Dryland Ecosystems:

Plant Community Ecology, Ecohydrology, and Ecosystem Management

I am  interested in ecosystems in dry areas. My past work has focused on grasslands and I expect most of my future research to shift towards questions associated with mixtures of grasses and woody plants. My students and I have worked in temperate drylands of Patagonia, Mongolia, and North America. Currently the majority of my work is in big sagebrush ecosystems in western North America.

A portion of my research has focused on plant population and community ecology. Within these general topics, my students and I have worked on demography, controls on recruitment, resource partitioning between grasses and woody plants, responses to and recovery from disturbance ranging from small to large spatial scale including grazing by domestic livestock.  Another branch of the research my students and I have conducted falls within the realm of ecosystem ecology and has included above and belowground net primary production, carbon budgets, and water balance. I use simulation modeling as a key exploratory and analysis tool across all of the organizational and spatial scales of my research.

Another important area of my research has addressed the role of grazing management in dryland ecosystems. My students, collaborators and I have worked on the influence of grazing on plant communities, invasive species, net primary production, and soils. 


Indy Burke

John B Bradford


Postdoctoral Fellows

Daniel R Schlaepfer      Yale University

Kyle A Palmquist           University of Wyoming

Graduate Students

Rachel Renne

Sam Jordan


Undergraduate Students

Lukas Lindquist