Albuquerque Lab
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Albuquerque Forestry Sciences Laboratory
333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
Phone: 505-724-3660
Fax: 505-724-3688

Burton K. Pendleton, Ph.D.

b.pendeltonResearch Ecologist


Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1990
M.S., Botany, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 1981
B.S., Botany, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 1977


Born and raised in Boulder City, Nevada, Burton developed a life-long interest in desert plant communities. Burton joined the Rocky Mountain Research Station (then the Intermountain Research Station) Provo Lab in 1990. While there, he studied reproductive biology and establishment ecology of the landscape-dominant shrub, Coleogyne ramosissima (blackbrush) as well as the effects of biological soil crusts and mycorrhizal fungi on seedling establishment. He and his wife, Rosemary, also a research ecologist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station, transferred to the Albuquerque Lab in 2000.

Current Research

Burton conducts much of his research at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with the Sevilleta LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) program. He and his associates are studying various aspects of creosote community expansion into semi-arid grasslands, including pollination and gene flow at the shrubland/grassland ecotone and use of prescribed fire as a management tool to slow shrub expansion and maintain healthy grasslands. Ongoing studies examine effects of climate change on geographic shifts among southwestern plant communities.

Burton also works with teams developing inventory and monitoring protocols for upland vegetation and soils for the Mojave Network of the National Park Service, and monitoring strategies for the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area in southern Nevada's Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

Additional Research

  • Co-principal investigator with Carl White at the University of New Mexico on a nine-year study of fire effects on vegetation and soil properties at two grassland sites. Study was completed in 2005.
  • Principal investigator with USFWS fire specialist Don Kearney on USFWS study, Fuel Reduction Slash Burning in the Rio Grande Bosque: Developing Methods to Reduce Cottonwood Loss.
  • Revegetation of a Yellow Starthistle-Impacted Rangeland in Southwestern New Mexico - funded study with the University of Arizona looking at use of fire as part of an integrated management plan.

Notable Career Accomplishments

Collaborative research on the reproductive biology and establishment ecology of Coleogyne has resulted in a number of publications and consultations. Notable results include documenting habitat-correlated genetic variation in seed germination and seedling establishment. Current research on Larrea and associated species has increased Station involvement in the Sevilleta LTER program.

Recent Publications

Pendleton, R. L., B. K. Pendleton, K. R. Wetherill and T. Griswold. 2008. Reproductive biology of Larrea tridentata: a preliminary comparison between core shrubland and isolated grassland plants at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico. In: Kitchen, S. L., R. L. Pendleton, T. A. Monaco, and J. Vernon, comps. Shrublands under fire: disturbance and recovery in a changing world; 2006 June 6-8; Cedar City, UT. Proceedings RMRS-P-52. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. PDF

Pendleton, R. L., B. K. Pendleton, S. D. Warren, J. R. Johansen, and L. L. St. Clair. 2007. Shrub establishment in the presence of cheatgrass: the effect of soil microorganisms. In: Sosebee, R., D. Wester, C. Britton, S. Kitchen, and E. D. McArthur, comps. Shrubland Dynamics: Fire & Water, 2004 August 10-12; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings RMRS-P-47. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Pp. 136-141. PDF

Pendleton, R. L., and B. K. Pendleton. 2007. Germination, seedling survival, flowering phenology, and seed production of heterocarpic Cryptantha crassisepala from central New Mexico, USA. In: Turner, S., D. Merritt, S. Clarke, L. Commander, and K. Dixon (eds.), Seed Ecology II, Proceedings of the 2nd International Society for Seed Science. Perth, Australia: Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Supplement.

White, C. S., R. L. Pendleton and B. K. Pendleton. 2006. Response of 2 semiarid grasslands to the second fire application. Rangeland Ecology and Management 59: 98-106. PDF

Meyer, S. E., and B. K. Pendleton. 2005. Factors affecting seed germination and seedling establishment of a long-lived desert shrub (Coleogyne ramosissima: Rosaceae). Plant Ecology 178: 171-187. PDF

Pendleton, R. L., B. K. Pendleton, and C. S. White. 2005. Long-term (9 yr) response of two semiarid grasslands to prescribed fire in the southwestern U.S. In: O'Mara, F. P.; Wilkins, R.J.; 't Mannetje, L; Lovett, D.K.; Rogers, P.A.M.; Boland, T.M.; XX International Grassland Congress: Offered papers. Wageningen, The Netherlands: Wageningen Academic Publishers. Page 364. available for purchase

Pendleton, B. K., and S. E. Meyer. 2004. Habitat-correlated variation in blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosissima: Rosaceae) seed germination response. Journal of Arid Environments 59: 229-243. PDF

a more complete list of my publications is availablble from FSINFO