Carla D'Antonio

Environmental Studies & EEMB

Office Location

Bren Hall 4002


Plant and Ecosystem Ecology, Invasive Species, Species Affects on Ecosystem Processes, and Restoration Ecology


Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara


Dr. Carla D'Antonio's research focus has been to understand processes that control invasions by non-indigenous species into ecological communities and how and when the addition of some individual species affects ecosystem structure and functioning. She seeks a mechanistic understanding of ecological patterns and process and although she works primarily at the community and ecosystem levels, she also examines individual plant and population processes. She believes that such an integrated approach is the best way to answer questions about the importance of individual species and how communities and ecosystems will change with increasing human population pressure, increasing movement of plant species, nitrogen deposition and climatic fluctuations. She also tries to link research questions and findings to the restoration or of community and ecosystem processes in degraded ecosystems.
Research in her laboratory has focused on understanding both controls over vegetation change and plant dominance from local to landscape levels. Her students work in chaparral, grassland and vernal pool ecosystems and she continues to work with students and collaborators in Hawaii on factors inhibiting forest recovery after the cessation of livestock grazing. Her work and that of her students integrates with land managers at the UC NRS sites, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge in Hawaii, and with the USFS. 
Some specific projects near Santa Barbara include collaborative work on plant community responses to wildfire and invasive grasses in California chaparral, factors impeding natural recovery of chaparral after degradation due to too much fire, and factors influencing recovery of the endemic conifer Pseudotsuga macrocarpa after fire and drought.  At Sedgwick she maintains plots in the international Nutrient network study  Annually she measure biomass and compositional responses to N, P and micronutrient fertilization as well as maintaining a litter manipulation and native plant seeding experiment that is cross with the fertilization treatments.  She also maintains a site in Sedgwick grasslands that are part of the International Drought Experiment (