As an ecosystem ecologist my research mission is to better understand the fundamental ecological processes that influence the structure and function of dryland ecosystems and the resilience of these ecosystems to anthropogenic and natural disturbance. Dryland ecosystems make up 40% of the global land surface and support one-sixth of world’s population. Over the past several decades, there has been widespread recognition that increasing human population pressures and land use intensification across dryland ecosystems has resulted in extensive degradation or “desertification” across many of these regions. In my lab group we work on two broad research themes which may be briefly described as: (1) understanding historical drivers and biogeochemical responses to woody plant encroachment and the ecological responses of these ecosystems to a broad range of restoration strategies and (2) evaluating the dominant nitrogen input pathways and their influence on ecosystem biogeochemical cycling and how anthropogenic disturbance may alter these cycles. In my research program, we employ a variety of techniques in the fields of soil biogeochemistry, terrestrial plant ecology, and dendrochronology to address questions that not only further our knowledge of the structure and function of dryland ecosystems, but also address contemporary issues in the management of these systems.