Kerkhoff Laboratory

To do science is to search for repeated patterns, not simply to accumulate facts.

                -Robert MacArthur, 1972


Ecological complexity and biodiversity make the search for repeated patterns in nature both difficult and exciting. Mounting global environmental problems make it imperative. Understanding biodiversity and ecological complexity is in part a matter of scale. Ecological systems span from the smallest interacting microbes (10-11 g) to the entire biosphere (1.8 X 1019 g). That's over 30 orders of magnitude! Research in the Kerkhoff Lab is largely focused on discovering and explaining patterns that apply across broad taxonomic and biogeographic scales. Our research approaches are also varied, including laboratory studies of the ecological physiology of insect larvae, field surveys of forest communities and plant performance, and macroecological analyses based on published data from all over the world. These diverse studies are tied together by a desire to understand how the evolved functional characteristics of individual organisms can be used to 'scale-up' to entire populations, communities, and ecosystems.


Comparative, Functional, and Geographical Ecology