Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Invasive, non-native grasses have become established across millions acres of U.S. rangelands. These invasive grasses have negative impacts on rangeland ecosystem functions and services such as altering fire cycles and decreasing biodiversity. The decreases in biodiversity are drastic and often result in monocultures of the invasive grasses. It is unclear how such dramatic decrease in plant diversity influences the carbon sequestration capacity of rangelands or how restoration of this diversity affects this capacity and soil communities. We are seeking 1 M.S. student to quantify the influence of plant diversity on restoration success of degraded rangelands, with potential opportunity to explore how such plant diversity influences soil communities. The research will involve rangeland plots in western Texas that are seeded to a low-diversity or high-diversity native-seed mix. The successful applicant will monitor plant community dynamics (and potentially soil communities) before and after restoration. The successful applicant will be expected to publish manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and present finding at scientific conferences.