Our research focuses on understanding how plants respond to global environmental change: increasing CO2, temperature, and changing water availability. We integrate a range of observation streams (e.g., manipulation experiments, eddy covariance, and satellite data) with vegetation models to improve our capacity to predict future ecosystem change.
We tackle a diverse range of questions that connect terrestrial ecosystems with climate, including:
how will plants respond to increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration?
can we predict when and where trees might die of drought-induced mortality?
how do we improve our predictions of vegetation function as water and temperature become limiting?
what role does legacy to past environmental conditions (days-years) play in our capacity to predict current plant function?
how resilient are species distributions to climate change and how will distributions shift in the future?
how does plant physiology affect land-atmosphere feedbacks during climate extremes?
what impact will plants have on the future hydrological cycle?
Our research group employs models of varying complexity, from simple (GDAY), to the more complex: stand (MAESPA), land surface (CABLE), dynamic vegetation (LPJ-GUESS; SDGVM) and coupled-climate (ACCESS) models.
"The method of science depends on our attempts to describe the world with simple theories: theories that are complex may become untestable, even if they happen to be true. Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification-the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit" - Karl Popper