Martin Lab Research
Major Research Themes
Modeling the Long-Term Invasion Dynamics and Ecosystem Impacts of Exotic Trees
In collaboration with Dr. Charles Canham (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies), Dr. Peter Marks (Cornell University), and Dr. Lorena Gómez Aparicio (Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología), I am using spatially-explicit models, field experiments and dynamic simulation modeling in SORTIE (www.sortie-nd.org) to evaluate the long-term invasion dynamics of northeastern forests by two exotic tree species: Norway maple and tree of heaven. This research focuses on the factors limiting the colonization of exotic trees and their ability to deleteriously impact ecosystem processes and native biota. At present, most research on invasives has focused on highly disturbed ecosystems and the exotic plants which rapidly colonize these open environments. This research will address the gap in our knowledge of the long-term ability of exotic trees to invade and dominate the closed-canopy forests which comprise most of the natural preserves in the eastern US.
Integrating Natural Disturbance, Environmental Gradients and Vegetation Pattern in Tropical Montane Forests
In collaboration with Dr. Timothy Fahey (Cornell University) and Dr. Ruth Sherman (Cornell University), I have developed a model of the controls on the complex vegetation mosaics in the montane forests of the Dominican Republic. Tropical montane forests are among the world\’s most threatened biomes, and yet remain poorly studied. These ecosystems provide critical functions (e.g. stable hydrologic flows) and are a principle hotspot of the world\’s biodiversity. Using remote sensing and gradient analysis methodologies, our research has found important spatial interactions and feedbacks between environmental gradients and disturbance regimes. This ongoing research aims to provide a more thorough understanding of pattern and process in these vital and highly-threatened ecosystems.
Climate Change Impacts on Forest Dynamics in the Rocky Mountains
In collaboration with Dr. Charles Canham (Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies), we are developing rigorously field-calibrated, species-specific dynamic models of climate change impacts on the major tree species of the Rocky Mountains. Mountain ecosystems in the western U.S. and the Northern Rockies in particular are highly sensitive to climate change. Over the last 100 years, these montane areas have experienced over three times the global average temperature increase.