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Reg Francia, PhD Student

Community Assembly in Prairie Ecosystem Restoration (CAPER)

My broad research interests include biodiversity, ecosystem function, plant ecology, and restoration ecology. I am San Diego native and proud Filipino American. At UCLA, I received a B.S. in Environmental Science and concentration in Environmental Health and with that research experiences that empowered and motivated me to address widespread ecological destruction. For my Master’s thesis, I worked with Dr. Alexandra Wright at California State University Los Angeles where I focused on plant ecology and dove into complex theoretical ecological concepts and mathematical models. This is where my passion for ecology was ignited. For my project, I used a meta-analysis to examine, for the first time, how under-vegetation cooling and warming can vary across ecosystems globally and how these temperature modifications affect plant performance of neighboring species.


For my PhD, I am working on our biodiversity-ecosystem function experiment which was established based on realistic combinations of plant species found at Nachusa Grasslands, a restored tallgrass prairie. For my dissertation, I aim to address 1) how do community changes in diversity (i.e., species richness and functional trait diversity) affect ecosystem function in a restored prairie ecosystem? (2) how does management of restored grasslands such as grazing influence ecosystem function?

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