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David Pyke

David Pyke Associate Professor (Courtesy)

Ph.D., 1983, Washington State University, Pullman

david a pyke@usgs.gov

Office/Lab: FSL 165
Phone: 541-750-0989

Research Area

Population biology, fire and restoration ecology of arid and semiarid plants in the Intermountain West and development of protocols to assess ecoysystem status.

Description of Research

Little is known about the basic demographic characteristics of many native species that dominate plant communities in the Intermountain West. In addition, many of these plant communities have deteriorated to such an extent that exotic weedy plants now dominate. My research program focuses on understanding the germination, establishment, survival and reproduction of native plants and of invasive exotic plants.

These basic demographic parameters are measured relative to typical climatic fluctuations and land use practices (e.g., grazing, prescribed and wild fires, herbicide applications). We are currently investigating effectiveness of wildfire rehabilitation projects that are commonly applied on public lands to halt the spread of invasive plants or to stabilize soils. Climate, soil and land use play a major role in success of these efforts, but this has never been examined on a regional level. We hope to develop predictive models to aid management decisions regarding applying these techniques on lands.

The sagebrush steppe exists in a dynamic relationship with fire. However, invasive annual grasses such as cheatgrass, threaten the ecosystem goods and services of this ecosystem by changing fire regimes throughout the region. We study the responses of sagebrush steppe plants after fuel treatments (prescribed fire, mowing, herbicide) to determine if these land uses may cause these ecosystems to cross a threshold that converts them from native plant communities to exotic annual grasslands. We are collaborate with a multi-investigator project called SageSTEP ( www.sagestep.org ) to address these questions.

Status of ecosystems is often difficult to consistently evaluate. Using both qualitative and quantitative indicators of soil stability, hydrologic function and biotic integrity, I am collaborating with other scientists to develop protocols for use by federal agencies to determine status of rangeland ecosystems in the United States.  

Research Group Members

Graduate Students

Lea Condon (PhD expected 2016)

Related Links 

Lab webpage


Pyke, D.A., Brooks, M.L., and D'Antonio, C. 2010. Fire as a restoration tool- A decision framework for predicting the control or enhancement of plants using fire: Restoration Ecology 18:274-284.

Duniway, M.C., J.E. Herrick, D.A. Pyke, and D. Toledo P. 2010. Assessing transportation infrastructure impacts on rangelands: test of a standard rangeland assessment protocol. Rangeland Ecology and Management 63:524-536.

Brunson, J.L., D.A. Pyke, and S.S. Perakis. 2010. Yield responses of ruderal plants to sucrose in invasive-dominated sagebrush steppe of the northern Great Basin. Restoration Ecology 18 S2:304-312.

Herrick, J.E., V.C. Lessard, K.E. Spaeth, P.L. Shaver, R.S. Dayton, D.A. Pyke, L. Jolley and J.J. Goebel. 2010. National ecosystem assessments supported by scientific and local knowledge. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8:403-408.

Pyke, D.A. 2011. Restoring and rehabilitating sagebrush habitats. Pgs 531-548. IN: Knick, S.T. and J.W. Connelly (eds), Greater Sage-Grouse: ecology and conservation of a landscape species and its habitats. Studies in Avian Biology (vol. 38), University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Miller, R.F., S.T. Knick, D.A. Pyke, C.W. Meinke, S.E. Hanser, M.J. Wisdom and A.L. Hild. 2011. Characteristics of sagebrush habitats and limitations to long-term conservation. Pgs 145-184. IN: Knick, S.T. and J.W. Connelly (eds), Greater Sage-Grouse: ecology and conservation of a landscape species and its habitats. Studies in Avian Biology (vol. 38), University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Firn, J., and 35 others including D.A. Pyke. 2011. Abundance of introduced species at home predicts abundance away in herbaceous communities. Ecology Letters 14: 274-281.

Adler, P.B., and 57 others including D.A. Pyke. 2011. Productivity is a poor predictor of plant species richness. Science 333:1750-1753.

Mazzola, M.B., Chambers, J.C., Blank, R.R., Pyke, D.A., Schupp, E., Allcock, K.G., Doescher, P.S., Nowak, R.S. 2011. Effects of resource availability and propagule supply on native species recruitment in sagebrush ecosystems invaded by Bromus tectorum. Biological Invasions 13:513-526.

Wijayratne, U.C. and D.A. Pyke. 2012. Burial increases seed longevity of two Artemisia tridentata (Asteraceae) subspecies. American Journal of Botany 99:438-447.

Herrick, J.E., M.C. Duniway, D.A. Pyke, B.T. Bestelmeyer, S.A. Wills, J.R. Brown, J.W. Karl, and K.M. Havstad. 2012. A holistic strategy for adaptive land management. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 67: 105A-113A.

Witwicki, D.L., P.S. Doescher, D.A. Pyke, N.M. DeCrappeo, and S.S. Perakis. 2013. Nitrogen limitation, 15N tracer retention, and growth response in intact and Bromus tectorum-invaded Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis communities. Oecologia 171:1013-1023.

Louhaichi, M., D.A. Pyke, S.E. Shaff, and D.E. Johnson. 2013. Monitoring restoration impacts to endemic plant communities found on soil inclusions in arid environments. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology 15:767-771.

Pyke, D.A., T.A. Wirth, and J.L. Beyers. 2013. Does seeding after wildfires in rangelands reduce erosion or invasive species? Restoration Ecology. doi: 10.1111/rec.12021.

Reisner, M.D., J.B. Grace, D.A. Pyke and P.S. Doescher. 2013. Conditions favouring Bromus tectorum dominance of endangered sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12097

Seabloom, E., E.T. Borer, Y. Buckley, et al. including D.A. Pyke. 2013. Predicting Invasion In Grassland Ecosystems: Is Exotic Dominance The Real Embarrassment Of Richness? Global Change Biology 19:3677-3687. DOI: 10.1111/Gcb.12370.

Chambers, J.C., B.A. Bradley, C.S. Brown, et al. including  D.A. Pyke. 2014. Resilience to stress and disturbance, and resistance to Bromus tectorum L. invasion in cold desert shrublands of western North America. Ecosystems 17:360-375 doi: 10.1007/s10021-013-9725-5

Veblen, K.E., D.A. Pyke, C.L. Aldridge, M.L. et al. 2014. Monitoring of livestock grazing effects on Bureau of Land Management land. Rangeland Ecology and Management 67:68-77. doi: 10.2111/REM-D-12-00178.1

Borer, E.T., E.W. Seabloom, D.S. Gruner,  et al. including D.A. Pyke. 2014. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature 508:517-520. doi:10.1038/nature13144.

Arkle, R.S., D.S. Pilliod, S.E. Hanser,  et al. including D.A. Pyke. 2014. Quantifying restoration effectiveness using multi-scale habitat models: implications for sage-grouse in the Great Basin. Ecosphere 5(3):31 1-32 doi: dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES13-00278.1.

Knutson, K. C., D. A. Pyke, T. A. Wirth, et al. 2014. Long-term effects of seeding after wildfire on vegetation in Great Basin shrubland ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology 51:1414-1421. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12309

Chambers, J.C., R.F. Miller, D.I. Board, D.A. Pyke, et al. 2014. Resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems: implications for state and transition models and management treatments. Rangeland Ecology and Management 67:440-454. doi: 10.2111/REM-D-13-00074.1

Pyke, D. A., S. E. Shaff, A. I. Lindgren, et al. 2014. Region-wide ecological responses of arid Wyoming big sagebrush communities to fuel treatments. Rangeland Ecology and Management 67:455-467 doi: 10.2111/REM-D-13-00090.1

Rau, B. M., J. C. Chambers, D. A. Pyke, et al. 2014. Soil Resources Influence Vegetation and Response to Fire and Fire-Surrogate Treatments in Sagebrush-Steppe Ecosystems. Rangeland Ecology & Management 67:506-521. doi: 10.2111/REM-D-14-00027.1

McIver, J.D., M. Brunson, S. Bunting, et al. including D.A. Pyke. 2014. A Synopsis of Short-term Response to Alternative Restoration Treatments in Sagebrush-Steppe: the SageSTEP Project. Rangeland Ecology & Management 67:584-598. doi: 10.2111/REM-D-14-00084.1