Background, Research Interests, and Current Projects:
Sarah received her B.A. in biology from Concordia University, Irvine, and spent a year skiing before attending graduate school. For her M.S., Sarah has been modeling interactions between fire, vegetation, and nutrient cycling across the Lake Tahoe Basin. She and her collaborators developed a nutrient cycling module for the LANDIS-II forest dynamics simulation model and are using it to examine the relationship between forest structure and function.
Currently, Sarah is researching tree population dynamics at Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a springs complex at the border of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts. The project will determine how different life stages of Fraxinus velutina , Prosopis glandulosa , and P. pubescens respond to water stress gradients, plant-plant interactions, climate, and a legacy of agricultural land use. This will clarify the population processes and global and local drivers responsible for spatial patterns of trees by species, size, and sex, specifically testing the stress gradient hypothesis and assembly theory.