Sarah Kimball, Ph.D. Current position:
Univeristy of Arizona (UofA) Post-Doctoral Researcher.
Graduate Work: PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Irvine UCI 2007
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of California, Irvine
Some of my research:
Physiological, morphological, and life history traits of organisms can directly influence their ability to establish and persist in the environment. Sets of traits determine how species interact with environmental conditions and with each other to determine population dynamics and, ultimately, community composition. How does the performance of individual species, as regulated by traits interacting with the environment, determine community structure? I study how natural selection shapes traits of individual species, and how those traits interact with changing environmental conditions to influence population dynamics and thus determine community assembly and composition. This topic is of fundamental importance to the field of ecology to establish links between functional biology, evolution, and community ecology, providing greater understanding of the maintenance of diversity in the context of global change.
Collaborators and Current Projects
of coastal sage scrub and native annual communities:
Sonoran Desert winter annual community: Work with Amy Angert, Jennifer Gremer, Travis Huxman, and Larry Venable, focuses on a tradeoff between relative growth rate and water use efficiency. Such physiological traits relate to phenological differences among species, determine species’ responses to global change, and promote coexistence.
Range limits and hybridization: I worked with Diane Campbell to study how pollinator and physiological trait differences define the elevational range limits of two species that hybridize along an altitudinal gradient. I am continuing to investigate this hybrid system between Penstemon newberryi and P. davidsonii in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.