Welcome Pamela Graff - NEW SE

Submitted by editor on 4 October 2022.

We are very happy to welcome Pamela to our editorial board! Check out her welcome interview below:

Keywords: plant facilitation, plant competition, plant-animal interactions, grassland ecosystems, drylands

Personal website: https://www.ifeva.edu.ar/sections/Handler.php?page=Miembros&Miembro=61

Twitter: @BPamelaGraff

1. What's your main research focus at the moment?

My research program has focused on plant population and community ecology aspects, especially in temperate grasslands. At the moment, together with my collaborators, we are interested in two related main questions: how interactions between consumers, exotic plants, and concurrent native species are established and organized? and how these relationships are regulated by soil resources and stress regime?. Lot of our work is based on field manipulative experiments. Field sites cover a range of natural and human modified grasslands in Patagonia and Pampas, in Argentina. These grasslands support country's main livestock economy and are also highly valuable from a biodiversity conservation standpoint. Therefore, our studies are also designed to provide scientific under-pinning for species conservation and for the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

2. Can you describe your research career? Where, what, when?

I hold a Biology degree from Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina. After graduating and working for a few years in secondary school education, I decided to pursue a PhD at University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, working on community ecology. There, I focused on experimentally testing how interactions between plant species vary along physical stress and consumer pressure gradients. During my postdoc I worked with endangered dioecious plant species. I sought to understand their vulnerability to land use change by studying how the differential traits of male and female plants are related with the interactions that plants establish with other species and herbivores. After a short stay at CSIRO (Canberra, Australia) working on grassland restoration, I returned to the Agricultural Physiology and Ecology Research Institute (IFEVA, Argentina) and to the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Buenos Aires (FAUBA, Argentina), where I am currently a researcher and teacher in the field of Ecology.

3. How come that you became a scientist in ecology?

Having spent my childhood and part of my adolescence in a small town in the Pampas region of Argentina, where most of the area of the district is dedicated to crop management and grazing, my first approaches to nature were from the productive systems. From a very young age I noticed how natural landscapes were progressively degrading, and I studied at a secondary school with an agronomic orientation motivated by the challenge of thinking about more sustainable production systems. Since then, I became very interested in plant ecology and during my university studies I was fascinated by the arid Patagonian steppe. What attracted me most to working in these dry areas is that, due to strong environmental restrictions on plant growth, the sustainability of livestock production depends on the conservation of native natural resources. Therefore, a good understanding of the ecology of the plant populations that support it is crucial. My career as a scientist and university teacher began there. These challenges motivated me to continue my Ph.D. in plant community ecology and to contribute to Ecology and Conservation Biology courses where I also served mentoring students for their final dissertation in Agronomy or Environmental Science careers

4. What do you do when you're not working?

I love spending as much time as possible with my daughter and sharing moments with family and friends.