Rebecca Montgomery's research focuses on understanding the role of plant functional traits in plant ecology and response to global change. She is interested in understanding how plants interact with and respond to their environments and the implications of these responses for forest dynamics, forest management, biodiversity and ecosystem function. This broad scope will allow for better understanding of the effects of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems, ecology of forest understories, mechanisms of species interactions in forest ecosystems, and the ecology of managed forest ecosystems.
Humans continue to change the environment locally, regionally and globally. We have eliminated and introduced species, changed resource availability, fragmented the landscape and altered climate. Understanding the response of natural systems to these changes requires knowledge of the mechanisms through which organisms respond to the abiotic and biotic environment. Research in my lab focuses on understanding these mechanisms. In particular, we study the role of plant functional traits (e.g., photosynthesis, water loss, leaf anatomy, biomass allocation, allometry, growth, survival) in plant ecology, evolution and response to global change. We are interested in understanding how plants interact with and respond to their environments and the implications of these responses for forest dynamics, forest management, biodiversity, ecosystem function and trait evolution. This broad scope allows us to ask questions pertinent to understanding important topics such as
the effects of global climate change on terrestrial ecosystems
the mechanisms underlying diversification of species
the determinants of gradients in species diversity
the mechanisms associated with the ability of exotic species to invade new habitats