Welcome! This is the site for the lab group of Dr. Nathan Kraft, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Los Angeles. We study the ecological and evolutionary forces that structure communities, particularly plant systems. Projects in the lab integrate aspects of community ecology, biogeography, ecophysiology, and phylogenetics. Recent projects have centered on the forests of lowland Amazonia and annual plant communities in California. In addition to a focus on species coexistence, research in the lab also addresses plant responses to climate change, the distribution of diversity at broad spatial scales, and the assembly of regional biotas.


January 2017: Welcome to a bunch of new lab members and visitors: Dr. Andy Kleinhesselink is joining is from Peter Adler’s lab to work on our annual plant coexistence project, Dr. Yi Ding is visiting for a year from China to work on trait analyses of forest plots, and Aubrie James will be visiting with us from Monica Geber’s lab at Cornell as she works on coexistence in Clarkia in southern California.

December 2016: A symposium Jonathan Levine and I proposed for ESA 2017 on traits and coexistence has been accepted- looking forward to Portland in August 2017!

November 2016: Busy times at Sedgwick as we plant out common gardens across the landscape to look at intraspecific trait variation, as well as a large higher-order interactions experiment with a core group of our annuals.

July 5th 2016: Big welcome to Mary Van Dyke, who joins the lab today as a field and lab tech. Mary will be helping with all the ongoing work at Sedgwick!

June 30th 2016: Congrats to Claire- new ms on the influence of functional traits on neighborhood (er… neighbourhood) interactions in the Yasuni forest dynamics plot is online early today in Ecology Letters. link

June 27th 2016: Farewell to Lei, whose is heading back to an assistant professor position in China after a year visiting in our lab. We will miss you!

June 8th 2016: Busy times in the lab as Ian and Marcel prepare for fieldwork in Ecuador and Brazil, respectively, and Gaurav winds down spring fieldwork at Sedgwick.

June 3rd 2016: Nathan travels to Germany for the second (and unfortunately final) sNiche working group meeting at sDiv.

April 5th 2016: The lab is looking to hire a new postdoc and a lab technician to join into our trait-coexistence work with annual plants in California- more details here.

March 31 2016: A spectacular bloom is underway at our Santa Barbara field site this spring:


February 3 2016: Heavy El Nino rains this December and January make for better germination in our serpentine annual plant system then we’ve seen in a while. Gaurav and Nathan spent the better part of a week surveying germinants in our experiment to quantify how trait differences contribute to species coexistence at the landscape scale.


January 18 2016: Exciting trip to sDiv in Leipzig, Germany for the first meeting of the ‘sNiche’ working group with Stan Harpole, Thorsten Wiegand, Jon Chase, Janneke HilleRisLambers, Margie Mayfield, and many others focused on the modest task of advancing biodiversity theory…

January 15 2016: Nathan is named to the 2015 Highly Cited Researchers list by Thompson Reuters, reflecting citation patterns between 2003-2013.

January 4 2016: The lab has made the move across the country to UCLA, and we’re settling in to unpacking and setting up shop in our new lab here.