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Research Projects

Forest Restoration after wildfire

In July 2012, the high-severity Arapaho Fire burned ~40,000 ha in the Northern Laramie Mountains of Wyoming, including the University of Wyoming’s Rogers Research Site (RRS). To understand recovery of the ponderosa pine ecosystem, restoration treatment were established at RRS.

View of burned ponderosa pine forest at Rogers Research Station


Project objectives:  Understand how wildfire and subsequent post-fire managements strategies affect a) ponderosa pine seedling survival, fitness, and pine regeneration from seed, b) post-fire vegetation community composition and dynamics, including invasive species, c) soil biogeochemical properties and processes, and d) soil microbial community and associated processes.



Ponderosa pine seedlings were planted and seeded in the various restoration treatments, but two years after seedling planting, average seedling survival in the hand-planted treatment was extremely low and natural regeneration and regeneration from broad cast seeding was almost nonexistent.

Current research is focused on understand the role of mycorrhizal fungi in seedlings estblishment and growth.






Bark Beetle

Project objective: Characterize soil nutrient status and cycling, soil microbial communities, and tree regeneration in coniferous forest after bark beetle infestation in the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming.



Invasive plants

Project objectives:

  1. Synthesize impacts of invasive plants on soil microbial diversity.
    • Manuscript in review with Diversity journal Special Issue on "Microbial Interactions with Invasive Plant Species"
  2. Document and model soil microbial community response to the establishment and removal of the invasive plant Acroptilon repens.
    • Greenhouse experiment
  3. Assess the impacts of invasive plant removal via herbicide application on soil microbial structure and function.
    • The control of Dalmatian Toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) at High Plains Research Center (Cheyenne, WY) using pre- and post-emergent herbicides.


Sagebrush microbiomes

Project objective: Characterizing soil, plant-associated, and insect-associated microbiomes in sagebrush communities along a climate gradient in Wyoming.








Project is led by postdoctoral fellow Paul Ayayee as part of the Microbial Ecology Collaborative.


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