Research Interests

I am Research Associate primarily working in the fields of plant ecophysiology, ecological genetics and climate change adaptation. I received my PhD in Forest Biology and Management from the University of Alberta in 2012. My thesis and postdoctoral research was motivated by three main questions:
  1. How are plants adapted to the environments in which they occur?
  2. What are the underlying genetic and environmental factors for developmental change in response to stress?
  3. How can this information be utilized in forest resource management?
To answer these questions, I used physiological and anatomical techniques to study plant hydraulics, xylem anatomy and xylem development. In addition, I analyzed common garden experiments to disentangle genetic and environmental contributions of plant response to environmental change. I am also competent in species distribution modeling, which I use for landscape-level analyses of plant-climate interactions.

During my past research, I found that the diameter of the water conducting pipes (known as xylem vessels) in trembling aspen and hybrid poplars plays an important role for growth performance and survival in the boreal forest (Schreiber et al., 2011, 2013b). Furthermore, I found that long-distance transfers of aspen seeds in a northwest direction resulted in superior growth performance, particularly for genotypes from Minnesota, compared to locally adapted populations from Alberta and British Columbia (Schreiber et al., 2013a). Using a reciprocal transplant experiment with six trembling aspen provenances replicated at four test sites in Western Canada, my research also showed that vessel diameter is highly plastic in response to different environments and is positively correlated with precipitation levels (Schreiber, Hacke & Hamann 2015). 

Furthermore, I also worked on an economical valuation model for tree improvement in Alberta (Schreiber & Thomas 2017). This project was quite different from my previous research but provided me with experience in applied forest management and forest economy.

Presently, my research focuses on new and innovative approaches in the field of forest reclamation. Large areas of public land in Alberta are affected by a range of resource exploration and extraction disturbances. Proper stewardship of the land requires that disturbances are reclaimed to a state of equivalent land capabilities prior disturbance. In urban, agricultural, and industrial shaped landscapes, non-native species can suppress the native flora and significantly slow down natural succession. The goal of our research is to accelerate site occupancy by native species in order to displace undesirable species on reclamation sites and facilitate timely forest development on previously disturbed industrial sites.