Welcome to the Baer Lab
My research interests are in the realms of soil, ecosystem, community, and restoration ecology. Most of my research is conducted in former agricultural systems restored to grassland. I use manipulative approaches, as well as natural variation in climate and soil, to address theoretical and applied questions about factors that influence above- and belowground recovery during ecological restoration. My current research projects examine the roles of (i) interannual variation in climate on trajectories of community development; (ii) soil heterogeneity on restoring plant diversity; and (iii) ecotypic variation on plant diversity and ecosystem functioning in restored prairie. My research also uses grasslands restored at different times under contrasting climates, soil, and levels of plant diversity to model and reveal factors controlling the recovery of soil nutrient pools, microbial communities, roots, soil structure, and sequestered carbon in restored grasslands throughout the U.S. Midwest and South Africa.
For more information, please take a look at the past and current research projects.