I am a doctoral student in global
change ecology at the University of California at Berkeley. My
primary reserch interests include the causes and consequences of global
climate change, the spread of invasive species, biodiversity loss, plant
eco-physiology, and climate change policy.
I have two homes on campus:
Energy and Resources Group (ERG): This is my home department.
This is an interdisciplinary program composed of a stimulating group
of faculty and students looking at a broad set of environmental issues
that range from resource extraction to the implications of natural resource
use. While maintaining the intellectual rigor of an academic department,
this group is truly unique in its problem-driven, rather than discipline-oriented
approach to uncovering environmental insights and solutions.
Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management
(ESPM) in the College
of Natural Resources: Because I am primarily an ecologist,
I also spend much of my time interacting with faculty and students
from this department. My primary advisor, Dr.
John Harte, has a joint appointment between ERG and ESPM, Harte
Lab Web Site. John's main research interests include
ecosystem-climate interactions and feedbacks, biodiversity conservation,
biogeochemical cycling, macro-ecology and environmental modeling.
Much of his global change research in the past 15 years has
focused around a meadow warming experiment at the Rocky
Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL), in Gothic, Colorado.
I also work closely with Dr.
Dennis Baldocchi and members of his lab group from
the department of ESPM. Dennis is a biometeorologist.
His research focuses on trace gas and energy fluxes between
the biosphere and atmosphere. Dennis has two Ameriflux sites
in California's Central Valley, where he is using the eddy covariance
method to measure trace grass exchange in an oak savannah and
an annual grassland: Baldocchi
Lab Home Page. He will also begin a methane flux observational
study in California's San Joaquin Delta later this year.
The objective of my thesis research is to explore the impacts
of changes in California grassland species on global climate
change. State-wide, grassland ecosystems in California have
changed dramatically since pre-European settlement, from primarily
native perennial grasses to dominance by annual grasses from
Mediterranean Europe. We seek to understand how this grassland
shift has affected climate change via changes in ecosystem carbon
storage and flux and changes in the surface energy balance and
To address these
questions, we have set up a comparitive observational study
at two locations
in Marin County, California, where native perennial and
exotic annual grasses grow in relative proximity on the same
soils and slopes. One site is in the Golden Gate National Recreation
Area (GGNRA) in the headlands above Tennessee Valley. The second
is at the Bolinas
we have collected two years of data documenting above and belowground
plant productivity and conducted litter and root decomposition
experiments in plots in each grass community. Our
aim is to uncover the mechanisms that govern differences in
carbon storage and cycling between native perennial and exotic
annual grass communities. In each plot, we also measure soil
temperature and soil moisture at several depths and at the ground
Tennessee Valley field site, we have also been measuring the
components of the surface energy balance and several additional
micro-meteorological processes in each grass community. Over
the last year and a half, we have documented these processes
using both the surface renewal and the eddy covariance methods.
Last Updated ~ January 9, 2006