Lesley Morris joined the Oregon State University Agriculture and Natural Resources Program at Eastern Oregon University as an Assistant Professor of Rangeland Sciences in July of 2013. Dr. Morris received her PhD in Ecology from Utah State University and then served as a Post-doctoral Research Associate with the Agricultural Research Service, Forage and Range Research Laboratory. Dr. Morris specializes in Historical Ecology, which employs both archival and biological methods to determine how ecosystems change over time. For her dissertation, she explored new methods using soil phytolith analysis to examine historical changes in vegetation. Phytoliths are microscopic silica casts of plant cells that remain in sediments long after plants decay. Her current research is on how land-use legacies from historical cultivation and rangeland re-seeding projects affect recovery and restoration efforts. Her studies show these land uses can alter rangeland vegetation and soils for nearly a century in the Great Basin. Dr. Morris will be teaching undergraduate courses for the program in rangeland ecology and management on the Eastern Oregon University campus while advising graduate students at Oregon State University.
Specialty: Historical Ecology and Land-use Legacies
Research Interests: My research interests are in historical ecology and land-use legacies on rangelands. Historical ecology employs both archival and biological methods to determine how ecosystems have changed over time. Examining how our rangeland ecosystems have responded to historical land use is a crucial part of understanding how to manage them for the future. My current focus is on how landuse legacies from past cultivation and rangeland re-seeding projects affect recovery and restoration of rangeland ecosystems.