Our research revolves around three major themes that closely interact with each other: (1) the effects of changes in climate on the functioning of arid and semiarid ecosystems, (2) scenarios of changes in biodiversity and their consequences for the functioning of ecosystems, and (3) effects of woody-plant encroachment on ecosystem services. We tackled these three themes at multiple scales from the local to the regional and global. We are driven by questions and hypotheses and use multiple tools to address them; including synthesis, manipulative field experiments, and simulation modeling. We work extensively in the development of scenarios as a way of simplifying, understanding, and communicating the complex relationships that emerge from the study of social-ecological systems.
We have worked in many regions of the world from the Patagonian Steppe and grasslands of the Great Plains of North America to arid ecosystems of South Africa and the annual grasslands of California. Currently, most of the experimental work is focused on the Chihuahuan Desert, at the Jornada Long Term Ecological Research site. Our research effort is closely integrated with our education and outreach mission. We collaborate with several institutions beyond Arizona State University including Asombro Institute for Science Education and SARAS.