We are plant community ecologists working at the interface of ecology, biogeography and conservation. Our broad goal is to understand the mechanisms that influence patterns of biodiversity, and then to use that understanding to address environmental issues. Our research combines large-scale observational studies across biogeographic regions, field experiments, functional and phylogenetic approaches, and advanced statistics and modeling to address environmental issues and to explore fundamental questions in ecology. 

In the Spasojevic lab we strive to create a culture of inclusion and collaboration where all are welcome. We value the participation of every member of our community and want to ensure an that every lab member and collaborator has a positive, educational experience unhindered by unnecessary challenges caused by non-inclusive behavior. Accordingly, everyone who participates in any Spasojevic Lab project is always expected to show respect and courtesy to other community members.


I am currently collaborating with Jeff Diez to set up a new Forest Dynamics Plot near the UCR James Reserve which will be part of the Smithsonian’s Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO) network (www.ctfs.si.edu/group/About/). We will be examining the dynamics of southern California forests focusing on species coexistence, plant functional traits, beta-diversity, and biogeographic comparisons with other ForestGEO sites. 

In collaboration with Chris Catano, Joe LaManna and Jonathan Myers we synthesized recent advances in trait-based ecology and biogeography to provide a framework that considers how differences in species-pool functional diversity (SPFD) across biogeographic regions and changes in SPFD through time within regions influence the relative importance of community assembly mechanisms and patterns of biodiversity. Our conceptual paper was recently published at Ecology!

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