A fundamental goal in ecology is to understand the mechanisms that structure communities and how in turn, these communities can control ecosystem processes. My research interests can be unified under this topic. In particular, my research has focused on how climate change, competition, disturbance (e.g., fire, restoration), succession, and edaphic and environmental factors control the distribution of native and introduced plant species as well as carbon and nutrient cycling. I use a combination of manipulative experiments (both field and laboratory) and analysis of natural gradients to address these basic ecological questions within an applied framework. To date, I have conducted my research in upland and wetland prairie systems, and most recently, boreal peatlands.