Montgomery Lab

MN Forests
Leaf Phenology

Humans continue to change the environment locally, regionally and globally. We have eliminated and introduced species, changed resource availability, fragmented the landscape and altered climate. Understanding the response of natural systems to these changes requires knowledge of the mechanisms through which organisms respond to the abiotic and biotic environment. Research in my lab focuses on understanding these mechanisms. In particular, we study the role of plant functional traits (e.g. photosynthesis, water loss, leaf anatomy, biomass allocation, allometry, growth, survival) in plant ecology and response to global change. We are interested in understanding how plants interact with and respond to their environments and the implications of these responses for forest dynamics, forest management, biodiversity and ecosystem function. This broad scope allows us to ask questions pertinent to understanding important topics such as

  • the effects of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems
  • the ecology, restoration and management of forest ecosystems
  • temporal ecology - how timing (phenology) impacts everything

Research in my lab spans basic to applied, the latter focused on needs of managers in the Lake States, especially Minnesota. I am also increasingly involved in community engaged scholarship in collaboration with artists and social scientists. Major current projects include:

(1) the potential for projected climate change to alter tree species composition at the southern boreal-temperate forest ecotone and increase success of invasive species (B4WarmED and SPRUCE projects)

(2) cause and consequences of phenological change in the Lake States 

(3) adaptive silviculture for climate change (ASCC) in pine forests and urban floodplains

(4) oak savanna ecology and restoration

(4) artscience collaboration that uses phenology to engage communities in creative placemaking to develop community capacity for response to stressors such as climate change; Backyard Phenology collaborative team Christine Baeumler, Maria Park, Jessie Merriam, Beth Mercer-Taylor, Rebecca Montgomery