Burns lab

The Burns lab explores factors influencing community assembly and biological invasions. Invasive species are a useful model system for understanding community assembly, because introduction of species to a new habitat is an unintended experiment in factors limiting species distributions.


Blogs and News

October 2013

Angela Brandt is off to a postdoc in New Zealand. We wish her the best of luck!

Podcast: Encyclopedia of Life on Bittersweet Nightshade.

2 August 2013

Angela Kaczowka presented her Summer Program for Undergraduate Research poster presentation on "Can Spatiotemporal heterogeneity in soil moisture affect species coexistence?" at the CWRU Intersections poster session.

2 August 2013

Morgan MacBeth and Alexandra Flanigan presented their poster "Do closely related plants create similar soil microbial communities in the rhizosphere?" at the CWRU Intersections poster session.

23-24 March 2013

Colin Cope presented a poster "Does phylogeny help to explain patterns of invasiveness in the Ohio flora?" at the Midwest Ecology and Evolution Conference at Notre Dame

13 March 2013

Jean was nominated for the Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate teaching at CWRU.

March 2013

Angela Brandt's (Brandt et al. 2013) paper on the role of plant-soil feedback generated heterogeneity for plant population establishment is out in a Special Feature in the Journal of Ecology.

8 Jan 2013

Burns et al. (2013) publish a paper on the demography of invasive species: "Greater sexual reproduction contributes to differences in demography of invasive plants and their noninvasive relatives" in Ecology.







Ecology Reading Group

Lab Group Schedule




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


News and events


Our methods protocol on experimental manipulation of plant-induced soil heterogeneity is available at JOVE.

This video methods paper outlines several protocols for creating heterogeneity in the soil that can be created by plant soil feedbacks (Brandt et al. 2014). This type of heterogeneity can influence plant population establishment, and might thus be important for influencing plant community diversity.


Jennifer MurphyJennifer Murphy is awarded a research grant from the Ohio Invasive Plants Council.

Jennifer's project will examine the roles of competition and plant-soil feedbacks in invasion of Rosa multiflora. Congratulations, Jennifer!

Nicole Zimmerman at CWRU FarmLab receives an NSF EAGER award.

We recently received a two year award from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on the role of demographic stochasticity in community assembly at CWRU's University Farm. Above, Nicole Zimmerman is setting up a soil heterogeneity treatment in our common garden experiment.