Research in my lab focuses on three, partially overlapping, research themes: (1) the biology of cool season grass – Epichloë fungal endophyte symbioses; (2) the biological impacts of climatic change; and (3) the ecology of invasive species.

(1) The biology of cool season grass — Epichloë fungal endophyte symbioses

Several related grass species are globally significant in managed grasslands. These species, of European origin, have been agronomically well studied, subjected to intensive breeding programs, and marketed aggressively throughout much of the temperate world. They can be found in cultivation throughout Europe, North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and parts of Asia. Despite being introduced for agricultural purposes, they routinely escape cultivation to compete aggressively with native species, purportedly reducing local biodiversity and impairing ecosystem functioning. Much of the success of these grass species, both inside and outside of cultivation, is due to their evolutionary history with asexual endophytic fungal species in the genus Epichloë. These grass-fungal symbioses are highly desirable to farmers, but endanger neighboring unmanaged ecosystems. With the predicted major climatic change, an open question is whether or not these symbioses will continue to invade and subsequently alter native ecosystems.

(2) The biological impacts of climatic change

Using mathematical models and laboratory and field experiments we study a variety of climate change impacts, primarily on grasslands and on insects of economic value.

Summerlee Science Complex, Room 1321, tel. +1 519 824 4120 ext. 56102