Dr. McLaren’s research bridges the fields of community and ecosystem ecology. The goals are to understand the effects that changing the composition of organisms that inhabit an ecosystem will have on the processes and properties of that ecosystem. Her research lab examines changes in species composition resulting from environmental change (such as warming or nutrient deposition), changes in herbivore populations, shifts in species ranges and changing land management practices. They examine effects on variables such as plant species abundance, litter decomposition and nutrient cycling. They conduct our research in northern ecosystems, including alpine tundra and boreal forest in Northern Canada (Kluane Lake Research Area, Yukon Territory) and arctic tundra in Alaska, and also in the deserts of the Southwestern USA.