Cathy D. Collins

How do anthropogenic changes such as  nutrient deposition and fragmentation influence biodiversity?  How can we use this information to restore diversity and function to plant communities in degraded habitats? These general questions drive much of the work in my lab. While I consider myself a community ecologist, my work on habitat fragmentation, in particular, is heavily informed by population ecology and landscape ecology. For instance, by investigating spatial and temporal patterns of species’ abundances, I attempt to disentangle how the identity, order, and rate at which species undergo colonization and extinction dynamics depends on 1) species traits 2) species interactions, and 3) the quality and quantity of habitat. Though I typically focus on plants as my field “system”, I have enjoyed addressing fundamental ecological questions with fungi, birds, insects, and mammals too.

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