vegetation, and climate has direct application to forest management in an era of climate and land use change.

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