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Daniel Stanton

Assistant Professor


Research Interests

Plant-environment interactions
Ecology and ecophysiology of bryophytes, lichens and vascular plants
Ecosystem ecology


Why do some mosses form cushions? Why do some vascular plants, supposedly more complex and better at transporting water, form moss-like cushions? My research is aimed at why plants (and other organisms, such as lichens) grow and behave the way they do, and what consequences this has for their surroundings. We often think of plants as suffering the conditions imposed by their surroundings. While it is true that they usually cannot flee them, as animals might, the interaction between plants and environment is hardly one way. I am interested in how plants manipulate their local micro-environment through shape and physiology. For example, during my PhD I worked in at a site in the northern Chilean desert where temperate rainforest patches survive despite rainfall lower than any North American desert. By intercepting coastal fogs, which drip to the ground, the trees effectively transform their local environment from desert to wet forest. I am interested in better understanding this phenomenon at a range of scales, forest patches to the structure of individual mosses.

Selected Publications

Stanton DE, J Huallpa, L. Villegas, F. Villasante, JA Armesto, LO Hedin and HS Horn. 2014. Epiphytes Improve Host Plant Water Use by Microenvironment Modification. Functional Ecology DOI:10.1111/1365-2435.12249.

Editor’s choice in Science (344: p1129).

Stanton DE, JA Armesto and LO Hedin. 2014. Ecosystem properties self-organize in response to a directional fog-vegetation interaction. Ecology 95(5) 1203-1212.

Stanton DE, Merlin M, Bryant G., and M. C. Ball. 2014. Water redistribution determines photosynthetic responses to warming and drying in two polar mosses. Plant Functional Biology. 41: 178-186.

Stanton DE, B. Salgado, LO Hedin, and JA Armesto. 2013. Forest patch symmetry depends on direction of resource delivery. Ecosphere. Ecosphere. 4:art65.

Stanton DE and HS Horn. 2013. Epiphytes as ”filter-drinkers”: life form changes across a fog gradient. The Bryologist. 116(1) 34-42.

Shaw AK and DE Stanton. 2012. Leaks in the pipeline: separating demographic inertia from ongoing gender differences in academia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279 (1743): 3736-3741.



100 Ecology
1987 Upper Buford Circle
St. Paul, MN 55108