Steve Archer
Steve Archer
Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Principal Investigator, Savanna/Woodland Ecology Lab
(520) 400-1019

Steve Archer is a professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona with appointments in the Global Change, Arid Lands Resource Sciences, and Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. A Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Archer has a BA in Liberal Arts from Augustana College (Sioux Falls) and a MS and PhD in Rangeland Ecosystem Science from Colorado State University. Trained as a plant ecologist and ecosystem scientist, Dr. Archer has worked in Arctic Tundra, Great Plains and Southwestern Desert ecosystems. His research has centered around plant-animal interactions with a focus on grazing impacts on ecosystem structure and function. Population, transition probability and dynamic ecosystem simulation models are used in conjunction with remote sensing, dendrochronology and stable isotope chemistry to reconstruct vegetation history and to project the consequences of vegetation change on the sustainability of grazing systems, ecosystem biogeochemistry and land surface-atmosphere interactions. Field and laboratory experiments on the population biology of grasses and shrub growth forms are emphasized in the context of landscape ecology, succession and historical land–use practices. Research support includes major funding from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the US Department of Agriculture.

Selected Citations: 

Peters, DPC, KM Havstad, SR Archer, OE Sala. 2014. Beyond desertification: new paradigms for dryland landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:4-12

Bestelmeyer, BT, GS Okin, MC Duniway, SR Archer, et al. 2014. Desertification, land use and the transformation of global drylands. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:28-36

Archer, SR, Predick, KI. 2014. An ecosystem services perspective on brush management: research priorities for competing land use objectives. Journal of Ecology 102:1394-1407

Hewins, DB, SR Archer, GS Okin, RL McCulley, HL Throop. 2013. Soil-litter mixing accelerates decomposition in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Ecosystems 16:183-195

Liu, F, SR Archer, SR, et al. 2013. Woody plant encroachment into grasslands: spatial patterns of functional group distribution and community development. PLOS One 8(12): e84364. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084364 

von Arx, G, SR Archer, Hughes, MK (2012). Long-term functional plasticity in plant hydraulic architecture in response to release from drought stress. Annals of Botany 109:1091-1100

Barger, NN, SR Archer, et al. 2011. Woody plant proliferation in North American drylands: a synthesis of impacts on ecosystem carbon balance. Journal Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences 116, G00K07

Browning, DM, Archer, SR. 2011. Protection from livestock fails to deter shrub proliferation in a desert landscape with a history of heavy grazing. Ecological Applications 21:1629–1642

Stokes, CJ, Archer, SR. 2010. Niche differentiation and neutral theory: an integrated perspective on shrub assemblages in a parkland savanna. Ecology 91:1152-1162 

Okin, GS, D'Odorico, P, Archer, SR. 2009. Impact of feedbacks on Chihuahuan desert grasslands: transience and metastability. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences:114: G01004

Throop, HL, SR Archer. 2008. Shrub (Prosopis velutina) encroachment in a semi-desert grassland: spatial-temporal changes in soil organic carbon and nitrogen pools. Global Change Biology 14: 2420-2431

Wheeler, CW, SR Archer, GP Asner, CR McMurtry. 2007. Climate and edaphic controls on soil carbon-nitrogen response to woody plant encroachment in desert grassland. Ecological Applications 17:1911-1928 

Hughes, RF, SR Archer, et al. 2006. Changes in aboveground primary production and carbon and nitrogen pools accompanying woody plant encroachment in a temperate savanna. Global Change Biology 12:1733-1747 

Wu, XB, SR Archer. 2005. Scale-dependent influence of topography-based hydrologic features on vegetation patterns in savanna landscapes. Landscape Ecology 20:733-742

Fensham, RJ, RJ Fairfax, SR Archer. 2005. Rainfall, land use and woody vegetation cover change in semi-arid Australian savanna. Journal of Ecology 93:596-606

McCulley, RL, SR Archer, TW Boutton, FM Hons, DA Zuberer. 2004. Soil respiration and nutrient cycling in wooded communities developing in grassland. Ecology 85: 2804-2817

Asner, GP, Archer, SR, Hughes, RF, Ansley, RJ, Wessman, CA. 2003. Net changes in regional woody vegetation cover and carbon storage in Texas drylands, 1937-1999. Global Change Biology 9:316-335

Jurena, PN, Archer, SR. 2003. Woody plant establishment and spatially heterogeneity in grasslands. Ecology 84:907-919

Hibbard, KA, DS Schimel, SR Archer, D Ojima, W Parton. 2003. Grassland to woodland transitions: integrating changes in landscape structure and biogeochemistry. Ecological Applications 13:911-926

Hibbard, KA, S Archer, DS Schimel, D Valentine. 2001. Biogeochemical changes accompanying woody plant encroachment in a subtropical savanna. Ecology 82:1999-2011

Scholes, RJ, S Archer. 1997. Tree-grass interactions in savannas. Annual Review of Ecology & Systematics 28:517-544

Weltzin, JF, S Archer, RK Heitschmidt. 1997. Small mammal regulation of vegetation structure in a temperate savanna. Ecology 78:751-763

Boutton, TW, SR Archer, LC Nordt. 1994. Climate, CO2 and plant abundance. Nature 72:625-626

Archer, S. 1989. Have Southern Texas savannas been converted to woodlands recent history? American Naturalist 134:545-561

Archer, SR, CJ Scifres, C Bassham, R Maggio.1988.Autogenic succession in a subtropical savanna: rates, dynamics and processes in conversion of grassland to thorn woodland. Ecological Monographs 58:111-127

Research Themes: 
Climate and Adaptation
Arid lands
Climate change
Climate variability
Ecosystem management
Global warming
Land use
Modeling and simulation
Natural resource management
Range management
Remote sensing

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