Elisabeth Forrestel

Elisabeth Forrestel

Elisabeth Forrestel

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, Wolkovich Lab

1300 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131
Phone: 617.384.5631
Fax: 617.384.6596


PhD Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2015), Yale University
BS Biology (2004), Cornell University

Research Interests

As a plant ecologist and evolutionary biologist, I am interested in understanding the functional basis of how plants respond to environmental variation, which is critical in the face of changing climates. Utilizing phylogenetic and comparative approaches, I address questions of how divergence in biogeographic and evolutionary history (i.e., variation in species diversity, clade representation and disturbance history) can influence plant, community and ecosystem function, and how knowledge of these differences can help us better predict responses to environmental change. To date, I have studied the ecological and evolutionary drivers of plant functional strategies associated with seasonal flooding in vernal pools, as well as gradients of grazing, fire and water availability in grass communities. My current research in the Wolkovich Lab is focused on understanding the genetic, functional and phenological basis of climate responses in wine grapes, using a combination of modeling, field collections and greenhouse studies.

Selected Publications

  • Forrestel EJ, DD Ackerly, NC Emery. 2015. The joint evolution of traits and habitat: ontogenetic shifts in leaf morphology and wetland habitat specialization in Lasthenia. New Phytologist.
  • Forrestel EJ, MJ Donoghue, MD Smith. 2015. Functional traits between dominant species drive divergent responses to large herbivore loss in mesic savanna grasslands of North America and South Africa. Journal of Ecology.
  • Griffith DM, TM Anderson, CP Osborne, CAE Stromberg, EJ Forrestel, CJ Still. 2015. Biogeographically distinct controls on C3 and C4 grass distributions: merging community with physiological ecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  • Forrestel EJ, MJ Donoghue, MD Smith. 2014. Convergent phylogenetic and functional responses to altered fire regimes in mesic savanna grasslands of North America and South Africa. New Phytologist.
  • Emery NC, EJ Forrestel, G Jui, M Park, BB Baldwin, DD Ackerly. 2012. Niche evolution across spatial scales: climate and habitat specialization in California Lasthenia (Asteraceae). Ecology.