Latest publication!

I have just recently published a new article in The Journal of Plant Ecology and it is out for free in advance access (not typeset or proofed yet).

Check it out using the links below!




2 YorkU summer undergrad research practicum positions available

Our lab is looking for two York University undergraduate students to partake in research practicum positions focused in plant ecology research. Students will be working closely with graduate students on on-going research projects related to desert plant ecology research.

Position title: Research practicum (BIOL1603; BIOL2603; BIOL3603; BIOL4603)

Duties: Process plant biomass samples, process soil cores, review animal camera trap photos, greenhouse/growth chamber germination experiments

Location: York Univeristy, Keele Campus

Hours per week: 8-10 hours

Duration: June 2016 – August 2016, with potential to extend into Fall 2017

Qualifications: eager to learn, enthusiastic, detail-oriented, dedicated. No prior experience is required, all training will be provided. Upon accepting the position, students must complete WHMIS training providing at York University.

Preferred Education level: Completion of second year undergraduate studies

Preferred Major: Biology, Ecology, Environmental Science

To apply: Interested applicants should contact Amanda Liczner via email (aliczner AT yorku. ca). Please include “summer research practicum application” in the subject heading and include your unofficial transcript (screenshots are acceptable).

Please apply before April 30, 2016

Lab website:


Shrub removal and mimic construction complete!

I completed the shrub removals and mimic construction with the help of Mike, Alex and Taylor on May 3. For a quick update on the project see the blog post on my lab’s website here!


Control shrubs, mimics, and removals will be surveyed for evidence of lizard activity in order to help determine what role the shrubs are playing in determining lizard activity.

Shrub removals/mimic construction

Hello everyone!

Today was the first dog survey with The Working Dogs for Conservation and it was also the first day of shrub removal/mimic construction

We managed to survey just over 50% of the shrubs with the dogs and found a number of lizard scats today and even a few lizards

So far, 13/20 shrubs have been removed and mimics constructed. The last shrubs will be removed tomorrow after they are surveyed with the dogs



Big thanks to Mike, Taylor and Alex for all their help with the removals and shrub mimic construction today…and again tomorrow! see you bright and early
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#Fieldstories: Brome, Bags, and Bullets

My research site is on public land, and is heavily invaded by brome sp. grasses.

This means that
1) my socks/boots/shoes/feet get DESTROYED when brome is seeding. which is now.
2) people target shoot at my sites

red brome The dominant non-native brome species is red brome (Bromus madritensis sp.  rubens) and these seeds are painfully sharp and love to bury their way into  socks/shoes/boots and stab at your feet while you try and survey.

My first solution was to just stop and pick out the little daggers but that is time  consuming and I have work to do

So, I needed to come up with another solution…

DSC00027DSC00025Bags on my feet! You might say it is an  interesting take on the #breadbag Senator Joni  Ernst was talking about earlier this year. Poor  graduate students cannot afford to replace  hiking boots when they get destroyed by  invasive grasses at their study sites so we  covered our hiking boots in bags to protect  them (and their feet)! It worked well, except for hills… no traction!

Also target shooting seemed to be a popular activity this weekend which is great for them but bad for me when they are shooting where I need to set up transects! This makes for interesting experimental setups as I move about the site avoiding lines of fire and trying to record areas that I will have to survey at another time due to occupation by target shooters. The season closes in a few days so it should be quieter and less dangerous soon.

when one door closes…

another one opens!

Unfortunately the odd phenology in California this year + inadequate planning on my part resulted in my seed addition plants dying out before making it to full biomass. Alas this is ecology and ecological field work

lesson learned! Plan ahead and plant with watering – if only it were that simple.

Although I am disappointed the experiment did not succeed I will be repeating it next year and instead I have been brainstorming on additional projects to do and ways to improve other experiments I have going.

I hope to…
1) continue with Pinnacles bunch grass timed removal experiments layering in some addition abiotic, biotic and landscape level factors
2) conduct landscape and microsite level surveys pre-shrub removal experiment
3) pilot lizard tracking methods and develop survey methods
4) collect seed
5) set up some exciting manipulations for experiments next year pending approval