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Lara A. Souza, PhD

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Lara A. Souza, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Plant Biology

31 George Lynn Cross Hall
770 Van Vleet Oval
Norman, OK 73019

Souza Lab Website

BA, Appalachian State University, 1999
MSc, Appalachian State University, 2003
PhD,  University of Tennessee, 2008
Postdoctoral Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2008
Postdoctoral Fellow, The University of Tennessee, 2009 -2012

Research Interests:

I am a plant ecologist who is broadly interested in the role of global change, such as biological invasions and climatic change, in shaping the structure of plant communities and associated ecosystem processes. More specifically, I investigate the role of resource and climatic gradients, and the interplay of such factors, in structuring diversity across and within species in natural plant communities across spatial and temporal scales. Further, I quantify how diversity, both within and across species, mediates ecosystem properties such as productivity and net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in the context of global change. We work in temperate prairies, tropical savannahs and montane meadows in order to tackle our research questions.

Research Areas:
Plant ecology, Community and Ecosystem Ecology, Biological Invasions, Climate Change

Relevant publications:

Stuble, KL, Ma S, Liang J, Luo Y, Classen AT, Souza L (2019) Long-term impacts of warming impacts decomposition and accelerate the turnover of labile, not recalcitrant, litter. Ecosphere 0 (5) e02715

Poe N, Stuble KL, Souza L (2019) Small Vertebrate Herbivores, not Invertebrates or Nitrogen, Drive Shifts in Grassland Community Structure. Ecology & Evolution 9: 3577-3587

Stephens KL, Dantzler-Kyer ME, Patten MA, Souza L (2019) Differential responses to global changeof aquatic and terrestrial invasive species Ecosphere 10 (4)

Souza L, Stuble KL, Genung MA, Classen AT (2017) Plant genotype identity and intra-specific diversity trump soil nutrient availability to shape old-field structure and function. Functional Ecology 31:965-974.

Stuble KL, Souza L (2016) Priority effects: natives, but not exotics, pay to arrive late. Journal of Ecology 104:987-993.

Zheng Shi, Xia Xu, Souza L, Wilcox K, Jiang L, Liang J, Xia, J, Luo Y. (2016)  Dual mechanisms regulate ecosystem stability under decade-long warming and biofuel harvest. Nature Communications DOI:10.1038/ncomms11973

Souza L, Zelikova TJ, Sanders NJ (2015) Bottom-up and top-down effects on plant communities: nutrients limit productivity, but insects determine diversity and composition. Oikos 125:566-575

Zelikova TJ, Blumenthal DM, Williams DG, Souza L, LeCain DR, Morgan JA, Pendall E (2014) Long-term exposure to elevated CO2 enhances plant community stability by suppressing dominant plant species in a mixed-grass prairie. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111:15456-15461.