You have reached Dr. Blair's Forest Ecology Lab.
My current research involves examining how amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), an exotic invasive shrub, influences forests that it invades. Many invasive plants have been shown to create a positive feedback loop where they create an environment that promotes their own growth while inhibiting the growth of the native plants that preceeded them. For example in the forests being studied, although there are many large trees in the forest overstory, below honeysuckle shrubs almost no tree seedlings exist. This suggests that forest regeneration has been stunted.
What will these areas look like in 50 or 100 years? Will we still have a forest or a huge honeysuckle patch? This phenomena of going from a native to non-native dominated habitat has been termed an "invasional meltdown" because over time the invading plant takes over displacing native plants in the process.
If you are fascinated by ecology and think you may be interested in working with me please use the "contact me" link on the sidebar to ask me questions about my research. I am always looking for dedicated individuals who love the outdoors and can commit at least two semesters to working in my lab.
Honey Suckle decomposition study: Do honeysuckle leaves and honeysuckle dominated habitats influence the decomposition rates of native forest species?
Soil Properties: Does honeysuckle influence the belowground abiotic environment? For instance is soil Ph, nutrient availability and moisture influenced by the presence of Honeysuckle shrubs?
Honeysuckle Genetics: This is the latest area we are exploring in partnership with Dr. Engles genetics laboratory.