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Department of Botany|College of Arts and Sciences

David Williams

Professor, Department Head
Specialization: Plant-environment interaction, global change ecology, stable isotope ecology


Office: 114 Aven Nelson
Phone: 766-4387


PhD, Botany, Washington State University, 1992
MS, Rangeland Ecology, Texas A&M University, 1988
BS, Botany, The University of Texas, 1985


REWM 3500 - Rangeland Plant Ecophysiology
RNEW 5500 - Stable Isotope Ecology

Research Emphasis

Plant physiological ecology, carbon and water cycles in arid and semi-arid environments, ecology of plant invasions, global change ecology, application of stable isotope techniques to ecology and hydrology

Current Research Projects

UN IAEA Coordinated Research Project. Partitioning evaporation and transpiration in flood-irrigated fields from the isotopic composition of water vapor: the importance of isotopic non-steady state transpiration. PI. 2007-2012.

NSF DBI. Acquisition of Instrumentation for Compound-specific Isotope Analysis. PI. 2009-2011.

Wyoming Water Research Program Competitive Grant Program. Impact of bark beetle outbreaks on forest water yield in southern Wyoming. Co-PI with B. Ewers (PI), E. Pendall and H. Barnard. 2010-2013.

University of Western Sydney, International Research Initiative Scheme (IRIS). Isotopic insights into tree response to climate change. Co-PI with D. Ellsworth (PI) and D. Tissue. 2010-2011.

National Geographic Society. Age and Wisdom of the Mountain Cactus. Co-PI with N.B. English, D.L. Dettman and M.J. Mendoza. 2010-2011.

Selected Publications

English, N.E., D.L. Dettman, and D.G. Williams. 2010. A 26-year stable isotope record of humidity and El Niño-enhanced precipitation in the spines of saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 293:108-119.

Williams, D.G. and R. Scott. 2009. Vegetation-hydrology interactions: Dynamics of riparian plant water use. pp 37-56. In Stromberg, J. and B. Tellman (eds) Ecology and conservation of the San Pedro River. The University of Arizona Press.

Sun, W., V. Resco, and D.G. Williams. 2009. Diurnal and seasonal variation in the carbon isotope composition of leaf dark-respired CO2 in velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina). Plant, Cell and Environment 32:1390-1400.

Sharma, S. and D.G. Williams. 2009. Carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of leaf biomass reveals contrasting photosynthetic responses to elevated CO2 near geologic vents in Yellowstone National Park. Biogeosciences 6:25-31.

Resco, V., B.E. Ewers, W. Sun, T.E. Huxman, J.F. Weltzin and D.G. Williams. 2009. Drought-induced hydraulic limitations constrain leaf gas exchange responses to precipitation pulses in the C3 woody legume, Prosopis velutina. New Phytologist 81:672-682.

Williams, D.G., R.D. Evans, J. West, and J.R. Ehleringer. 2007. Applications of stable isotope measurements for early-warning detection of ecological change. pp 383-398. In T.E. Dawson and R. Siegwolf (eds), Isotopes as tracers of ecological change. Elsevier Academic Press.

Williams, D.G., T.E. Huxman, R.L. Scott, D. Goodrich and G. Lin. 2006. Sensitivity of riparian ecosystems in arid and semiarid environments to moisture pulses. Hydrological Processes 20:3191-3205.

Williams, D.G., J. Coltrain, M. Lott, N. English and J.R. Ehleringer. 2005. Oxygen isotopes in cellulose identify source water for archeological maize in the American Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Science 32:931-939.

Hultine K.R., D.F. Koepke, W.T. Pockman , A. Fravolini, J.S. Sperry and D.G. Williams. 2006. Influence of soil texture on hydraulic properties and water relations of a dominant warm-desert Phreatophyte. Tree Physiology 26:313-323.

Fravolini, A., K. Hultine, E. Brugnoli, R. Gazal, N. English and D.G. Williams. 2005. Precipitation pulse use by an invasive woody legume: the role of soil texture and pulse size. Oecologia 144:618-627

Williams, D.G., W. Cable, K. Hultine, J.C.B. Hoedjes, E. Yepez, V. Simonneaux, S. Er-Raki, G. Boulet, H.A.R. de Bruin, A. Chehbouni, O.K. Hartogensis and F. Timouk. 2004. Components of evapotranspiration determined by stable isotope, sap flow and eddy covariance techniques. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 125:241-258.

Yepez, E.A., D.G. Williams, R. Scott, and G. Lin. 2003. Partitioning overstory and understory evapotranspiration in a semi-arid savanna ecosystem from the isotopic composition of water vapor. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 119:53-68.

Williams, D.G., V. Gempko, A. Fravolini, S.W. Leavitt, G.W. Wall, B.A. Kimball, P.J. Pinter Jr., R. LaMorte, and M. Ottman. 2001. Carbon isotope discrimination by Sorghum bicolor under CO2 enrichment and drought. New Phytologist 150:285-293.

Williams, D.G. and J. R. Ehleringer. 2000. Intra- and interspecific variation for summer precipitation use in pinyon-juniper woodlands. Ecological Monographs 70:517-537.

Williams, D.G. and Z. Baruch. 2000. African grass invasion in the Americas: ecosystem consequences and the role of ecophysiology. Biological Invasions. 2:123-140.

Schaeffer, S.M., D.G. Williams, and D.C. Goodrich. 2000. Transpiration in cottonwood/willow forest patches estimated from sap flux. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 105:257-270.

Snyder, K. and D.G. Williams. 2000. Water sources used by riparian trees varies among stream types on the San Pedro River, Arizona. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 105:227-240.

Williams, D.G., Mack, R.N. and R.A. Black. 1995. Ecophysiology and growth of introduced Pennisetum setaceum on Hawaii: The role of phenotypic plasticity. Ecology 76:1569-1580.

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