Meghan Avolio

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Meghan Avolio is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Working in both grasslands and cities, she studies how plant communities are impacted by novel environmental conditions and how species adapt to them. She works primarily at Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research Program (LTER) in Kansas and in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER. Meghan is obsessed with the best ways to measure how community composition changes over space and time, and she is currently fascinated by the evolution of weedy plants in cities. After receiving her BA in Biology from Barnard College in 2002, Meghan proceeded to earn her master’s degree in Biology from Fordham University in 2006. While there, she examined the effects of nitrogen deposition on mycorrhizal fungi; the Fulbright Program awarded her a fellowship to continue this research in Germany. In 2012, Meghan received her PhD from Yale University. Her dissertation explored the adaptability of the dominant tallgrass species Andropogon gerardii to increased precipitation variability. After earning her PhD, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Utah, where she investigated plant community assembly in cultivated urban ecosystems. In 2015, SESYNC awarded her a LTER postdoctoral fellowship, where she developed community change measures based on species rank abundance curves and synthesized data from 100+ worldwide global change experiments. Throughout her career, Meghan has taken an interdisciplinary approach to ecological questions that interest her. The Ecological Society of America named her an Early Career Fellow in 2020.

External Links:

Photo of Meghan Avolio
2015 - 2017
Areas of Expertise
plant ecology
urban ecosystems
community dynamics
Research Interests
global change
urban plants
genetic diversity
plant traits
mycorrhizal fungi
dominant species
Methods of Expertise
molecular methods
statistical analyses
community composition analyses
opinion surveys and interviews