Mathias Symposium 2010

Bodega Marine Laboratory/Reserve
February 26-28, 2010

2010 Lecturers

Elsa Cleland

Elsa Cleland
Assistant Professor of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, UC San Diego PhD Stanford University

Global environmental changes, such as nitrogen deposition, elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide and shifting precipitation, are altering the availability of basic resources plants need for growth. These changes, along with other factors such as invasive species and disturbance, may be shifting the species composition of ecosystems.

It isn’t yet clear why some species increase in abundance, and others decrease, in response to environmental changes. My lab focus is at this dynamic intersection of plant community ecology and ecosystem ecology. Our research seeks to ask fundamental questions about ecosystem structure and function, while contributing to a greater understanding of pressing environmental problems.

Paul Fine

Paul Fine
Assistant Professor of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley PhD University of Utah

My research investigates the origin and maintenance of Amazonian rain forest tree diversity. I am especially interested in the role that biotic interactions and environmental heterogeneity play in the morphological, functional, and genetic diversity of tropical trees, and how these factors influence the distribution and speciation of plants. An ideal study system is the endemic flora found on the many white-sand forests that are widely dispersed in patches throughout the Amazon basin.

These ancient white-sand deposits constitute habitat islands, surrounded by other terra-firme forests on more fertile soils that harbor edaphic-specialist tree species that are often closely related to their congeners on neighboring soil types. The main thrust of my research is to understand the evolution and maintenance of edaphic specialization by trees to these divergent soil types, and the role of herbivores in this process.