Invasion in the tallgrass prairie: do close relatives help or hinder?
My research focuses on understanding invasion in restored tallgrass prairies, one of the most endangered ecosystems worldwide. I am part of a team working on a plot experiment at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL. Broadly, we are trying to understand how phylogenetic and functional diversity affect restoration outcomes in tallgrass prairies. My focus is disentangling the effects of these two types of diversity to develop meaningful recommendations to land managers and practitioners on how species composition can increase resistance to invasion. Research next summer will take place in the field with a small lab component. We will be putting out seed traps, collecting seed, tracking invasive species establishment and growth in each plot.