IMG_3724Welcome to the Collinge Lab at CU-Boulder!

Our research centers on the ecological consequences of human-induced changes to natural systems. We study the impacts of habitat loss, fragmentation, and restoration on the persistence of native species, communities, and ecosystems.

These days, our primary research activities focus on a long-term, large-scale restoration experiment in California, which is devoted to integrating ecological theory with vernal pool ecosystem restoration. Check out Vernal Pools under the “Research” tab to learn more!

Students and research associates in the Collinge lab are engaged in a diverse set of research projects, all united by the theme of understanding human impacts to native ecosystems. Recent projects investigate the role of annual weather variability on abundance and distribution of vernal pool plants; the effects of leaf litter accumulation and the soil seed bank on vernal pool plant community dynamics; the impacts of climate change for pika distribution, behavior and physiology; the ecological and social impacts of past, current and future land use decisions in the western Great Plains; and riparian restoration in the Colorado River Delta. Collectively, our research is particularly relevant to the interface between environmental science and policy regarding ecological processes and human activities.

Prospective Students

New publication from the Collinge lab!

July 22, 2016

20140427_165621Congratulations to Chris Javornik for the publication of his masters’ thesis research, “Influences of annual weather variability on vernal pool plant abundance and community composition,” in the journal Aquatic Botany:

Great work, Chris!

New news

June 30, 2016

After a long hiatus since our last update (translation: Akasha graduated and Sharon did not pick up the slack…), there are many great events to report from the Collinge lab. Chris Javornik successfully defended his BA/MA thesis (November 2014) and has been employed as a Fisheries Technician by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  Akasha Faist successfully defended her PhD dissertation (December 2014) and is currently a postdoctoral researcher studying restoration of biological soil crusts with Dr. Nichole Barger in EBIO. Mari Elise Ewing successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation (October 2015) and is an Assistant Professor of environmental studies at Austin College in Sherman, TX. And Karen Schlatter successfully defended her MA thesis (April 2016) and is employed as an Adaptive Management Specialist and Program Manager for the Colorado River Delta Program of the Sonoran Institute in Tucson, AZ. Such great work and great successes, everyone! And Sharon has been busy collecting and analyzing vernal pool data and will now try to be more timely with news updates…

Successfully defended!

November 18, 2014

Congratulations to Nifer Wilkening for defending her PhD dissertation and to Chris Javornik for defending his masters thesis! Nice work!

Karen wins best presentation award!

September 4, 2014

Congratulations to Karen Schlatter for winning the award for best Master’s/Bachelor’s student presentation at the 2014 restoration conference in New Orleans: CEER (Conference on Ecological and Ecosystem Restoration)!

April 2014 field work

May 6, 2014

20140426_091510 Although it was a dry winter out in California there was enough rain to fill up the pools (at least for some of the time) and we had a good showing of vernal pool flora out at our site.   Now, after completing various field related experiments we are  back in Colorado entering our findings and getting ready to analyze the data!

Winter drought

February 22, 2014

With California experiencing a strong winter drought we were happy to see some of the pools fill up with the last big rain event in the beginning of Februrary.2 51 Here is hoping for more rain!

September 25, 2013

The Collinge lab welcomes our newest member Karen Schlatter!  Karen is starting a MA in ENVS and will be working on the vernal pool project.

Exciting lab news!

July 15, 2013

Big things are happening in the Collinge lab!  Mari Elise Ewing will be starting an assistant professor position at Austin College in Sherman Texas in August and Nifer Wilkening will be heading to India on a Fulbright Fellowship to study pikas in the Himalayas. Congrats to you both!

December 2012 Travis visit

January 29, 2013

With the early rains that are hitting California this year it is  shaping up to be a good year for the vernal pool natives.  After only a few blustery days we have recently completed a successful field trip to Travis and now we wait for the spring blooms!


Ecological Society of America

September 4, 2012

After a busy summer our lab came together for the 97th annual Ecological Society of America conference in Portland Oregon.  Sharon Collinge presented her and Chris Ray’s recent work on habitat quality versus connectivity in an endemic  vernal pool species.  Akasha Faist explained how invasive species are altering vernal pool soil properties.  Jennifer Wilkening presented a portion of her dissertation on how  fecal samples can be used to understand physiological stress on the American pika. While  Mari Elise Ewing focused on the more social concept of how decision making can alter  land use patterns in the Great Basin.  All in all it was a great success and we look forward to next year!