I am a postdoctoral scientist with the University of Idaho Center for Forest Nursery and Seedling Research. The overarching goal of my research is to enhance the health of the world's forests through a better understanding of how past and present climate conditions influence the establishment and growth of new forests. In my current research at the University of Idaho, I use gardens containing thousands of conifer seedlings to study the effects of drought on species native to western North America. My team studies whether successive exposure of seedlings to drought is likely to enhance or reduce their resilience to strong drought. Unfortunately, climate warming is increasing the vulnerability of forests to drought, and different tree species and landscapes respond differently to water limitation, so studies are increasingly necessary to gain an understanding of how best to maintain healthy forests. In my most recently completed research, I studied responses of southwestern white pine (P. strobiformis) to excessive heat exposure during seed production, seed germination, and early seedling growth. That work revealed that warmer temperatures during seed production reduced seed germination and seedling survival. I expect that an improved understanding of the sensitivity of seeds to warming will allow for planning seed collections during periods of time when collected seeds will be most able to yield the forests of the future. Click here to learn more!