• Wild peony

Sarah Barga

Dale Johnson

My interests are many and varied; however, they seem to converge around the topic of community ecology.  I am particularly interested in plant-animal interactions and in the effects of disturbance (regardless of natural or anthropogenic cause) on plant and animal populations. 

In 2011, I finished my Master's in the Biology Department studying ecology and seed dispersal of wild peony (Paeonia brownii) in the Vander Wall Lab. Dr. Steve Vander Wall first introduced this plant to me in Little Valley and it intrigued me because very little was known about it. My work demonstrated that it is dispersed by seed-caching small mammals, which is very unusual because it is herbaceous perennial, not a large tree like most plants that are dispersed by rodents. Currently, I am working toward earning my Ph.D. with Dr. Beth Leger in the EECB program.