News Archive

June 2019: Congratulations to Heather Lindsay and Megan Clark for completing their undergraduate degrees in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution!

April 2019: Congratulations to Dr. Ian McFadden for completing his PhD! Ian is off to Zurich to start a postdoc at WSL and ETH.

September 2018: We said goodbye to former lab tech Suzanne, who left to start a PhD at Stanford, and welcome Kenji Hayashi, who is joining us after finishing his undergrad at Brown University.

August 2018: Congrats to Marcel on being awarded a research grant from CTFS for his work in Manaus!

June 2018: Nathan and Gaurav attended a working group on functional rarity at Aix en Provence – thanks to Cyrille Violle for organizing!

April 2018: Things are looking great at our field site at Sedgwick Reserve- despite late germinating rains and a dry start to the growing season, a steady pulse of storms (and some stopgap storms of our own) have led to germination that is looking robust and even across treatments. 

March 2018: Congratulations to our super-tech Suzanne Ou, who will be off to start a Ph.D. with Kabir Peay at Stanford next fall!

March 1 2018: Former lab member Claire Fortunel has found her way home to France with a new permanent research job at the Joint Research Unit for Botany and Modelling of Plant Architecture and Vegetation (UMR AMAP) at the National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) in Montpellier.

February 23 2018: Many thanks to Hari Sridhar for an interesting conversation about some older tropical forest research from the Yasuni plot in Ecuador, as part of his wide-ranging “reflections on papers past” project.

February 2018: Sometimes the rains come in a timely fashion, sometimes you have to make you own rainstorms to keep things going:

December 2017: Farewell to Yi Ding- it was wonderful to have you visit the lab this past year!

December 2017: Congratulations to Gaurav and Aubrie James who just had an organized oral session proposal approved for ESA next summer.

December 5 2017: Nathan is named to the “highly cited researchers” list for the third year running. link

October 2017: A final SESYNC working group meeting for the Macroevolution of Ecosystem Services working group- more papers soon!

September 2017: Thanks to Ben Gilbert for organizing a short but sweet working group on Ecological Drift at sDiv in Germany.

August 2017: Yet another excellent ESA- thanks to the participants in the Traits and Coexistence symposium Jonathan Levine and I organized, and great to see talks from so many lab members: Ian, Gaurav, Andy, Claire, as well as Vivian Griffey!

July 2017: Welcome to Suzanne Ou, who is joining the lab as a research tech. Suzanne joins us from Duke, filling in for Mary Van Dyke, who will be moving to a Ph.D. student position in the lab in the fall!

March 2017: Welcome to the world Henry Kraft- future botanist? Only time will tell…

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.

July 2015: After careful consideration, I have decided to accept a faculty position in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Los Angeles. I am sorry to be leaving wonderful and supportive colleagues at UMD behind, but excited by the new opportunities at UCLA for my lab’s research and also to have the chance to move closer to family and friends in California. The lab will make the move in December 2015. 

June 2015: Welcome to Lei Chen, who is joining the lab as a postdoc to work on species coexistence using forest dynamics data. 

June 2015: The lab is grateful to NSF for supporting our project entitled “Functional traits and the mechanisms of species coexistence in an annual plant community” to support work growing out of collaborations with Jonathan Levine and Oscar Godoy in serpentine annual plant dynamics. We’ll get into full swing in fall 2015. 

May 2015: Nathan is off to Greoble, France for Georges Kunstler’s habilitation exam and a little trekking around the alps with the fantastic ecologists there.

March 2015: Ian and Nathan head to Leipzig, Germany for a fascinating workshop on spatial ecology in tropical forests with Thorsten Weigand, Steve Hubbell, Maria Uriarte, Fangliang He and many others.

March 2015: Gaurav, Marcel and Nathan are off to Costa Rica as part of a large collaborative project to explore trait evolution within the Melastomataceae family. 

January 2015: New paper in PNAS with Jonathan Levine and Oscar Godoy from our ongoing trait-coexistence experimental research with serpentine annual plants. linkF1000 recommendation

December 2014: What is meant by stochasticity in community ecology, and how prevalent is it in our research? See the thoughts of a UBC graduate seminar on these issues, out this month in Oikos: Vellend et al. link

October 2014: What is habitat filtering and how do ecologists typically quantify it? Our thoughts on this issue online early in Functional Ecology: Kraft et al. online early link

September 2014: New paper from the BIEN group in PNAS: Lamanna et al. PNAS 2014 link

September 2014: Welcome to Cristina Bastias from the Valladares lab, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Spain. Cristina will be spending the fall here with us to work in questions related to intraspecific trait variation. 

August 2014: Welcome to new PhD students Marcel and Gaurav and visiting postdoc Benoit Parmentier from the McGill lab at University of Maine!

June 2014: Ian and Gaurav are in Costa Rica for OTS Tropical Plant Systematics!

June 2014: Fantastic trip to the Yasuni FDP with Claire Fortunel and Renato Valencia. 

May 2014: The role of intraspecific trait variation in shaping competitive outcomes in vernal pool annuals- new paper online at Oikos: Kraft et al. 

April 28 2014: The first paper from our trait-coexistence experiments is online at Ecology Letters: Godoy et al. 

April 2014: Congrats to Marcel Vaz, who was awarded as doctoral fellowship from the Brazilian government- Marcel will be joining the lab as a PhD student this fall. 

April 2014: Congratulations to Gaurav Kandlikar who was just awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and a UMD Flagship Fellowship. Gaurav will be joining the lab to start a PhD in the fall of 2014.

February 2014: A big welcome to Dr. Claire Fortunel who is joining the lab as a postdoc to work on trait based analyses in tropical forest plots. 

December 2013: On the cover of Ecology Letters: Morueta-Holme et al. “Habitat area and climate stability determines geographical variation in plant species range sizes.” link

December 2013: A hearty welcome to Associate Professor Rong Li from the Kunming Institute of Botany in China who will be spending a year working in the lab on large-scale analyses of plant survey data from his work in the Gaoligong Mountains. 

November 2013: A short trip to Santa Barbara to plant the next round of the Trait-Coexistence project with Oscar Godoy and Jonathan Levine. 

October 2013: Welcome to Dr. Kristin Powell, who is starting SESYNC postdoc working in part with Nathan. 

Sept. 2013: A short but productive meeting for the SESYNC Macroevolution of Ecosystem Services group in Annapolis- very cool to begin to see preliminary results trickle in…

Sept. 2013: off to a great start with a fantastic student group for this fall’s grad seminar: Community Ecology: Foundations and Frontiers.

August 2013: Ian and Nathan travel to Yasuni for fieldwork.

August 2013: Thanks to organizer Anita Narwani and my fellow speakers for a fascinating symposium on traits, phylogenetic relationships and ecosystem function at ESA this year!

August 2013: Curious about relating traits to species coexistence? Check out our reviews and synthesis paper on this area- online early at Ecology Letters: Adler et al. 2003.

July 2013: Quick trip to Sedgwick in Santa Barbara with Jonathan Levine and Oscar Godoy to plan this fall’s planting for the trait-coexistence project. 

July 2013: Very happy to say that Kristin Powell from the Knight Lab at Wash U will be joining the lab in October through a postdoctoral fellowship at SESYNC. Kristin will be working on scale-dependence in anthropogenic impacts on ecosystem function and services… more soon! We’re looking forward to having her on campus a few days a week and to having an excuse to spend more time in beautiful Annapolis…

July 2013: Postdoctoral opening for a plant ecologist in the lab!  See description here (scroll down)- if you are interested please contact me by Sept 1 for best consideration- ideally before ESA!

June 2013: Ian takes a trip to Villa de Leyva, Colombia for a week long crash course on trait-based ecology… sounds like fun!

June 2013: Another paper from the NCEAS phenology working group is out online ahead of print at American Journal of Botany- this one led by Susan Mazer: link 

June 2013: Off to Annapolis for the first meeting of the Macroevolution of Ecosystem Services working group at SESYNC.

May 2013: A long-running side project with Adam Smith and Brody Sandel on trait-area relations that started back when we were all grad students at UC Berkeley is out as a preprint at Ecology. link

May 2013: Wrapping up BSCI 361: Principles of Ecology- it’s been an enjoyable semester- many thanks to Ian for the fantastic efforts as a TA.

February 2013: SESYNC working group on the Macroevolution of Ecosystem Services in plants, led by Jeannine Cavender-Bares and Stephen Polasky, has been funded- should be an interesting project and a delightful group!

January 2013: Nathan gives a talk in the trait biogeography symposium at the International Biogeography Society meeting in Miami- many thanks to Adam Algar for the invitation to be part of such a great lineup!

December 2012: Seminar trip to the E3B department at Columbia University- lots of great forest dynamics work going on there!

November 2012: Field trip to a working group at the EAWAG institute in Switzerland to delve into community assembly patterns in long-term phytoplankton datasets. If only we had this kind of long term, high frequency data for trees!

August 2012: Big congrats to coauthor Travis Ingram, who has been awarded ESA’s Frost Award for our recent stickleback paper in Evolution.

July 1st 2012I’ve just made the move to University of Maryland! Come visit!

June 2012: Just finished the last round of trait sampling in the TAPIOCA coexistence experiment in Santa Barbara with Oscar Godoy and Jonathan Levine- looking forward to the analyses soon…

May 2012: The NCEAS phenology working group has a meta analysis paper published online early in Nature today comparing phenological sensitivities in climate change experiments and long-term observational datasets. Wolkovich et al. Nature, coverage in the BBC.

April 2012: Nathan has been awarded the 2012 UBC Killam Postdoctoral Research Prize- many thanks to Sally Otto and Dolph Schluter for the nomination!

March 30th 2012: Hearty congratulations to incoming Kraft lab Ph.D. student Ian McFadden, who was awarded a 3-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship today! Bravo, Ian!

March 2012: Spirited discussion of our recent paper on beta diversity- comments and our response published in Science: Kraft et at. 2012.

March 2012: The Kraft lab at UMD gains it’s first new member- a hearty welcome to Ian McFadden, who will be joining the lab through the BEES Ph.D. program in fall 2012. More from Ian soon!

Feb. 2012: Months of hard work in the cattle tanks at UBC (yes, it involves sticklebacks) comes to fruition- a collaboration led by the indomitable Travis Ingram available in Evolution.

Nov. 2011: Our solution to calculating the phylogenetic signal of a trait on a poorly resolved phylogeny (with R code) is available online at Ecology: Davies et al. 2012.

Oct. 2011: Our ideas paper about how a better integration of climate science, phylogenetics and community ecology can help to better predict species responses to climate change is out in Global Change Biology: Pau et al. 2011.

Sept. 2011: Our paper about global patterns of beta-diversity in forests is published today in Science! Links to Kraft et al. 2011cover image (thanks to Christian Ziegler).