Kimberly La Pierre, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Dr. La Pierre is a community ecologist researching community and ecosystem responses to global change drivers. She completed her PhD at Yale University, studying the roles of nutrient availability, climate, and herbivory in driving grassland community composition and ecosystem function. As a postdoc at UC Berkeley, she studied how global change drivers affect mutualistic interactions in the legume-rhizobia system.
Meghan Avolio, Assistant Professor, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Avolio received her PhD from Yale University, where she explored the adaptability of the dominant tallgrass species Andropogon gerardii to increased precipitation variability. At the University of Utah she investigated plant community assembly in cultivated urban ecosystems. During a recently completed postdoc at SESYNC, she developed community change metrics for species rank abundance curves and synthesized data from 100+ global change experiments from around the world.
Kevin Wilcox, USDA ARS, Fort Collins
Dr. Wilcox is interested in how global change drivers – such as altered precipitation, elevated atmospheric CO2, and eutrophication – alter plant community structure and ecosystem processes. He is particularly focused on how global change can cause switches in dominant species, and how this feeds back to alter the sensitivity of plant growth and carbon cycling to these same global changes. To this end, Kevin blends mechanistic process-based modeling, statistical statistical modeling, and experimental approaches to assess these phenomena at a range of spatial and temporal scales.