Amy Zanne

Amy Zanne

Assistant Professor of Biology
Lisner Hall 352
Phone: 202-994-8751


Plant physiology, ecology, and evolution.

Current Research

We explore why and how plant community composition changes across ecological settings and what the ecosystem-level consequences are of these changes. Our focus is typically not at the species but at the trait composition level, as selection will be acting within and among species via their expressed functional traits. We ask whether particular plant traits or suites of traits lead to differences in plant distribution and performance to understand the linkage between structure and function. Additionally, we examine these linkages within an evolutionary framework, investigating where in phylogenies the greatest divergences in trait values occur, as well as whether traits change in a coordinated fashion across phylogenies.

Currently the lab has three large themes:

  1. Understanding interspecific differences in wood decomposition rates
  2. Plant functional traits relationships and environmental gradients (field data)
  3. Global functional trait databases (compilations)

To learn more about these projects and other lab activities, visit the lab website.

Lab Members

Brad Oberle (Postdoc)
Amy Milo (PhD student)
Oyomoare Osazuwa-Peters (PhD student)
Elvis Valderrama (MSc student)
Maranda Evans (Technician)
Mariya Shcheglovitova (Technician)
Darcy Young (Technician)


Ph.D., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 2003.
M.S., University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 1998.
B.A., Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH. 1992.


Complete list of lab publications.

Zanne, A. E., M. Westoby, D. S. Falster, D. D. Ackerly, S. R. Loarie, S. E. J. Arnold, and D. A. Coomes. 2010. Angiosperm wood structure: global patterns in vessel anatomy and their relation to wood density and potential conductivity. American Journal of Botany. 97: 207-215.

Moles, A.T., Warton, D.I., Warman, L., Swenson, N., Laffan, S.W., Zanne, A.E., Pitman, A., Hemmings, F.A., Leishman, M.R. 2009. Global patterns in plant height. Journal of Ecology. 97: 923 – 932.

Chave, J., D. Coomes, S. Jansen, S. L. Lewis, N. G. Swenson, and A. E. Zanne. 2009. Towards a worldwide wood economics spectrum. Ecology Letters. 12: 351-366.

Cornwell, W. K., J. H. C. Cornelissen, S. D. Allison, P. Eggleton, C. Preston, F. Scarff, J. T. Weedon, C. Wirth, A. E. Zanne. 2009. Plant traits and wood fates across the globe—rotted, burned, or consumed? Global Change Biology. 15: 2431-2449.

Weedon, J., W. Cornwell, H, Cornelissen, A. E. Zanne, C. Wirth, and D. Coomes. 2009. Global meta-analysis of wood decomposition rates: the role of wood traits. Ecology Letters. 12: 45-56.