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Elsa Cleland


Research in the Cleland lab is evaluating how wild plants respond to global environmental changes, including climate change and competition from invasive plant species. Current research projects include: 1) evaluating the role of phenology (or timing) in structuring native and invasive plant communities. 2) quantifying how genetic variation across the range of California poppy influences this species' response to drought, and 3) applying eco-evolutionary theory during ecological restoration. Research into the impacts of global change offers the opportunity to ask fundamental questions about how resources and climate influence the structure and functioning of natural ecosystems, while contributing to a greater understanding of these pressing environmental problems.

Select Publications

  • Cleland, EE,+ 35 co-authors (2019) Below-ground biomass response to nutrient enrichment depends on light-limitation across globally distributed grasslands Ecosystems 22: 1466-1477
  • Esch, EH, D. Lipson & EE Cleland (2019) Invasion alters ecosystem response to drought via increased phenological sensitivity. Ecology 100: e02802
  • Esch EH, AC Ashbacher, CW Kopp, & EE Cleland (2018) Competition reverses the response of shrub seedling mortality and growth along a soil moisture gradient. Journal of Ecology 106: 2096-2108.
  • Waterton, J & EE Cleland (2016). Trade‐off between early emergence and herbivore susceptibility mediates exotic success in an experimental California plant community. Ecology and Evolution 6: 8942-8953.
  • Kopp, CW & EE Cleland (2015). A range-expanding shrub species alters plant phenological response to experimental warming. PloS one 10 (9), e0139029.
  • Cleland, EE, E Esch & J McKinney (2015). Priority effects vary with species identity and origin in an experiment varying the timing of seed arrival. Oikos 124: 33-40.
  • Kopp, CW & EE Cleland (2014). Shifts in plant species elevational range limits and abundances observed over nearly five decades in a western North America mountain range. Journal of Vegetation Science 25: 135-146.
  • Wainwright, CE & EE Cleland (2013). Exotic species display greater germination plasticity and higher germination rates than native species across multiple cues. Biological Invasions 15: 2253-2264.
  • Wolkovich, EM, BI Cook, JM Allen, TM Crimmins, JL Betancourt, S Travers, S Pau, J Regetz, TJ Davies, NJB Kraft, TR Ault, K Bolmgren, SJ Mazer, GJ McCabe, BJ McGill, C Parmesan, N Salamin, MD Schwartz & EE Cleland (2012). Warming experiments underpredict plant phenological responses to climate change. Nature 485: 494-497.
  • Cleland, EE, JM Allen, TM Crimmins, JA Dunne, S Pau, S Travers, ES Zavaleta & EM Wolkovich (2012). Phenological tracking enables positive species responses to climate change. Ecology 93: 1765–1771.
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