Area of Interest
Research topics: My research is generally focused on the ecology and evolution of species interactions. Most of my work to date has focused on how abiotic and biotic interactions shape plant species coexistence and biodiversity patterns over environmental gradients. I tackle these questions by integrating ecological theory with empirical data, and I have conducted field work in systems ranging from grasslands to forests. My current research focuses on three themes:
- Soil microbial controls over plant communities
- Using functional traits to study demography and species interactions
- Pedagogy of quantatitive topics in ecology and evolution
Research process: The insights from our research are only as robust as the processes that led to the results. Science as a whole, and ecology in particular, has had several notable and painful reminders that many dominant research practices in our field are fundamentally flawed. Such flawed practices recreate societal inequity and oppression, and generate unreliable results. To this end, a major emphasis in my lab is to continually reflect on how we conduct research, to embrace ethical research practices at all steps, and to advocate for such practices beyond our lab. I am always open to conversations about how we conduct research, including interdisciplinary collaborations that turn a critical eye to the field of ecology.
Yan, X., Levine, J., and Kandlikar, G.S. 2022. A quantitative synthesis of microbial effects on plant diversity.
McGuire, R. , Hayashi, K. , Yan, X. , Carita Vaz, M., Cinoglu, D., Cowen, M., Sullivan, L., Martínez Blancas, A., Vazquez-Morales, S., and Kandlikar, G.S. 2022. EcoEvoApps: interactive applications for teaching quantitative models in ecology and evolution.
Kandlikar, G.S., Yan, X., Levine, J.M., and Kraft, N.J.B. 2021. Soil microbes generate stronger fitness differences than stabilization among California annual plants.