Human Disturbance

Plants Response to Herbivory under Changing Climatic Context in the Tehachapi Mountains, CA.

How do simultaneous synergist, antagonistic, and additive interactions among multiple stressors shape understory plant communities? Do introduced ungulate herbivores "compensate" for declines in native species, or do they drive divergent responses? What are the relationships between herbivore pressure, drought, nutrient availability, and plant species richness?

Ph.D. Candidate
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Infectious Disease Ecology, Global Change Ecology

Watering Holes in Concentrating Parasites in Changing Climates at the Mpala Research Centre, Kenya.

Watering holes provide some of the most well-known examples of resource hotspots, and they are particularly likely to be affected by future climate changes and human development. A single watering hole can aggregate a wide array of animals in a small area; and, depending on the disease in question, may substantially magnify transmission of infectious agents. The project focuses on understanding how increases in disease risk at watering holes may vary among different wildlife species, particularly across a rainfall gradient and over rainfall seasons.

While hosts may aggregate more strongly at water sources in hot, arid climates, infective parasite stages may have limited survival under the harsh conditions of these environments. The ways in which these opposing forces shape parasite transmission at watering holes is likely to have substantial implications for wildlife, livestock, and even human health in arid lands that continue to grapple with the challenges of climate change.

Postdoctoral Researcher
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Infectious Disease Ecology, Global Change Ecology

Ecological Aftermath of Large-scale Disturbance from the Thomas Fire Scar and Montecito Debris Flow in Santa Barbara, CA. 

Research follows recovery patterns around local streams after the 2017-2018 Thomas Fire and subsequent Montecito Debris Flow. This project uses a broad range of field techniques to address questions about community-level response to disturbance. The work investigates how the fire and debris flow influenced invertebrate community structure and cross-habitat subsidies between streams and riparian zones. As fire regimes and weather patterns shift with the climate, understanding the community consequences of large-scale fires and other disturbances will be critical for managing and understanding habitats. 

Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology

Hastings Reserve Dam Removal on Finch Creek in the Sierras, California. 

Graduate students in the Young Lab are working with Jen Hunter at UC Hastings Reserve to help establish a stream monitoring protocol for Finch Creek, which will be undergoing a fish barrier removal in the summer of 2021. We are generally interested in the immediate and long-term impacts of barrier removal and the return of Steelhead to both the aquatic and terrestrial habitats.We are also excited about the opportunities this barrier removal at a UC Reserve will provide for citizen scientists and students to learn about aquatic subsidies to riparian zones and to get involved with ongoing monitoring.

Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology
Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology
Ph.D. Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Freshwater Ecology

Large Herbivore and Climate on Plant Functional Traits and Diversity in the Tehachapi Mountains, CA. 

Increases in herbivore density and changes in herbivore identity can have a profound effect on surrounding plant communities and ecosystem function, but these impacts are often context-dependent and are altered by factors such as climate and productivity.  Plant functional traits and functional diversity provide a tool to clarify how changes in climatic context and herbivore turnover interact to alter plant communities and can have important implications for the successful management of ecological functions.

Master's Student
(she/her/hers)
Community Ecology, Plant Biology