Jenny McCune

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Degrees:BSc (Guelph), PhD (British Columbia)
Office:Bennett Lab
338 Nesbitt Building
Office hours by appointment
Website:Visit my lab website

Current Research

I study plant communities and how they change over time. Forests, grasslands, and savannahs are constantly changing, with some species moving in and spreading, while others decline and disappear. I try to understand how the way we humans are changing landscapes – via fragmentation and changes in land use – are affecting which plants are thriving and which ones are suffering. It can take decades for the effects of landscape change to manifest in plant communities, so I use data from past surveys, historical aerial photographs, and even microfossils to understand how these changes have unfolded.

I also study a group of rare woodland plants here in southern Ontario, using computer models to target areas for forest surveys. So far my team and I have surveyed over 150 one-hectare forest plots to test these models. Most of the forests in our region are privately owned, so landowners are really important for plant conservation. I’ve done in-depth interviews with landowners to understand how they perceive endangered species conservation and what motivates them to help endangered species.

Selected Publications

McCune, J.L. (2016) Species distribution models predict rare species occurrences despite significant effects of landscape context. Journal of Applied Ecology doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12702

McCune, J.L., and Vellend, M. (2015) Using plant traits to predict the sensitivity of colonizations and extirpations to landscape context. Oecologia 178, 511-524.

McCune, J.L., Vellend, M., and Pellatt, M.G. (2015) Combining phytolith analysis with historical ecology to reveal the long-term, local-scale dynamics within a savannah-forest landscape mosaic. Biodiversity and Conservation 24, 609-626.

McCune, J.L., Pellatt, M.G., and Vellend, M. (2013) Multidisciplinary synthesis of long-term human-ecosystem interactions: A perspective from the Garry oak ecosystem of British Columbia. Biological Conservation 166, 293-300.