About our lab

Welcome to the homepage of the Fraterrigo lab group at the University of Illinois in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. Our research emphasizes how processes and interactions at fine spatial scales contribute to emergent processes and properties at broad spatial scales within the context of two main questions:

1. How do vegetation patterns (specifically plant traits) respond to environmental change and disturbance?

2. How do these changes affect ecosystem function, especially the retention and storage of nutrients and carbon in plants and soils?

We use both experimental and observational approaches and a variety of tools to integrate fine- and coarse-grained perspectives of ecosystems and how they function: from laboratory assays that provide insights into the activities of soil microorganisms to computer simulation models that predict dynamics at landscape scales. We work in the midwestern and eastern US, and in Southwest and Arctic Alaska.

We have two overarching goals. First, to provide the mechanistic understanding needed to predict how ecosystems, and the services that they supply, will respond to future environmental change. Second, to use this information to support decision-making that enhances ecosystem resilience.