My interests are in ecosystem ecology. I use remote-sensing to map vegetation characteristics such as cover, biomass, and functional-type aggregations. Then I study their patterns in relation to the environment. I like to explore how ecological relationships change across spatial scales from regional to continental. My PhD research at Colorado State University focused on woody vegetation in African savannas. Currently, I am working with Dr. Brian Beckage on the temporal and spatial dynamics of tropical hardwood hammocks within pine savannas in the Everglades National Park, Florida. My objective is to study the interactions between pines and hardwoods mediated by fire, flooding and frost. There is a need for quantitative information on these dynamics. For this purpose, I use aerial photographs acquired in the last 50 years to assess hardwood hammocks ‘ spatial extent and model temporal variation as a function of environmental factors.
I am broadly interested in plant systematics, evolution and development. My research is centred on understanding how phenotypic diversity arises through growth, the radiation of angiosperms (e.g. grasses) to freezing environments and whether/how gene/genome duplication drives plant diversification. I am currently working with Dr. Jill Preston on understanding the developmental and genetic basis of the evolution of sympetaly (i.e. union of petals), using Petunia x hybrida (Solanales) and Ericales as model organisms. I also have strong interests in mints and their relatives, and the roles of hybridization and polyploidization in plant radiation.