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Dr. Kerri Crawford’s group is testing how microbes in the soil influence prairie communities. Some of the research questions being tackled by her lab include: How will climate change alter plant-microbe interactions and plant community structure? How do soil microbes influence plant chemical signaling? How do multiple disturbances affect the structure of the soil microbial community? You can read more about this research on the lab’s website: http://thecrawfordlab.com/
Dr. Pennings is collaborating with Dr. Chelse Prather (University of Dayton) to studying the role of micronutrients in controlling variation in the plant and herbivore communities in prairie landscapes. Read more about Dr. Prather’s research at https://chelseprather.wordpress.com/.
Dr. Christopher Gabler is studying the factors that affect invasion by Chinese Tallow into restored prairie sites, and the effects of wildfire on germination and recruitment of Chinese tallow tree from seed banks.
Dr. Evan Siemann (Rice University) and collaborators in China are using the UHCC to understand the mechanisms promoting rapid spread of invasive Chinese tallow in the United States, the consequences of tallow invasion into coastal prairies, and possible methods to restore sites invaded by tallow. Read more about the Dr. Siemann’s research at http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~siemann/index.html.
Dr. Pennings is working with Dr. Marc Garbey, Department of Computer Science, to model prairie vegetation.
Coastal prairie at UHCC. Photo credit: Chelse Prather