:: Research ::

 

Research in the lab focuses on how temporal and spatial shifts associated with climate change alter species interactions. In particular, we are interested in how shifts in flowering time affect plant-pollinator interactions. Many plants are flowering earlier as a result of climate change, and there is concern that these phenological shifts will lead to temporal mismatches between plants and pollinators. Similarly, some bumble bee pollinators are moving up in elevation, potentially altering interactions. These shifts are likely to lead to novel communities in both the spatial and temporal dimensions, modified interaction strengths, and altered selection on life history events.

 

We use a combination of long-term and historical data, experimental manipulations, and observations of natural variation in phenology to understand how plant-pollinator interactions are likely to be affected by climate change.

 

Primary field sites have been Curtis Prairie in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, Mt Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona, and subalpine meadows around the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in Colorado.

Curtis Prairie, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum

Mt Lemmon, Santa Catalina Mountains, near Tucson, Arizona

Subalpine meadow, Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, Colorado

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Current Projects

 

 

We are investigating this question at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, resampling elevational transects for which we have historical data on bumble bee distributions and making use of long-term data on wildflower flowering phenology. In addition to collecting data on interaction frequencies, we are measuring seed set of several species at different elevations. This work is in collaboration with Charlotte de Keyzer (University of Toronto).

 

To address this question, we are reciprocally transplanting seeds and seedlings of several species that are primarily pollinated by bumble bees along an elevational gradient in Colorado, measuring germination success, growth rate, phenology, and ecophysiological traits. As low elevation sites become drier and hotter, seeds and seedlings might have higher fitness at high elevation sites. Complementing this project is a greenhouse experiment, which involves growing seedlings from different elevations under two temperature treatments. Charlotte de Keyzer (University of Toronto), Eva Morton (University of Manchester), and Andrea Keeler (University of California-Riverside) have helped with this project.

 

We are analyzing 30 years of plant phenology data from Finger Rock Canyon in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Arizona to better understand how flowering phenology is changing across different parts of species' elevational ranges. This project is a collaboration with Dave Bertelsen (University of Arizona) and Jeff Diez (University of California-Riverside).