Ben’s research is focused at the intersection of community ecology and disturbance ecology. He is especially interested in the effects of forest disturbances (natural and anthropogenic) on community-level metrics (e.g., relative abundances of species and functional types). He is also interested in methodological issues and the ways in which different experimental designs and statistical approaches determine what can be soundly inferred. He is drawn to innovative research initiatives that will advance broad ecological theories, as well as applied projects that seek to enhance forest health, management, and/or conservation.
As a postdoc in the Potts Lab, Ben is working on several aspects of tropical forest ecology and conservation. He is currently a) investigating the effects of selective logging on biodiversity and stand structure in peninsular Malaysia, b) assessing how pseudoreplication in the tropical logging-effects literature has affected conservation strategies, and c) developing a forest management tool to minimize extinction risk in tropical production forest landscapes.
Ben’s doctoral research, which was conducted in California’s coastal conifer forests, focused on the effects of two distinct disturbances: wildfire and sudden oak death (an emerging forest disease caused by a non-native pathogen). Specifically, he studied a) the role of fire in the competitive dynamics of coast redwood forest, b) effects of sudden oak death on forest stand structure, c) tree regeneration in forests impacted by sudden oak death, and d) sudden oak death disease progression in two forest types at two spatial scales. He also led a side project that explored relationships between biome and urban tree species composition throughout the continental United States