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Department of Plant Sciences


Laura Spence

Education and Work Experience

  • Postdoctoral Researcher (2011-present) PIRE Mongolia project, University of Pennsylvania:
  • Field Team-Leader (2009-2010) Landcare Research, New Zealand
  • PhD Plant Ecology (2005-2009) Forest Ecology and Conservation Group, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge.
  • BA Natural Sciences (2001-2004) St. John's College, University of Cambridge

Research Interests

Steppe grassland dynamics and management; grassland response to climatic change; forest understorey invasion; native and exotic species dynamics; role of mycorrhizal fungi in plant invasion; long-term ecological studies; effects of deer on vegetation; consequences of rising deer populations; fairy rings.

Publications - Peer Reviewed

Casper, B.B., R. Goldman, A. Lkhagva, B. Helliker, A. Plante, L.A. Spence, P. Liancourt, B. Boldgiv, and P.S. Petraitis (in press). Legumes mitigate ecological consequences of a topographic gradient in a northern Mongolian steppe. Oecologia

Liancourt, P., L.A. Spence, B. Boldgiv, A. Lkhagva, B.R. Helliker, B.B. Casper, P.S. Petraitis (in press). Vulnerability of the Northern Mongolian steppe to climate change: Insights from flower production and phenology. Ecology

Spence, L.A., J.V. Ross, S.W. Wiser, R.B. Allen, and D.A. Coomes (2011) Disturbance affects short-term facilitation, but not long-term saturation, of exotic plant invasion in New Zealand forest. Proc RS B 278 1457-1466. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.1738 Spence et al 2011_ProcRSB.pdf

Spence, L.A., I.A. Dickie, and D.A. Coomes (2010) Arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculum potential: a mechanism promoting positive diversity-invasibility relationships in mountain beech forests in New Zealand? Mycorrhiza 21 (4) 309-314. DOI: 10.1007/s00572-010-0340-4

Other publications and media

Studying climate change through tree rings - video from University of Pennsylvania (2011)