My research explores how plant functional traits structure the assembly of plant communities and functioning of ecosystems undergoing restoration. Focusing on improving restoration success by applying knowledge from basic ecology research while also using restoration as a system to test community ecology and diversity-ecosystem function theory. My postdoctoral research asks how grazing by bison reduces fire intensity and competition from dominant grasses to promote oak regeneration and the diversity of savanna species.
Zirbel, C.R. and L.A. Brudvig (2020). Trait-environment interactions affect plant establishment success during restoration. Ecology 00(00):e02971. 10.1002/ecy.2971
Zirbel, C.R., Grman, E. Bassett, T., and Brudvig, L.A. (2019). Landscape context explains ecosystem multifunctionality in restored grasslands better than plant diversity. Ecology 100(4):e02634.
Zirbel, C.R., E. Grman, T. Bassett, and L.A. Brudvig. (2017). Plant functional traits and environmental conditions shape community assembly and ecosystem functioning during restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology.