I am a staff scientist in the Terrestrial Sciences Section working on development of the Community Land Model. My research is primarily motivated by the potential for the biosphere to generate large feedbacks to climate change, via changes in CO2 balance, evaporation and trace gas emissions. Within this, I am involved in the development and testing of new methods for simulating the future of global ecosystems and their responses to change. The development of 'predictive ecology' is in its infancy, and our understanding of ecosystem processes is far from ideal. Dynamic Global Vegetation Models, that attempt to predict the distribution and structure of ecosystems in the future, are thus a necessary but imperfect means by which we attempt to forecast the impacts of global environmental change on natural ecosystems.
Prior to coming to NCAR, I was a post-doc researcher with Nate McDowell at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and also at the University of Sheffield in the UK, where I worked on the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) with Prof. Ian Woodward. My graduate studies were at the University of Edinburgh with Mathew Williams, Patrick Meir and Yadvinder Malhi, where I was involved with a 1-hectare rainfall manipulation experiment in Eastern Brazil, investigating the impact of drought on the Amazon rainforest through plant hydrodynamic models and ecophysiological measurement techniques. Our experiment is ongoing (now the longest-running of its kind), and is yielding more interesting results each year. I also worked for six months as a post-doc and canopy access technician for Maurizio Mencuccinni and Jordi Martinez-Vilalta after my Ph.D. graduation.