Raelene Crandall is broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms by which disturbances influence plant population dynamics and cause resulting community patterns in plant species richness and composition.
Despite the prevalent use of fires in restoration and land management, little is known about the effects of fires, especially changes in fire season, intensity, and frequency, on the population dynamics of native and exotic plants. This is because most studies consider only a single fire season and/or measure responses in a single species. As a result, ecologists cannot explain why fires sometimes successfully reduce the abundance of exotic plants and increase the abundance and diversity of native plants and other times have no effect or even facilitate biological invasions.
She seeks to fill this knowledge gap by examining how differences in the life histories of native and exotic plants influence their response to fires and how fires influence plant competition. Furthermore, she quantifies whether different disturbance regimes and habitat characteristics interact to shape community patterns of species richness and composition. Results from her research are widely applicable to restoration and conservation of remnant, degraded, and restored habitats.
FOREST RESOURCES & CONSERVATION
355 Newins-Ziegler Hall, PO Box 110410
Gainesville, FL 32611-0410