My research program at University of Denver has three, overlapping foci: 1) preservation of rare species, 2) the ecology of exotic invasives, and 3) restoration of degraded ecosystems. The primary concentration of my DU group has been the ecology of restoration of riparian habitats invaded by non-native plants and understanding changes in plant phenology in response to climate change.
While scientific theories of ecological restoration are well established, there are significant gaps in practical application. One of my goals, therefore, has been to help guide the academic field to assist actual land management. Toward this end, my lab has conducted the first multi-state surveys of re-vegetated restoration sites, using multivariate statistical tools to identify environmental variables associated with restoration success (Bay & Sher 2008). We have also done large-scale field tests of how invasive species control influences plant assemblages (Sher et al. 2008) and soil chemistry (Gaddis and Sher 2013, Ohrtman, Lair & Sher 2012). These projects have primarily considered restoration associated with _Tamarix spp._ (more commonly known as tamarisk or saltcedar), a woody, Eurasian tree that invades watersheds, profoundly affecting biological communities and ecosystem processes (i.e., fire, flooding, and soil chemistry fluxes).
Dr. Sher is the author of more than 35 scientific publications on plants and plant management, including four books. Her most recent book is an edited volume on the genus Tamarix in its invasive range, published by Oxford University Press in 2013. She is one of the foremost experts on the ecology of this species, particularly in the context of riparian restoration.