Ph.D., Stanford University
A.B., Harvard University
The Malmstrom lab studies plant ecology and landscape dynamics. We are particularly interested in understanding how plant communities and ecosystems respond to perturbations, such as changes in disturbance regimes or the introduction of exotic species. We use the best technology from a range of disciplines to solve problems and advance our work. Current projects incorporate molecular approaches with field work and spatial tools such as GPS, GIS, and remote sensing. We work closely with land managers and conservation agencies when designing our projects to ensure that our work not only makes important contributions to basic science questions but also advances understanding in areas of significant interest to society as a whole.
A major focus of the lab is plant virus ecology. Plant viruses are potent ecological agents that have been long overlooked in natural communities. We have been working on a long-term project in the California grasslands to examine the role of barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses (BYDVs and CYDVs; Luteoviridae) in influencing grassland dynamics, particularly interactions between invasive exotics and native species ( see some pictures). We use molecular tools to characterize the viruses and experimental field work to examine their influence. We have demonstrated that virus infection significantly reduces the growth, fecundity, and survivorship of native grasses, contradicting a view (surprisingly prevalent!) that viruses have little influence on native plants. In addition, we found that the presence of invasive exotic grasses can more than double incidence of virus infection nearby natives, indicating that virus-mediated apparent competition has the capacity to influence interactions between exotics and natives. Currently, we are investigating the nature of historical interactions between BYDVs and grasses to help assess the role of BYDVs in facilitating the exotics' invasion.
A second theme in the lab is understanding the influence of managed disturbances (prescribed fire, rotational grazing) and native grass restoration on grassland productivity and the control of noxious rangeland weeds. We collaborate with ranchers to map and analyze biomass patterns and weed spread using a variety of remote sensing tools. These analyses were used to quantify relationships between disturbances and grassland response, not only by us, but also by the ranch managers themselves who found these tools to be valuable in planning and testing new management strategies to promote conservation and ranchland sustainability.
Audubon-California Landowner Stewardship Program (overview of collaborative, multi-investigator project)
CALFED Science in Action: Bringing Back Native Grasses (learn more about the rangeland restoration project)
California Grass Seedling_Key.doc(word document)
I am also the Co-coordinator for the Plant Virus Ecology Network, which aims to advance research in this emerging field.
In the fall, I teach PLB 441 Plant Ecology. This advanced-level course offers an opportunity to investigate the numerous ways in which plants interact with thier environments and to develop deeper understanding of the principles, practice and application of ecological science. The course will consider how ecological interactions contribute to diversity and similarity among plants and plant communities worldwide, as well as how plants themselves shape and influence ecological processes from the very minute to the global-scale.
In addition, I welcome undergraduate research in my lab and enjoy mentoring graduate students.
Please call or email me for more information.
Schrotenboer, A. S., M. Allen, and C. M. Malmstrom (in press). Modification of native grasses for biofuel production may increase virus susceptibility. Global Change Biology Bioenergy.
Malmstrom, C. M. (2010) Ecologists study the interactions of organisms and their environment. Nature Education Knowledge 1(8):9 Butterfield, H. S. and C. M. Malmstrom (2009). The effects of phenology on indirect measures of aboveground biomass in annual grasses. International Journal of Remote Sensing 30(12): 3133–3146 Malmstrom, C. M., H. S. Butterfield, C. Barber, B. Dieter, R. Harrison, J. Qi, D. Riaño, A. Schrotenboer, S. Stone, C. J. Stoner, J. Wirka (2009). Using remote sensing to evaluate the influence of grassland restoration activities on ecosystem forage provisioning services. Restoration Ecology 17(4): 526-538. Malmstrom, C.M., R. Shu, E. W. Linton, L. A. Newton, and M. A. Cook (2007). Barley yellow dwarf viruses (BYDVs) preserved in herbarium specimens illuminate historical disease ecology of invasive and native grasses. Journal of Ecology 95:1153-1166 (Editor’s Choice). Described as “Grass attack” in Nature Research Highlights (2007) 449:759. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2745.2007.01307.x Butterfield, H. S., and C. M. Malmstrom (2006) Experimental use of remote-sensing by private range managers and its influence on management decisions. Rangeland Ecology and Management. 59:541-548 http://dx.doi.org/10.2111/05-184R1.1 Malmstrom, C. M., C. J. Stoner, S. Brandenburg, and L. A. Newton (2006). Virus infection and grazing exert counteracting influences on survivorship of native bunchgrass seedlings competing with invasive exotics. Journal of Ecology 94:264—275. Malmstrom, C. M., C. C. Hughes, L. A. Newton, and C. J. Stoner (2005). Virus infection in remnant native bunchgrasses from invaded California grasslands. New Phytologist 168:217–230.http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2005.01479.x Malmstrom, C. M., A. J. McCullough, H. A. Johnson, L. A. Newton, E. T. Borer (2005). Invasive annual grasses indirectly increase virus incidence in California native perennial bunchgrasses. Oecologia 145:153–164. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-005-0099-z. Malmstrom, C. M. and R. Shu (2004). Multiplexed RT-PCR for streamlined detection and separation of barley and cereal yellow dwarf viruses. Journal of Virological Methods 120, 69–78.http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2004.04.005 Malmstrom, C. M. and K.F. Raffa (2000). Biotic disturbance agents in the boreal forest: considerations for vegetation change models. Global Change Biology 6(s1): 35–48. D’Arrigo, R. D., C. M. Malmstrom, G. Jacoby, S. O. Los, and D. C. Bunker (2000). Correlation between maximum latewood density of annual tree rings and NDVI-based estimates of forest productivity. International Journal of Remote Sensing 21(11): 2329–2336. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01431160050029611 Los, S. O., J. G. Collatz, P. J. Sellers, C. M. Malmstrom, N. H. Pollack, R. S. DeFries, L. Bounoua , F. Parris, C. G. Tucker, and D. Dazlich (2000). A global 9-year biophysical landsurface dataset from NOAA AVHRR data. Journal of Hydrometeorology 11(2):183–199. http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/1525-7541 Malmstrom, C. M. (1998). Barley yellow dwarf virus in native California grasses. Grasslands 3(4):1 – 10. Malmstrom, C. M. and C. B. Field (1997). Virus-induced differences in response of oat plants to elevated carbon dioxide. Plant, Cell and Environment 20:178–188. Malmstrom, C. M., M. V. Thompson, G. P. Juday, S. O. Los, J. T. Randerson, and C. B. Field (1997). Interannual variation in global-scale net primary production: Testing model estimates. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11(3):367–392. Fung, I., C. B. Field, J. A. Berry, M. V. Thompson, J., C. M. Malmstrom, P. M. Vitousek, G. J. Collatz, P. J. Sellers, D. A. Randall, A. S. Denning, F. Badeck, and J. John (1997). Carbon-13 exchanges between the atmosphere and biosphere. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 11(4): 507–533. Randerson, J. T., M. V. Thompson, C. M. Malmstrom, C. B. Field, and I. Y. Fung (1996). Substrate limitations for heterotrophs: Implications for models that estimate the amplitude of the seasonal cycle of atmospheric CO2. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10(4):585–602. Thompson, M. V., J. T. Randerson, C. M. Malmstrom, and C. B. Field (1996). Change in net primary production and heterotrophic respiration: How much is necessary to sustain the terrestrial sink? Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10(4): 711–726. Field, C. B., A. Ruimy, Y. Luo, C. M. Malmstrom, J. T. Randerson, and M. V. Thompson (1996). VEMAP: Model shoot-out at the sub-continental corral. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 11(8):313–314. Field, C. B., J. T. Randerson, and C. M. Malmstrom (1995). Global net primary production: Combining ecology and remote sensing. Remote Sensing of Environment 51:74–88.