community ecology

A successful experiment that turned out to be a failure: lessons from eradicating European Green Crabs

The European green crab wreaks havoc in California estuaries by damaging eelgrass beds, preying upon native species, and competing with other invertebrates for space. In 2009, UC Davis faculty member and EERREC trainer Ted Grosholz and colleagues began an intensive four-year eradication campaign that resulted in removal of 90% of the green crabs in the study area. However, a year later, the population rebounded to nearly triple the pre-eradication population size.

Plant traits and ecological processes under climate change

Jennifer Funk studies how plant traits influence ecological processes including drought response, plant invasion, and ecological restoration. Students involved in this work would engage in greenhouse and field projects, with coupled physiological and community-level measurements in a variety of plant communities, from California grasslands to tropical forest understories. 

Phenology of plants under changing thermal regimes

Around the world, climate change has caused differences in mean temperature and precipitation, but also variation in the scale and timing of climatic events. The timing of weather events, such as germination-triggering rains, the melting of snowpack, and freeze or thaw cycles often have major effects on organisms that must synchronize birth, growth, and reproduction with favorable conditions. The timing of these events -- phenology -- in turn affects how individuals interact with their abiotic and biotic environment.