Headed by Dr. Heather D. Alexander, the Mississippi State University Forest and Fire Ecology Lab studies the causes and consequences of shifting forest composition and changing successional trajectories due to altered disturbance regimes, especially fire. Our research focuses on three main issues:
- How do changes in disturbance regimes trigger shifts in vegetation communities (both composition and structure) from one state to another?
- How does this reorganization of vegetation composition and structure alter ecosystem function?
- If desired and ecologically feasible, can we actively restore historical or create new and novel disturbance regimes that act to promote ecosystem recovery to a desired state?
Much of our work uses field-based experimental manipulations to test hypotheses about how individual tree species traits influence forest function. We work with forest managers and wildlife biologists to address complex emerging issues relating to changing climate, fire disturbances, habitat fragmentation, and forest restoration with an aim to foster a basic understanding of forest ecosystem function in a changing world.
If you are interested in joining our lab, please check out the Opportunities page, where we will list new positions as they become available.