From Death Comes Life  

Integrating disease ecology, mycology, and community ecology, our lab explores the nature and outcomes of plant-microbe interactions, as well as the ecology and epidemiology of fungal pathogens of tropical trees, using a combination of surveys and experiments in the forest, greenhouse, and lab.

Objectives of my lab at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI): Develop a comprehensive and interpretable understanding of plant-fungal interactions across scales (individual- to forest-level), space (horizontal and vertical axes and their associated abiotic and biotic gradients), time (intra- and inter-annual), and ontogeny of long-lived trees to identify microbial-driven processes and outcomes governing forest dynamics under current and projected climate conditions.

Featured publications

Spear, E. R. and K. D. Broders. 2021. Host-generalist fungal pathogens of seedlings may maintain forest diversity via host-specific impacts and differential susceptibility among tree species. New Phytologist 231: 460-474.

Spear, E. R. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships and spatial distributions of putative fungal pathogens of seedlings across a rainfall gradient in Panama. Fungal Ecology 26: 65-73.

Spear, E. R., P. D. Coley, and T. A. Kursar. 2015. Do pathogens limit the distributions of tropical trees across a rainfall gradient? Journal of Ecology 103: 165-174.

Featured story

The Plot

Camille Delavaux

My Journey to Barro Colorado Island (Part 3 of 3)

STRI from Myth to Reality: Working on Barro Colorado Island as Part of a Community.