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

 To Center for Environmental Biology homepage Kimball CV | Download CV as PDF | Publications
Sarah Kimball

University of California, Irvine
Center for Environmental Biology
Irvine, CA 92697-1450
office: 949-824-7151

email: skimball/at/

Google Scholar Page

Some of my research:

Tradeoffs and biodiversity

Restoration with functional groups

Global change in Coastal Sage Scrub communities

Traits influencing plant community composition

Penstemon hybrid zone: pollination, physiology, and fitness



Reproductive Isolation

Restoration ecology at Carrizo Plain National Monument

Local ecology and geographic range limits





I am a plant ecologist who studies how plant traits interact with environmental conditions to determine population dynamics, range limits, community composition, and nutrient cycling. My work is conducted in the context of global change and ecological restoration.

Research Interests

I study ecology across scales, investigating patterns through space, time, and at different levels of biological organization, to understand mechanisms behind observed patterns. I am interested in fundamental ecological questions and applied environmental concerns. 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, community composition, and the cycling of nutrients through ecosystems. How does the performance of individual species, as regulated by traits interacting with the environment, determine community structure and nutrient cycling? 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. 

I aim to advance ecological theory while simultaneously providing knowledge that may be used for the restoration and conservation of ecological communities.

Collaborators and Current Projects

Conservation and restoration of Southern California plant communities:
UCI's Center for Environmental Biology is collaborating with partner organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Crystal Cove State Park, the Crystal Cove Alliance, the Natural Communities Coalition, and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to address management concerns throughout Orange County. This collaboration addresses many research questions, including practical concerns regarding restoration methods and plant community health through time as well as fundamental questions such as how plant traits influence community assembly.

Global change and selection on plant traits:
Mike Goulden and Katie Suding established a large rain-out experiment in Coastal Sage Scrub and Grassland communities. I have been working with Mike Goulden and Jennifer Funk to understand plant responses to these long-term manipulations. More recently, I've been collaborating with Jennifer Martiny to investigate the role of plant-microbe feedbacks in determining biotic response to manipulations.

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.