Alyssa Willson

I am a PhD student studying forest community dynamics in the context of global change within the PalEON project and the Ecological Forecasting Initiative.  In order to improve forecasts of how forests (and the carbon they store!) will respond to climate change far into the future, it is important to quantify and update our current understanding of how forest communities work over long timescales.  In this context, my research brings together mathematical models and multiple datastreams in a model-data fusion framework to provide estimates of forest structure and composition with fully specified uncertainties.  Mathematical models represent our understanding of the processes governing forest dynamics, and assimilating multiple datastreams helps us to account for different aspects of forest functioning.  I use this framework to specifically understand how forest demography influenced the rate at which forests change as climate changed in the past.  Ultimately, this research will be used to inform forest management decisions in light of future climate change.