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Lauren Sullivan

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, 2014 Iowa State University

Office: 105 Tucker Hall
Phone: Information not available
Additional: Website, Twitter, Google-Scholar
Headshot of Lauren Sullivan


Research summary

Spatial plant population and community ecology

Research description

In my research, I use empirical and mathematical tools to understand how plant movement influences population and community dynamics. In particular, I focus on how different global change factors like, habitat fragmentation, nutrient loading, and alterations to native herbivore communities cause changes in plant reproduction and dispersal, and the resulting consequences of this movement for conservation and restoration ecology.

Plant dispersal is an important demographic process that drives both ecological (e.g. community assembly, invasions) and evolutionary (e.g. gene flow) dynamics. My research program entwines field-based experiments with theory to more deeply understand dispersal as a process. Specifically, I experimentally address common simplifying assumptions about dispersal, and create theoretical models that incorporate these results to more accurately represent how dispersal plays a role in structuring plant population and community dynamics. My goal is to find ways to harness natural dispersal to increase plant species diversity in restored landscapes.

Areas of interest: movement ecology, population ecology, community ecology, theory, experimental design and statistics, Bayesian statistics, restoration ecology, science education

Select Publications

Select Publications

*Sullivan, L. L., *Ballen, C. J., and Cotner, S. (2018). Small group gender ratios impact biology class performance and peer evaluations. PLOS ONE, 13(4):e0195129 *Equal contribution

Anderson, T. M., et al. (2018). Herbivory and eutrophication mediate grassland plant nutrient responses across a global climatic gradient. Ecology, 99(4):822-831

Frater, P. N., Borer, E. T., Fay, P. A., Jin, V., Knaeble, B., Seabloom, E. W., Sullivan, L. L., Wedin, D., and Harpole, W. S. (2018). Nutrients and environment influence arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization both independently and interactively in Schizachyrium scoparium. Plant and Soil, 425(1-2):493-506.

Galic, N., Sullivan, L. L., Grimm, V., and Forbes, V. E. (2018). When things don't add up: quantifying impacts of multiple stressors from individual metabolism to ecosystem processing. Ecology Letters, 21:568-577.

Harpole, W. S., et al. (2017). Out of the shadows: multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity. Functional Ecology, 31:1839-1846.

Sullivan, L. L., Li, B., Miller, T. E. X., Neubert, M. G., and Shaw, A. K. (2017). Density dependence in demography and dispersal generates fluctuating invasion speeds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 114(19):5053-5058.

Harpole, W. S., et al. (2016). Addition of multiple limiting resources reduces grassland diversity. Nature, 537(7618):93-96.

Flores-Moreno, H., et al. (2016). Climate modifies response of non-native and native species richness to nutrient enrichment. Philosophical Transactions B, 371:20150273.

Sullivan, L. L., Danielson, B. J., and Harpole, W. S. (2016). Mammalian herbivores alter the population growth and spatial establishment of an early-establishing grassland species. PLOS ONE, 11(2):e0147715.

Seabloom, E. W., et al. (2015). Plant species' origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands. Nature Communications, 6:7710.

Sitters, J., Atkinson, C. L., Guelzow, N., Kelly, P., and Sullivan, L. L. (2015). Spatial stoichiometry: cross-ecosystem material flows and their impact on recipient ecosystems and organisms. Oikos, 124(7):920-930

Haddad, N. M., Brudvig, L. A., Damschen, E. I., Evans, D. M., Johnson, B. L., Levey, D. J., Orrock, J. L., Resasco, J., Sullivan, L. L., Tewksbury, J. J., Wagner, S. A., and Weldon, A. J. (2014). Potential negative ecological effects of corridors. Conservation Biology, 28(5):1178-1187.

Borer, E. T., et al. (2014). Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature, 508(7497):517-520.

Seabloom, E. W., et al. (2013). Predicting invasion in grassland ecosystems: Is exotic dominance the real embarrassment of richness? Global Change Biology, 19(12):3677-3687.

Schafer, J. L., Sullivan, L. L., Weekley, C. W., and Menges, E. S. (2013). Effects of habitat and time-since-fire on recruitment, survival, and reproduction of Paronychia chartacea ssp. chartacea, a short-lived Florida scrub endemic herb. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 140(2):181-195.

Adler, P. B., et al. (2011). Productivity is a poor predictor of plant species richness. Science, 333:1750-1753.

Sullivan, L. L., Johnson, B. L., Brudvig, L. A., and Haddad, N. M. (2011). Can dispersal mode predict corridor effects on plant parasites? Ecology, 92(8):1559-1564.

Sullivan, L. L., Wildova, R., Goldberg, D., and Vogel, C. (2010). Growth of three cattail (Typha) taxa in response to elevated CO2. Plant Ecology, 207:121-129.

Honors & Awards

Selected honors and awards

College of Biological Sciences Impactful Research Award for Postdoctoral Scientists - University of Minnesota 2017

Phi Beta Kappa, University of Michigan 2007

Alumni War Memorial Award, University of Michigan 2006

James B. Angell Scholar, University of Michigan 2003