Plant communities are a result of their environment, competition among individuals, and interactions between the plants and co-occurring organisms, such as those in the soil surrounding roots. Human-induced changes in climate and nutrient availability are altering these influencing agents, leading to a loss in community diversity and simplified function. My research investigates the mechanisms that contribute this structural and functional change. My current projects include determining the potential synergistic effects of biochar (a carbon-rich material that is similar to charcoal) on complex perennial systems that may be adjacent to, or restored from, agricultural fields. In the context of the Nutrient Network I am also investigating how the degree of plant dependence on soil organisms contributes to non-linear responses to nitrogen enrichment. Finally, by monitoring populations of western prairie fringed orchid and analyzing long-term data sets, I am working with researchers at the Minnesota DNR to determine the influence of climate on the number of flowering plants. These projects occur along a latitudinal gradient from Minnesota to Texas and throughout Iowa and in divers array of systems including experimental corn fields, tall and mid-grass prairie, maple-basswood forest, sub-tropical thorn scrub, post oak savanna, and the Edward’s Plateau. The results of this research will inform management, such as restoration, to promote long-term community and ecosystem sustainability.