Welcome! Our research focuses on the impact of natural disturbances and global environmental change on mesic and arid grassland ecosystems. We are particularly interested in the interactive effects of fire, grazing and drought in mesic grasslands in North America and South Africa, and how rainfall variability, temperature change, and shrub encroachment affect aridland ecosystems in the southwestern US.

Shared drivers but divergent ecological responses: insights from long-term experiments in mesic savanna grasslands.

Here's a cool summary of our ~10 years of research comparing a tallgrass prairie in North America (Konza) to grasslands in South Africa (Kruger Park and Ukulinga Research Farm). Check it out in BioScience (Smith et al. 2016). The abstract says:

Congratulations to Kina Murphy, PhD!!!

On 11 May 2016, Kina Murphy successfully defended her dissertation, "Mitigating the Impacts of Human Land-Use Change on Biodiversity: with a focus on large migratory species." Her presentation was well-attended and she handled questions with aplomb! She will now work on the final revisions to her dissertation, and preparing manuscripts for publication before getting back to her professional life applying her knowledge to help make the world a better place to live.

Mechanisms of shrub encroachment under climate and land use change investigated using a cellular automata model

Here's a cool approach to modeling shrub encroachment by creosotebush. Further encroachment is likely under future climate scenaarios. Here's the abstract:

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