Ecology Reading Group

Lab Group Schedule

Prospective Students



Jean H. Burns, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology

Case Western Reserve University

2080 Adelbert Road

307 DeGrace Hall

Cleveland, OH 44106-7080

jbm122 <@> case.edu



Publications in the Burns lab

1 Postdoctoral mentee

2 Undergraduate student


Burns, Jean H., Brian L. Anacker, Sharon Y. Strauss, David J. Burke. in press. Soil microbial community variation correlates most strongly with plant species identity, followed by soil chemistry, spatial location and plant genus. AoB PLANTS. doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plv030

del Pino 2, Gaston, Angela J. Brandt 1, and Jean H. Burns. 2015. Light heterogeneity interacts with plant-induced soil heterogeneity to affect plant trait expression. Plant Ecology. DOI 10.1007/s11258-015-0448-x pdf.

Brandt, Angela J., S. Conor Leahy 2, Nicole M. Zimmerman 2 and Jean H. Burns. 2015.Plant trait expression responds to establishment timing and depends on soil environment. Oecologia. DOI 10.1007/s00442-014-3216-z pdf.


Burns, Jean H. 2014. To what degree are invaders drivers or passengers of phylogenetic community structure? Journal of Vegetation Science. 25(6): 1311–1312. pdf

Burns, Jean H. and Angela J. Brandt 1. 2014. Heterogeneity in plant–soil feedbacks and resident population dynamics affect mutual invasibility. Journal of Ecology. 102: 1048–1057. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12258

Data archiving: Data Dryad:

Burns, J.H. & Brandt 1, A.J. 2014. Data from: Heterogeneity in plant-soil feedbacks
and resident population dynamics affect mutual invasibility. Dryad Digital Repository, doi: 10.5061/dryad.gj7hb.

Brandt 1, Angela J., Gaston del Pino 2, Jean H. Burns. 2014. Experimental protocol for manipulating plant-induced soil heterogeneity. Journal of Visualized Experiments. 85: e51580, doi: 10.3791/51580. pdf


Burns, Jean H., Eleanor A. Pardini, Michele R. Schutzenhofer, Y. Anny Chung 2, Katie J. Seidler 2, and Tiffany M. Knight. 2013. Greater fecundity contributes to the population growth of invasive plants in comparison with their noninvasive relatives. Ecology. 94(5): 995–1004. doi: 10.1890/12-1310.1 pdf


Data registry: http://data.esa.org/

Data archiving: http://www.demogr.mpg.de/ Contact for the database: Roberto Salguero-Gomez.

Brandt 1, Angela J., Hans de Kroon, Heather L. Reynolds, and Jean H. Burns. 2013. Soil heterogeneity generated by plant-soil feedbacks has implications for species recruitment and coexistence. Journal of Ecology. 101(2): 277–286.

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12042

Link to the Special Feature in the Journal of Ecology on Plant-Soil Feedbacks.


Burns, Jean H. and Sharon Y. Strauss.  2012. Effects of competition on phylogenetic signal and phenotypic plasticity in plant functional traits.  Ecology. 93(8) Supplement, S126–S137. pdf


Burns, Jean H. and Sharon Y. Strauss.  2011.  More closely related species are more ecologically similar in an experimental test.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  108(13): 5302–5307. pdf SI appendix Corrections

Discussion: 12 September 2011 Check out Scarcozona's blog for an interview with Jean at ESA in 2011. 29 April 2011 Mark Cadotte's EEB and Flow blog entry on niche conservatism. 14 March 2011 Science Daily featured an article on our work at Bodega Bay.

Burns, Jean H.  2011. Research perspective: a promising way forward in determining weediness and invasiveness of newly- introduced species.  Topics in Canadian Weed Science.  Volume 9.  ed by. Hugh J. Beckie and Linda M. Hall.

Burns, Jean H., Robert B. Faden, and Scott J. Steppan.  2011.  Phylogenetic studies in the Commelinaceae subfamily Commelinoideae inferred from Nuclear Ribosomal and Chloroplast DNA Sequences.  Systematic Botany.  36(2): 268–276. pdf

This article has been sited by the Hadwen Arboretum Project.

Burns, Jean H., Tia-Lynn Ashman, Janette A. Steets, Alexandra Harmon-Threat, and Tiffany M. Knight. 2011.   A phylogenetically controlled analysis of the roles of reproductive traits in plant invasions.  Oecologia.  166(4): 1009–1017. pdf


Yvonne M. Buckley, Satu Ramula, Simon P. Blomberg, Jean H. Burns, Elizabeth E. Crone, Johan Ehrlén, Tiffany M. Knight, Jean-Baptiste Pichancourt, Helen Quested, and Glenda M. Wardle.  2010.  Causes and consequences of variation in plant population growth rate: a synthesis of matrix population models in a phylogenetic context.  Ecology Letters. 13: 1182–1197. pdf

Burns, Jean H., Simon P. Blomberg, Elizabeth E. Crone, Johan Ehrlén, Tiffany M. Knight, Jean-Baptiste Pichancourt, Satu Ramula, Glenda M. Wardle and Yvonne M. Buckley.  2010.  Empirical tests of life-history evolution theory using phylogenetic analysis of plant demography. Journal of Ecology. 1–11. pdf


Harmon-Threatt 2, Alexandra N., Jean H. Burns, Lyudmila A. Shemyakina 2, and Tiffany M. Knight. 2009. Breeding system and pollination ecology of introduced plants compared to their native relatives. American Journal of Botany. 96: 1544–1550. pdf

Miller, Thomas E., Jean H. Burns, and Casey P. terHorst. 2009. The ghost of competition present. The American Naturalist. 173: 347–353. pdf


Ramula, Satu, Tiffany M. Knight, Jean H. Burns, and Yvonne M. Buckley. 2008. General guidelines for invasive plant management based on comparative demography of invasive and native plant populations. Journal of Applied Ecology. 45: 1124–1133. pdf

Burns, Jean H., Pablo Munguia, Benjamin E. Nomann, Sarah J. Braun, Casey P. terHorst and Thomas E. Miller. 2008.Vegetative morphology and trait correlations in 54 species of Commelinaceae. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.158: 257–268. pdf

Burns, Jean H. 2008. Demographic performance predicts invasiveness of species in the Commelinaceae under high nutrient conditions. Ecological Applications. 18(2): 335–346. pdf


Miller, T. E., Jean H. Burns, Pablo Munguia, Eric L. Walters, Jamie M. Kneitel, Paul Richards, Nicholas Mouquet, and Hannah Buckley. 2007. Evaluating support for the resource-ratio hypothesis: a reply to Wilson et al. The American Naturalist. 169(5): 707–708. pdf

Burns, Jean H., Stacey L. Halpern, and Alice A. Winn. 2007 .A test for a cost of opportunism in invasive species in the Commelinaceae. Biological Invasions. 9: 213–225. pdf

data archiving: data dryad. DOI: 10.5061/dryad.8107q


Burns, Jean H. 2006. Relatedness and environment affect traits associated with invasive and noninvasive introduced Commelinaceae. Ecological Applications. 16(4): 1367–1376. pdf

Burns, Jean H. and Alice A. Winn. 2006. Are invasive species more plastic? A comparison of plastic responses to competition by invasive and noninvasive congeners in the Commelinaceae. Biological Invasions. 8:797–807. pdf

The data in this paper has been used in the meta-analysis by Davidson et al. 2011.


Miller, Thomas E., Jean H. Burns, Pablo Munguia, Eric L. Walters, Jamie M. Kneitel, Paul Richards, Nicholas Mouquet, and Hannah Buckley. 2005. A Critical Review of Twenty Years' Use of the Resource-ratio Theory. The American Naturalist. 165: 439–448. pdf


Buckley, Hannah, Jean H. Burns, Jamie M. Kneitel, Eric L. Walters, Pablo Munguia, and Thomas E. Miller. 2004. Small-scale patterns in community structure of Sarracenia pururea inquilines. Community Ecology. 5(2): 181–188. pdf

Burns, Jean H. and Thomas E. Miller. 2004. Invasion of Chinese Tallow (Sapium sebiferum) in the Lake Jackson area, northern Florida. American Midland Naturalist. 152: 410–417. pdf

Burns, Jean H. 2004. A comparison of invasive and non-invasive dayflowers (Commelinaceae) across experimental nutrient and water gradients. Diversity and Distributions. 10: 387–397. pdf

The data in this paper has been used in the meta-analysis by Davidson et al. 2011.


Miller, Thomas E., Jamie M. Kneitel, and Jean H. Burns. 2002. Effect of community structure on invasion success and rate. Ecology. 83: 898–905. pdf



Journal of Visualized Experiments methods paper (Brandt et al. 2014).

Demography Working Group

Plant Population Syndromes Working Group.

Our plant population syndromes working group, organized by Yvonne Buckley and funded by the Australian Research Council and Landcare Research NZ, has produced two papers, one on the causes and consequences of variation in population growth rate (Buckley et al. 2010) and one on life-history evolution in a demographic context (Burns et al. 2010).