Schwinning Lab

Plant Ecology

Yang Tse


Links to ResearchGate | Google Scholar | Researcher ID


Reichmann, L.G., Schwinning, S., Polley, H.W., Fay, P.A. 2015. Traits of an invasive grass conferring an early growth advantage over native grasses. Journal of Plant Ecology DOI:10.1093/jpe/rtw014 pdf


Havill, S. Schwinning, S., Lyons, K.G. 2015. Fire effects on invasive and native warm-season grass species in a North American grassland at a time of extreme drought. Applied Vegetation Science 18:637-649 pdf

Tokumoto, I., Heilman, J.L, Schwinning, S., McInnes, K.J., Litvak, M.E., Morgan, C.L., Kamps, R.H. 2014. Small-scale variability in water storage and plant available water in shallow, rocky soils. Plant and Soil 385:193-204 pdf

Jones, L.C., Schwinning, S., Esque,T.C. 2014. Seedling ecology and restoration of blackbrush (Coleogyne ramosossima) in the Mojave Desert, United States. Restoration Ecology 22: 692-700 pdf

Woods, S.R., Archer, S.R., Schwinning, S. 2014. Seedling responses to water pulses in shrubs with contrasting histories of grassland encroachment. PLOS ONE 9: e87278. pdf

Kelly, C.K., Bowler, M.G., Fox, G.A., Solis-Magallanes, J.A., Ramos-Tapia,M., Lopera Blair, P., Schwinning, S., Williams, J.N., Joy, J.B. 2014. What temporal processes in trees tell us about competition, community structure and speciation. In: Temporal Dynamics and Ecological Process. Kelly, C.K., Bowler, M.G., Fox, G.A. (eds). Cambridge University Press, pp. 41-81. pdf

Schwinning, S., Fox, G.A., Kelly, C.K. 2014. Temporal niches, ecosystem function and climate change. In: Temporal Dynamics and Ecological Process. Kelly, C.K., Bowler, M.G., Fox, G.A. (eds). Cambridge University Press, pp. 165-188. pdf


Schwartz, B.F., Schwinning, S., Gerard, B.m, Kukowski, K.R., Stinson, C.L., Dammeyer, H.C. 2013. Using hydrochemical and ecohydrologic responses to understand epikarst process in semi-arid systems, Edwards Plateau, Texas, USA. Acta Carsiologica 42: 316-325. pdf

Schwinning, S., Kelly, C.K. 2013. Plant competition, temporal niches and implications for productivity and adaptability to climate change in water-limited environments. Functional Ecology 27: 886-897. pdf

Fox, G. A., Kendall, B. E., Schwinning, S. 2013. Environmental heterogeneity impacts on plants at different scales. In: Sourcebook in Theoretical Ecology. Hastings, A., Gross, L. (eds). University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 258-263. pdf

Kukowski, K., Schwinning, S., Schwartz, B. 2013. Hydraulic responses to extreme drought conditions in three co-dominant tree species in shallow soil over bedrock, Oecologia 171:819-830. pdf

Schwinning, S. 2013. Do we need new rhizosphere models for rock-dominated landscapes? Plant and Soil 362: 25-31. pdf


Heilman, J., Litvak, M., McInnes, K., Kjelgaard, J., Kamps, R. Schwinning, S. 2012. Water-storage capacity controls energy partitioning and water use in karst ecosystems on the Edwards Plateau, Texas. Ecohydrology 7:127-138. pdf

Ruckman, E., Robinson, T., Lyons, K.G., Schwinning, S. 2012. Comparative seed heat tolerances among native and a non-indigenous, invasive species: implications for selective management of grassland using fire. Ecological Restoration 30: 136 – 142. pdf

Street, G.M., Weckerly, F.W., Schwinning, S. 2012. Modeling forage mediated aggregation in a gregarious ruminant. Oikos 121: 171:819-830. pdf


Ruckman, E., Schwinning, S., Lyons, K. 2011. Rainfall - burn time interactions in the recovery of an invasive grass after prescribed burn. Restoration Ecology 20: 756 - 763. pdf

Woods, S.R., Archer, S.R., Schwinning, S. 2011. Early taproot development of a xeric shrub (Larrea tridentata) is optimized within a narrow range of soil moisture. Plant Ecology 212:507–517. pdf


Litvak, M.E., Schwinning, S., Heilman, J.L. 2010. Woody plant rooting depth and ecosystem function of savannas: a case study from the Edwards Plateau karst, Texas, USA. In: Ecosystem Function in Global Savannas: Measurement and Modeling at Landscape to Global Scales. Hill M.J., Hanan N.P. (eds). CRC/Taylor and Francis. pp. 117-134. pdf

Schwinning, S. 2010. Ecohydrology Bearings – Invited Commentary: The ecohydrology of roots in rocks. Ecohydrology 3: 238-245.pdf

Schwinning, S., Sandquist, D.R., Miller, D.M., Bedford, D.R., Phillips, S., Belnap, J. 2010. The influence of stream channels on shrub distributions in the Mojave Desert, CA, USA: patterns, mechanisms and effects of stream redistribution. Ecohydrology DOI: 10.1002/eco.116.pdf


Eggemeyer K.D., Schwinning, S. 2009. Biogeography of woody encroachment: why is mesquite excluded from shallow soils? Ecohydrology 2: 81-87. pdf

Heilman, J.L., McInnes, K.J., Kjelgaard, J.F., Owens, M.K., Schwinning, S. 2009. Energy balance and water use in a subtropical karst woodland on the Edwards Plateau, Texas. Journal of Hydrology 373:426-435. pdf

Schwinning, S., Hooten, M.M. 2009. Mojave desert root systems. In: The Mojave Desert: Ecosystem Processes and Sustainability. Webb, R.H., Fenstermaker, L.F., Heaton, J.S., Hughson, D.L.,McDonald, E.V., Miller, D.M. (eds), University of Nevada Press, Reno, pp. 278-31. pdf


Schwinning, S. 2008. The water relations of two evergreen tree species in a karst savanna. Oecologia, 10.1007/s00442-008-1147-2. pdf

Schwinning, S., J. Belnap, D. R. Bowling, and J. R. Ehleringer. 2008. Sensitivity of the Colorado Plateau to change: climate, ecosystems, and society. Ecology and Society 13(2): 28. [online] URL: pdf


Schwinning, S., B. I. Starr, N. J. Wojcek, M. E. Miller, J. R. Ehleringer, and R. L. Sanford Jr. 2006. Effects of nitrogen deposition on an arid grassland in the Colorado Plateau cold desert. Journal of Rangeland Ecology and Management 58: 565-574. pdf


Schwinning, S., B. I. Starr, and J. R. Ehleringer. 2005. Summer and winter drought in a cold desert ecosystem (Colorado Plateau) - I: effects on soil water and plant water uptake. Journal of Arid Environments 60:547-566.  pdf

Schwinning, S., B. I. Starr, and J. R. Ehleringer. 2005. Summer and winter drought in a cold desert ecosystem (Colorado Plateau) - II: effects on plant carbon assimilation and growth. Journal of Arid Environments 61:61-78. pdf

Seyfried, M.S., S. Schwinning, M. A. Walvoord, W. Y. Pockman, B. D. Newman, R. B. Jackson, and F. M. Phillips. 2005. Ecohydrological Control of Deep-Drainage in Arid and Semiarid Basins. Ecology 86:277-287. pdf


Chesson, P., Gebauer, R.L.E., Schwinning, S., Huntly, N., Wiegand, K., Ernest, M.S.K., Sher, A., Novoplansky, A. and Weltzin, J.F., 2004. Resource pulses, species interactions, and diversity maintenance in arid and semi-arid environments. Oecologia, 141, 236-253. pdf

Huxman, T. E., M. D. Smith, P. A. Fay, A. K. Knapp, M. R. Shaw, M. E. Loik, S. D. Smith, D. T. Tissue, J. C. Zak, J. F. Weltzin, W. T. Pockman, O. E. Sala, B. M. Haddad, J. Harte, G. W. Koch, S. Schwinning, E. E. Small, and D. G. Williams. 2004. Convergence across biomes to a common rain-use efficiency. Nature 429:651-654. pdf

Huxman, T. E., K. A. Snyder, D. Tissue, A. J. Leffler, K. Ogle, W. T. Pockman, D. R. Sandquist, D. L. Potts, and S. Schwinning. 2004. Precipitation pulses and carbon fluxes in semiarid and arid ecosystems. Oecologia 141:254-268. pdf

Schwinning, S. and Sala, O.E., 2004. Hierarchy of responses to resource pulses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Oecologia, 141: 211-220. pdf

Schwinning, S., Sala, O.E., Loik, M.E., and J.R. Ehleringer. 2004. Thresholds, memory and seasonality: understanding pulse dynamics in arid/semiarid ecosystems. Oecologia 141: 191-193. pdf


Schwinning, S., Starr, B. I. and Ehleringer, J.R. 2003. Dominant cold desert plants of the Colorado Plateau do not partition rain by rainfall size, Oecologia 136: 252-260. pdf

Weltzin, J.F., Loik, M.E., Schwinning, S., Williams, D.G., Fay, P.A., Haddad, M., Harte, J., Huxman, T.E., Knapp, A.K., Lin, G., Pockman, W.T., Shaw, R., Small, E.E., Smith, M.D., Smith, S.D., Tissue, D.T., Zak, J.C. 2003. Assessing the response of terrestrial ecosystems to potential changes in precipitation. Bioscience 53: 941- 952. pdf


Gebauer, R. L.E., Schwinning, S. and Ehleringer, J.R. 2002. Interspecific competition and resource pulse utilization in a cold desert community, Ecology 83: 2602 - 2616. pdf

Schwinning, S., Davis, K., Richardson, L. and Ehleringer, J.R. 2002. Deuterium enriched irrigation suggests three forms of pulse use in perennial species of the Colorado Plateau, Oecologia 130:345-355. pdf


Parsons, A.J., Schwinning. S. and Carrere, 2001. Plant growth functions and possible spatial and temporal scaling errors in models of herbivory, Grass and Forage Science 56: 21-34.pdf

Schwinning, S. and Ehleringer J. R. 2001. Water-use trade-offs and optimal adaptations to pulse-driven arid ecosystems, Journal of Ecology 89: 464-480. pdf


Ehleringer, J.R., Schwinning, S. & Gebauer, R.L.E. 1999. Water use in arid land ecosystems. IN: Advances in Plant Physiological Ecology, Press, M.C. (ed.), Blackwell Science, Oxford, pp. 347-365. pdf

Parsons, A.J., Carrere, P. & Schwinning, S. 1999. Dynamics of heterogeneity in a grazed sward. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Grassland Ecophysiology and Grazing Ecology, deMoraes, A., Nabinger, C. de faccio, P.C., Alves, S.J. & Campos Lustosa, S.B. (eds), Curitiba, Parana, Brazil: pp. 187-214. pdf

Schwinning, S. & Parsons, A.J. 1999, The stability of grazing systems revisited: spatial modls and the role of heterogeneity, Functional Ecology 13: 737-747. pdf


Schwinning, S. & Weiner, J. 1998. Mechanisms determining the degree of size-asymmetry in competition among plants, Oecologia 113, 447-455. pdf


Chapman, D.F., Parsons, A.J. & Schwinning, S. 1996. Management of clover in grazed pastures: expectations, limitations and opportunities. In: White Clover: New Zealand's Competitive Edge. Symposium of the New Zealand Grassland Association, Lincoln, N.Z., pp. 55-64. pdf

Schwinning, S. 1996. Decomposition analysis of competitive symmetry and size structure dynamics. Annals of Botany 72: 47-57. pdf

Schwinning, S. & Parsons, A.J. 1996a. Analysis of the coexistence mechanisms for grasses and legumes in grazing systems. Journal of Ecology 84,799-813. pdf

Schwinning, S. & Parsons, A.J. 1996b. A spatially explicit population model of stoloniferous N-fixing legumes in mixed pasture with grass. Journal of Ecology 84, 815-826. pdf

Schwinning, S. & Parsons, A.J. 1996c. Interactions between grasses and legumes: understanding variability in species composition. In: Legumes in Sustainable Farming Systems. Proceedings of the Sustainable Farming Systems/ British Grassland Society Joint Conference, pp. 153-163. pdf


Schwinning, S. & Fox, G.A. 1995. Population dynamic consequences of competitive symmetry in annual plants. Oikos 72: 422-432. pdf


Schwinning, S. & Rosenzweig, M.L. 1990. Periodic oscillations in an ideal-free predator-prey distribution. Oikos 59: 85-91. pdf




Lab News

Recent student presentations

Beth Crouchet and Nathan Custer presented on their research at the 2015 International Research Conference for Graduate Students at Texas State University, November 17 - 18, 2015:

Site factors influencing tree mortality during drought in Texas. Beth Crouchet, Susan Schwinning, Jennifer Jensen, Benjamin Schwartz.

Determining seed transfer zones for Mojave Desert shrubs. Nathan A. Custer, Susan Schwinning, Lesley A. DeFalco, and Todd C. Esque.

Highlighted publications

Scott Havill's paper on "Fire effects on invasive and native warm-season grass species in a North American grassland at a time of extreme drought" was highlighted in the October 2015 issue of Applied Vegetation Science (link).

Other lab news

The following students received awards and recognitions in the academic year 2015/16:

Beth Crouchet and Nate Custer received the Biology Department's "Certificate of Excellence"

Beth Crouchet was inducted into the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Beth Crouchet received the the Graduate College Scholarship - Science & Engineering and the Lamar and Marilynn Johanson Graduate Endowment Award.

Wesley Collins received a Freeman Center Scholarship.

The lab was awarded two federal grants in 2015:

NSF proposal : DEB-1557176: "Collaborative Research: Hydrological tipping points and desertification of semi-arid woodlands".

The DOD Legacy Award HQ0034-16-2-0006: "Characterizing Mojave Desert shrub ecotypes to establish seed transfer zones for military range restoration".

Podcast interview

In September 2013, Susan was interviewed by Alan Knapp on a paper published in Functional Ecology. Listen to the podcast here.

Contact information
Susan Schwinning
601 University Drive
312 Supple Science Bldg
Texas State University
San Marcos, TX 78666, USA
Phone: (512) 245-3753
Fax: (512) 245-8713

Back to:

Biology Department
Texas State University

Friend websites:


Comments on the contents of this site should be directed to Susan Schwinning