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Reno Great Basin Ecology Laboratory
Contact Information
  • Reno Great Basin Ecology Laboratory
  • 920 Valley Road
  • Reno, NV 89512
  • (775) 784-5329

Reno Great Basin Ecology Laboratory

Ecosystems of the Great Basin

The Reno Great Basin Ecology Laboratory, part of the Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems Program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station, uses a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to increase understanding of Great Basin ecosystems and to develop approaches for maintaining and restoring their integrity. The lab and its collaborators focus on the region’s major ecosystem types, Sagebrush Ecosystems, Piñon-Juniper Woodlands, and Riparian Ecosystems and have study sites located across the Great Basin. Multiple temporal (early Holocene to Present) and spatial scales (Watershed to Stream Reach) are used to address research questions. More...

Research Topics

Ecology, Management and Restoration of Riparian Ecosystems

Riparian ecosystems in the central Great Basin support much of the region’s biodiversity but are often highly degraded because of active stream incision or down cutting. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is studying the underlying geomorphic, hydrologic and vegetation processes influencing the streams and riparian ecosystems. We also are examining the causes of the degradation, including the effects of climate change and anthropogenic disturbance. We are using a process-based understanding of these ecosystems to develop approaches for their management and restoration. More...

Managing Piñon, Juniper and Sagebrush Ecosystems

Piñon and juniper woodlands are valuable native ecosystems, but piñon and juniper trees are expanding into sagebrush ecosystems throughout much of their range. Expansion of the competitive trees results in depletion of the sagebrush understory, higher fuel loads, and increased fire severity and size. The Great Basin Ecology Lab is studying factors influencing the rate and magnitude of tree expansion, the effects of tree expansion on the resilience of sagebrush ecosystems, and the use of fire and fire surrogate treatments to both decrease fuel loads and maintain sustainable sagebrush ecosystems. More...

Resistance and Resilience to Annual Grass Invasion

Non-native annual grasses are invading sagebrush ecosystems, increasing the continuity of fine fuels, and causing larger and more frequent fires. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is examining the environmental and ecological factors that make Great Basin ecosystems resistant to invasion and expansion of cheatgrass and resilient to fire. We are developing management approaches for both increasing ecological resistance to cheatgrass and restoring native ecosystems. More...


Addressing the many issues facing the Great Basin requires strong collaborative among researchers and managers. The Great Basin Ecology Laboratory is an active member of several partnerships engaged in facilitating communication and collaboration among Great Basin research and management organizations and in developing effective mechanisms for science delivery. More...

People and Places

The Reno Great Basin Ecology Laboratory consists of two two research ecologists, Jeanne Chambers and Robin Tausch, and support staff. The laboratory is part of the Rocky Mountain Research Station and is located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. All research at the laboratory is part of the Grassland, Shrubland and Desert Ecosystems science program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station.