About our lab

Welcome to the homepage of the Fraterrigo lab group at the University of Illinois in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. We work at the interface of ecosystem and landscape ecology. Our goals are twofold: (1) to provide the knowledge needed to predict how ecosystems, and the services that they supply, will respond to future environmental change; and (2) to use this information to scale up and support decision-making that enhances ecosystem resilience.

To achieve these goals, we integrate information about ecological processes that operate over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Although we work in many different areas, our research is unified by our focus on two main questions:

  1. How do vegetation patterns respond to environmental change and disturbance?
  2. How do these changes affect biodiversity and ecosystem function, including the retention and storage of nutrients and carbon in plants and soils?

We use both experimental and observational approaches and a variety of tools to integrate fine- and coarse-grained perspectives of ecosystems and how they function: from laboratory assays that provide insights into the activities of soil microorganisms to computer simulation models that predict dynamics at watershed and landscape scales. We work in the Midwest, eastern US, and in Southwest and Arctic Alaska.