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PhD, Ecology, Penn State
MS, Ecology, Penn State
BA, Biology, Environmental Studies, Oberlin College
Christy studies the causes and consequences of plant community distributions across spatial and temporal scales. Her research focuses on how interactions among climate, disturbance, and community composition influence species distributions and ecosystem functioning through time at individual sites and entire landscapes.
At large scales, climate appears to drive species distribution, but these patterns do not clearly align with the results of individual-based studies of species recruitment, growth, and survival. Christy seeks to develop cohesive, scalable explanations of climate and community assembly through three main areas research: (1) identifying the key mechanisms and feedbacks involved in the process of community assembly; (2) documenting when and where these processes drive changes in species distributions; and (3) quantifying the ecosystem-level consequences of plant community change.
The goal of Christy’s research is to provide the information and tools necessary to understand and predict how pressures from climate change and human management impact the world around us.
Christy joined the Morton Arboretum in January 2017. Prior to joining The Morton Arboretum, Christy gained practical forest conservation experience working with various conservation and research organizations across the US, most recently as a postdoctoral research associate at Boston University working with model-data synthesis of forest change over the past millennium with the PalEON Project. Christy’s research has been published in top-tier ecology journals such as Global Change Biology and Ecology.