Joining Team Shrub at the University of Edinburgh

As of October 1st I have officially started a postdoc position with Team Shrub (led by Dr. Isla Myers-Smith) in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh. I’ll be continuing the work I started at iDiv last summer (sTundra!) and working on some new things as well. Check out all the latest Team Shrub news on the blog, here!

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My new office in Edinburgh Castle (ok not really, but wouldn’t it be nice?)

Arctic plants are full of surprises

Hot off the press – our paper about the phenological responses to experimental and natural warming over 21 years at my PhD field site, Alexandra Fiord on Ellesmere Island (Canada). We were surprised to find that although experimental warming leads to earlier flowering, flowering did not advance over the duration of the study, even though there was more than 1 °C of ambient warming at the same time. Check out the paper to satisfy your curiosity about the causes of this surprising result! It is now available in its unformatted early-online version at Global Change Biology. Unfortunately it’s not open access, but if you need a copy, just email me!

Greetings from Leipzig!

On July 1st, 2014 I started a postdoc position at the synthesis centre of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig, Germany. My postdoc position is part of the “sTundra” synthesis working group, led by Dr. Isla Myers-Smith at the University of Edinburgh and Dr. Sarah Elmendorf at NEON and funded by iDiv. We are working on a large, multi-scale synthesis of tundra vegetation change. For more information, see the sTundra page!

An Arctic Essay

I was honored to receive the Jennifer Robinson Memorial Scholarship from the Arctic Institute of North America last year. As part of my scholarship, I wrote a short essay about my Ph.D. research in AINA’s journal, Arctic. The pdf is available here.

Species richness-productivity relationships take a hit

A recent paper in Science (Adler et al. 2011, “Productivity is a Poor Predictor of Plant Species Richness,” link) takes a new look at the long-accepted (or at least long-discussed) relationship between plant species richness and productivity.  The authors conducted a huge number of small-scale experiments (covering nearly every continent, some more thoroughly than others) and found very little support for a relationship between species richness and productivity within each site.

To me, this finding sparks more questions than it answers.  Why have previous studies often found positive or hump-shaped relationships between SR and productivity? Is it an issue of sampling method?  Scale?  In particular, why do we consistently see positive relationships when we experimentally manipulate species richness à la Tilman et al., but not in some observational experiments? I think we need to re-evaluate the origins of the theory of SR-P relationships and come up with clear hypotheses about when we would and would not expect to see these relationships.  For example, one of the mechanisms of positive SR-P relationships is thought to be coexistence mediated by the presence of predators.  In this case, we might not expect to see SR-P relationships in highly invaded communities (since exotic species often lack natural predators).

In any case, my guess is that this matter has not been laid to rest. I look forward to seeing the rest of the results from this research group!

Hello!

Welcome to my website, where I’ll occasionally post about especially interesting articles I’ve read or other relevant news flashes.  Feel free to drop me a line if you see something interesting you’d like to chat about. You can reach me at: annebj -at- gmail -dot- com.