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Disturbance ecology and ecosystem function

Head of Group: Dr Adam Pellegrini


Adam Pellegrini

How do ecosystems respond to changes in disturbance regimes, such as fire suppression in naturally burning savannas, or more frequent burning in forests that historically only burned periodically? What fundamental processes govern the responses of ecosystems to these changes, such as the role of soil properties and plant community composition? These are some of the questions that our lab seeks to understand. We ground our work in experimental research, taking advantage of the diverse sets of fire manipulation experiments across the globe combined with the advances in ecosystem models.

Our work spans many ecosystems across the globe in Africa, South America, and the United States to try to ascertain generalities in how ecosystems respond to fire, but also using natural variability as a platform to test hypotheses around mechanisms.

  • How resilient are western US forests to changing fire regimes?
  • What biogeochemical changes in soils either buffer against or accelerate ecosystem carbon and nutrient losses?
  • How do plant traits modify the effect of fire on ecosystems?
  • What are global patterns in how ecosystems respond to fire across the tropics?

Dr Pellegrini will be starting at the Department of Plant Sciences in March 2020.