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Department of Botany

College of Arts and Sciences

Daniel Laughlin

Associate Professor


Community ecology and ecological modeling


Office: Aven Nelson 135
Phone: 766-4393
Lab website:



Ph.D., Forest Science, Northern Arizona University, 2009
Graduate Certificate, Applied Statistics, Northern Arizona University, 2007
M.S., Ecology, Pennsylvania State University, 2002
B.S., Biology, Calvin College, 1999


The Laughlin Lab develops quantitative approaches to understand and predict how plant species and communities respond to global change. We develop trait-based models that translate ecological processes into statistical frameworks to predict how communities assemble along environmental gradients and how species interact at local scales. The goal for these models is not only to gain a deeper understanding of basic ecological processes, but also to inform the restoration of degraded ecosystems.

Selected publications

Laughlin, D.C., Strahan, R., Moore, M.M., Fule, P.Z., Huffman, D.W., Covington, W.W. 2017. The hierarchy of predictability in ecological restoration: are vegetation structure and functional diversity more predictable than community composition? Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1058-1069.

Dwyer, J.M. & D.C. Laughlin. 2017. Constraints on trait combinations explain climatic drivers of biodiversity: the importance of trait covariance in community assembly. Ecology Letters 20:872-882.

Lusk, C.H., D.C. Laughlin. 2017. Regeneration patterns, environmental filtering and tree species coexistence in a temperate forest. New Phytologist 213: 657-668.

Kramer-Walter, K. R., P. J. Bellingham, T. Millar, R. Smissen, S. J. Richardson, D. C. Laughlin. 2016. Root traits are multidimensional: specific root length is independent from root tissue density and the plant economic spectrum. Journal of Ecology 104:1299-1310.

Kunstler, G., D. Falster, D. A. Coomes, F. Hui, R. M. Kooyman, D. C. Laughlin, et al., and M. Westoby. 2016. Plant functional traits have globally consistent effects on competition. Nature 529:204-207.

Laughlin, D. C. and J. Messier. 2015. Fitness of multidimensional phenotypes in dynamic adaptive landscapes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 30(8):487-496.

Jager, M.M., S.J. Richardson, P.J. Bellingham, M.J. Clearwater, and D.C. Laughlin. 2015. Soil fertility induces coordinated responses of multiple independent functional traits. Journal of Ecology 103(2):374-385.

Laughlin, D.C. 2014. Applying trait-based models to achieve functional targets for theory-driven ecological restoration. Ecology Letters 17(7):771-784.

Laughlin, D.C. 2014. The intrinsic dimensionality of plant traits and its relevance to community assembly. Journal of Ecology 102:186-193.

Laughlin, D.C., and D.E. Laughlin. 2013. Advances in modelling trait-based plant community assembly. Trends in Plant Science 18:584-593.

Laughlin, D.C., C. Joshi, P. van Bogedom, Z. Bastow, P.Z. Fulé. 2012. A predictive model of community assembly that incorporates intraspecific trait variation. Ecology Letters 15(11):1291-1299.

Laughlin, D.C. 2011. Nitrification is linked to dominant leaf traits rather than functional diversity. Journal of Ecology 99:1091-1099.

Laughlin, D.C., M.M. Moore, and P.Z. Fulé. 2011. A century of increasing pine density and associated shifts in understory plant strategies. Ecology 92:556-561.

Laughlin, D.C., J.J. Leppert, M.M. Moore, and C.H. Sieg. 2010. A multi-trait test of the leaf-height-seed plant strategy scheme with 133 species from a pine forest flora. Functional Ecology 24:493-501.

Vegetation Ecology - BOT4700/5700
Ecological Modeling - BOT5600

Contact Us

Department of Botany, 3165

Aven Nelson Room 114

1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 1-307-766-2384

Fax: 1-307-766-2851


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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