Associate Professor and Chair of Biology, Kenyon College
Scientists have only begun to understand the intricate network of interactions that allows the biosphere to persist, even as it has evolved and changed, sometimes catastrophically, over the past 3.8 billion years. I study the distribution and evolution of plant biodiversity and the role of plant life in the functioning of ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. I work with students and other researchers to help develop the scientific knowledge we need to address the key challenges of global change and biodiversity conservation. Trying to figure out how nature works (and teaching others about it) is a fun job – frustrating at times, exhilarating at others. Whether swimming through seas of data on the computer, taking careful measurements in a forest, or helping students learn about how nature works, there is nothing I would rather do.