Disturbance Ecology

Disturbance can reduce the competitive dominance of certain species, and land-mangers are increasingly using disturbance as a tool to promote diversity using heterogenous disturbance regimes. We tested the efficacy of using heterogenous fire regimes to promote diversity in tallgrass prairie ecosystems, and we found that contrary to current theory soil and climatic variation trumped grassland plant responses to prescribed fire (McGlinn et al. 2010, McGlinn and Palmer in review). Our findings indicate that fine-tuning management using fire in these systems may not be necessary. Currently, the lab is continuing to pursue the role of fire in long-leaf pine forests for understand long-term (20 year) change in plants and herpetofauna (Strauss and McGlinn in prep.). We have studied the role of disturbance in other systems (e.g., microbes, birds) as well (Mirza et al. 2017, Archibald et al. 2018, McGlinn et al. 2010).