How do populations respond to disturbances, and how should we study these responses? Traditional approaches to demography emphasize the long-term (asymptotic) growth rate, which may not be useful if disturbances recur frequently, or if one is interested in short-term consequences for other reasons (such as management applications). Traditional approaches also focus on a view of ppopulations as non-spatial, so that spatial heterogeneity and dispersal can be ignored.
Our studies of demography and dispersal in fire-prone pines take a different approach, examining their near-term (as well as asymptotic) dynamics, and considering the importance of dispersal and spatial heterogeneity. We have extensive studies of seedling demography and of seed dispersal. Our studies include:
- Studies of pitch pine in the Long Island Pine Barrens, in collaboration with Jessica Gurevitch (SUNY Stony Brook).
- Studies of longleaf pine in the USF Eco Area. An analysis of demographic effects of environmental (fire and rainfall) variation, in collaboration with Chelcy Ford and Emily Minor, and many undergraduates in our lab.
- Studies of slash pine at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida. Kara Teague did her thesis on dispersal of slash pine at the Carlton Reserve.
- Shannon Ansley did her MS thesis on animal dispersal of longleaf pine and southern live oak in the USF Eco Area.