Kelly M. Andersen

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Applied Plant Ecology Division

Institute for Conservation Research

San Diego Zoo Global

15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd

Escondido, CA  92027


As a plant community ecologist, I am most interested in questions that are at the interface community and ecosystem ecology: plant-soil interactions. Understanding plant-soil interactions has implications that range from community assembly of plants, their rhizosphere symbionts, and soil microbes, to nutrient cycling and ecosystem-level responses to global climate change. By focusing on process-driven mechanisms, my larger research goals aim to bring these two directions full circle to gain a more comprehensive understanding of feedbacks between plant function and ecosystem processes. In general my research can be divided into three interdisciplinary categories: 1) species and trait-based community assembly, 2) belowground niche partitioning, and 3) plant-soil feedbacks in regulating carbon and nutrient cycling.


Tropical montane cloud forest in Bocas de Toro, Panama.


I moved to sunny San Diego, California! I joined the Division of Applied Plant Ecology at the Institute for Conservation Research, San Diego Zoo Global. I am working on projects examining non-native plant invasions along elevation and disturbance gradients in northeastern Oregon.