Alexandra K. Urza
Post-Doctoral Research Ecologist
920 Valley Road
Contact Alexandra K. Urza
I am a Postdoctoral Research Ecologist with the Grassland, Shrubland, and Desert Ecosystems Science program of the Rocky Mountain Research Station. My research uses observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to study ecosystem responses to disturbance, plant-plant interactions, and plant community dynamics in the context of climate change and invasive species. Current research projects include environmental drivers of post-fire sagebrush establishment, within- and among-population variation in pinyon pine seedling drought tolerance, and distribution of invasive species in the western US.
I am interested in plant community responses to disturbance, effects of climate variability on seedling establishment, biotic interactions, drivers of species invasions, and the ecological effects of management treatments. Much of my work considers how these processes vary across the landscape in relation to environmental heterogeneity. I work primarily in cold desert shrublands and woodlands.
My past research includes multi-scale drivers of vegetation dynamics at the woodland-shrubland interface in the Great Basin, climate effects on post-fire mixed conifer forest recovery in the Northern Rockies, and aspen responses to management efforts in Wyoming.
Why This Research is Important
Dryland ecosystems of the western US are facing many threats, including warming temperatures, increasing fire, and widespread invasions by non-native species. Anticipating ecosystem responses to environmental change, and designing appropriate management interventions, requires an understanding of the underlying ecological processes and how these vary across the landscape.
- University of Nevada-Reno, Ph.D. Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology 2018
- Colorado State University, M.S. Ecology 2012
- Reed College, B.A. International Policy Studies 2006
- Natural Resource Specialist, Bureau of Land Management, Cedarville, CA
2012 - 2014
- Contracted Research Ecologist, US Geological Survey, Ft. Collins, CO
2011 - 2012
Featured Publications & Products
- Urza, Alexandra K.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Board, David ; Flake, Samuel W. 2019. Seeding native species increases resistance to annual grass invasion following prescribed burning of semiarid woodlands.
- Urza, Alexandra K.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Sullivan, Benjamin W. 2019. Shrub facilitation of tree establishment varies with ontogenetic stage across environmental gradients.
Citations of non US Forest Service Publications
- Urza, Alexandra K.; Sibold, Jason S. 2013. Non-destructive aging of postfire seedlings for four conifer species in northwestern Montana, USA. Western Journal of Applied Forestry 28: 22-29
- Urza, Alexandra K.; Sibold, Jason S. 2017. Climate and seed availability initiate alternate post-fire trajectories in a lower subalpine forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 28: 43-56
- Redmond, Miranda D.; Kelsey, K. C.; Urza, Alexandra K.; Barger N. N. 2017. Interacting effects of climate and landscape physiography on piñon pine growth using an individual-based approach. Ecosphere 8(3): e01681
- Urza, Alexandra K.; Weisberg, Peter J.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Dhaemers, Jessica M.; Board, David. 2017. Post-fire vegetation response at the woodland-shrubland interface is mediated by the pre-fire community. Ecosphere 8(3): e01851
- Vitali, Alessandro; Urbinati, Carlo; Weisberg, Peter J.; Urza, Alexandra K.; Garbarino, Matteo. 2018. Effects of natural and anthropogenic drivers on land-cover change and treeline dynamics in the Apennines (Italy). Journal of Vegetation Science 29: 189-199