Yale School of the Environment
B. (Ag & Env.) Sc., 2009, McGill University, Environmental Biology, Botanical Science (Molecular)
M.Sc., 2014, Cornell University, Natural Resources
Ph.D., 2018, Cornell University, Natural Resources
My research is motivated by forest conservation for all, particularly in urban and managed forests. I am particularly interested in the role of soil fauna in community and nutrient dynamics of these ecosystems. My current focus is characterizing and mitigating the invasion of Megascolecid earthworms in North America. I am seeking to identify their impacts on plant communities and mutualists, and to understand how human activities or landscape features facilitate or prevent invasion. I am using a variety of methods to understand the role of these earthworms on understory plants in New York City, where populations from a small geographic region have been exposed an extreme gradient of stressors, including Megascolecid earthworms, invasive plants, herbivory, human disturbance and pollution. I am looking for adaptive responses of native and invasive plants to these drivers, including plant chemistry, architecture and reproductive strategies. I am also interested in how these stressors determine plant community composition, and how the traits of plants in these novel ecosystems influence biogeochemistry. Ultimately, I hope to develop innovative ecological solutions and management guidelines to mitigate jumping worm spread and impacts.
In my Masters and PhD work at Cornell, I identified native white-tailed deer and non-native earthworms as some of the most important drivers of native understory plant survival, growth and reproduction. In addition to direct impacts from these stressors, I found evidence for indirect impacts through modifications to nutrient cycling, and mixed evidence for indirect impacts on mycorrhizal communities and root architecture.
In my undergraduate lab, I studied plant-insect interactions. In addition to helping with a variety of research projects, my own project focused on the role of redox signaling in plant responses to insect attack.
Dobson, A., Blossey, B. (2015), Earthworm invasion, white-tailed deer and seedling establishment in deciduous forests of north-eastern North America. Journal of Ecology, 103: 153–164.
Dobson, A., Blossey, B., Richardson, J. (2017), Invasive earthworms change nutrient availability and uptake by forest understory plants. Plant and Soil, 421 (1-2): 175 – 190.
Richardson, J. Dobson, A., Blossey, B. (2018), Earthworm impacts on toxic metal and micronutrient exchangeability and uptake by young Acer saccharum and Polystichum acrostichoides in northern hardwood forests New York, USA, Biogeochemistry 138 (2) 103 – 119.
Email: annise.dobson [at] yale.edu
Office: Greeley Laboratory, Rm 119
School of the Environment
370 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511 USA