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 and sign our Code of Conduct.

LATEST RESEARCH

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 Darrell Jenerette and Pete Homyak, We are examining how alterations to the seasonality of precipitation influences plant community dynamics and ecosystem functioning in Sonoran Desert annual plant communities. This system gets both summer (S) and winter (W) rain and our treatments include: 1) no S and ambient W; 2) ambient S and ambient W; 3) ambient S and two times W; 4) no W and ambient S; 5) ambient W and ambient S; 6) ambient W and two times S. We are collecting the third year of data and are finding that altered seasonal precipitation has larger positive impacts in warmer than cooler seasons.

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