Dr. Sharon Collinge earned a doctorate in landscape ecology from Harvard University in 1995, and in 1998 became an Assistant Professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She was named a 2004 Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow in recognition of her outstanding leadership ability and desire to communicate scientific issues beyond academic audiences. Dr. Collinge currently teaches courses in conservation biology, restoration ecology, and environmental science, and mentors students in research and career development in these fields. Dr. Collinge’s research is based in grassland ecosystems of the American west and centers on how land use changes affect the survival and persistence of native plants and animals. Her work integrates ecological science with restoration of endangered vernal pool species and ecosystems in California. Her long-term, large-scale restoration experiment with vernal pool plant communities examines factors that influence the formation of these imperiled plant assemblages. Sharon’s newly published book, Ecology of Fragmented Landscapes, synthesizes research on the ecological consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation and reviews ways in which science can inform ecological restoration and conservation planning. This book is intended to serve as a critical reference and touchstone for students and researchers embarking on studies of the ecological consequences of landscape change.
For my dissertation I am broadly interested in plant community dynamics as they relate to restoration success. Specifically, I am looking at the role invasive species play in altering native plant communities in a restored vernal pool setting. I also spend my summers working for the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, CO as a seasonal botanist.
B.A.-M.A. student, EBIO
My areas of focus include: restoration ecology, plant ecology, and climate change ecology. My research examines how changing climatic activities have acted upon plant population dynamics in restored vernal pools. With the findings that I have made I hope to gain a better understanding of how projected climatic conditions will affect future vernal pool restoration efforts.
I’m researching resilience and adaptive capacity in the western Great Plains. My work specifically focuses on understanding the drivers of landowner decision-making and subsequent landscape patterns. In addition to my research, I’ve enjoyed working for the Nature Conservancy, teaching a variety of classes at CU, and serving as an NSF teaching fellow.
I am interested in climate change impacts on alpine ecosystems. More specifically, I am investigating the physiological stress response of an alpine mammal, the American pika, to differences in micro-climate and micro-habitat. I am also currently working with the National Park Service on Pikas in Peril, a research project designed to assess the vulnerability of pikas to predicted changes in climate.
Brita is working on understanding how differences in pollinator species composition can alter seed set in restored and reference vernal pools.
Riley has worked as a field and lab assistant on research related to pikas and climate change. He is currently analyzing lab samples to gain a better understanding of the physiological stress response of pikas.