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Research Overview

I am interested in understanding what allows introduced species to establish, spread, and persist during biological invasions, as well as identifying how these invasion dynamics are impacting the structure and function of the resident community.

Temporal Variability
& Invader Impacts


A critical challenge in invasion ecology continues to be the ability to understand and predict invader responses to environmental change, especially in historically uninvaded systems such as deserts. Temporal variability can cause fluctuations in resources and disturbances in communities that may create opportunities for invader establishment, and persistence through potential lagged effects. My research leverages long term observational data to assess the direct and indirect influences of climate and invasive plants on native annual plant communities.

Collaborators: Cameron Barrows (CCB), Lynn Sweet (CCB),  Loralee Larios (UCR)


Species Distribution
& Drivers of Spread



To effectively contain an invasive species, we must be able to identify what is driving the spread of that species.

My research uses a variety of ecological niche modeling tools to quantify climatic niche dynamics, identify bioclimatic factors contributing to the spread of the invader, and create spatial prediction maps of suitable habitat for invasive species to be used by land managers.

Collaborators: Brooke M Rose, Santiago J Velazco, Janet Franklin, Loralee Larios.

Photo Credit:

UCR, Center for Invasive Species Research


Priority Effects in Low Resource Systems


Understanding the relative role of within season variability vs species interactions in determining plant invasion success can be difficult. The timing of arrival of species within the growing season can be important in determining community composition (priority effects). When considering invasive species-who tend to have earlier phenologies compared to natives- priority effects may be an important mechanism contributing to invasion success. My research aims to identify how interactions between species origin and resource availability may mediate the strength in priority effects in low resource systems.

Collaborators:  Loralee Larios (UCR)


Managing Invasive Species



Understanding how to effectively manage an invasive species is a pressing concern for land managers.  Chemical management options are a good approach to use for early detection and rapid response, however deciding which herbicide to use can be challenging. For this collaborative project, we are evaluating the efficacy of chemical management options for the control of Stinknet (Oncosiphon piluliferum) . 

Collaborators: Brian Shomo (RCHCA), Joseph Messin (Motte Rimrock Reserve), Ken Kitzer (CA Parks), Loralee Larios (UCR), Travis Bean (UCR), Chris McDonald (UCCE)

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