Research in the Flory Lab at the University of Florida covers a wide variety of topics in plant and ecosystem ecology with a focus on non-native plant invasions and agroecology. Luke also oversees the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas.
Some of the primary research questions we address include: “Which species are likely to become invasive and what habitats are susceptible to invasions?” “How do plant invasions impact communities and ecosystem processes?” and “How will plant invasion dynamics and interactions with native species change over the long-term?” For example, our recent NSF-funded project evaluated how the emergence and accumulation of pathogens might suppress an invasive grass (see Stricker et al., 2016, Ecology Letters) and where and how invasions might have the greatest ecosystem impacts.
Lab members have conducted research on various basic and applied plant and ecosystem ecology questions in diverse systems including climate change effects on coffee in Costa Rica, silvopastures in the Colombian Andes, managed grassland systems in south Florida, invaded forests in the Galapagos, pine forests in north Florida, and deciduous forests throughout the eastern US.
In general, our research group seeks to advance general ecological knowledge of plant communities and to answer applied questions that are relevant to natural areas management, restoration, and conservation.