My research focuses on what makes plants good at surviving and flourishing in their environments, and how they adapt to environmental change. In particular, I explore and identify ecological strategies across variable and complex environments. Ecological strategies allow us to interpret and predict variability in fitness with species and patterns of species diversity, coexistence and diversity both within and between habitats.
I have several current research directions:
1) The importance of sex in plants – Many plants are capable in of both sexual and clonal reproduction. I am currently testing hypotheses on the environmental conditions that favour sexual reproduction
2) Evolutionary ecology of invasive species – I am investigating how rapid adaptive evolution in invasive species in Australia are promoting local adaptation to novel environments and changing the dynamics of species invasions.
3) The interactions between plants and their competitors and enemies – Competition, predation, and parasitism are major selective forces driving plant adaptation and diversification. I examine how these interactions change across environments
4) The evolution of ecological strategies – I examine how variability in life-histories (the schedule of growth and reproduction) and growth form within and between species are related to the capacity for plants to persist and flourish across environments.
I have broad research interests in ecology and have been involved on studies (frequently with research students) in areas such as: Community responses to anthropogenic disturbances; plant regeneration in fragmented landscapes; the ecology of fire disturbed communities; and the evolution of geographic range size.