Principal Investigator (PI)
My research interests span questions in both basic and applied plant ecology, currently centered primarily on species coexistence theory, forest restoration, and seed conservation. Practical and sustainable conservation efforts cannot be achieved without a solid foundation of scientific understanding. Thus, I aim to apply knowledge and insights from basic science to solve real-world problems. I have worked mainly in Neotropical and Hawaiian forest trees studying seed conservation, forest fragmentation, forest regeneration, species coexistence, seed dispersal, intraspecific variation in functional traits, and seed sourcing for restoration.
Frank completed his B.S. in Biology from Hubei University, M.S. in Ecology from Inner Mongolia University, and M.A. in Professional Development from Dallas Baptist University before joining the lab in Fall 2020 for his Ph.D. Frank conducted fieldwork and analyzed long-term data to study impacts of climate change on phenology of tree species in Hothot, China for his M.S. Before starting his Ph.D., Frank continued to gain lab experience at the Aquatic Ecology Lab at Texas Christian University and field experience at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Canyon, Texas, working as a naturalist interpreter. For his Ph.D., Frank is interested in studying how distribution of soil pollen may predict sexes of dioecious plants above using Hawaiian species.
Sunyoung completed her B.S. in Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution from University of California, San Diego before joining the lab in Fall 2021 for her Ph.D. Sunyoung did her senior thesis project on developing non-destructive indicators for plant aboveground biomass using allometric models in urban green spaces in Southern California (UCSD). She also gained experience examining macrobotanical remains in the Paleoethnobotany Lab at UCSD where she volunteered. Sunyoung’s current research interests lie in understanding both seed conservation and plant functional traits in species coexistence, and applying them for restoration of tropical forests. Sunyoung currently works on a project studying the mechanism of self incompatibility of an endangered species in Hawaiʻi funded by the O’ahu Army Natural Resources Program.