Matthew BowkerAssociate Director, Associate Professor

Published by Stephanie Mayer on

Biocrusts, Community ecology, Restoration ecology
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Bowker has broad interests within ecosystem science. He is both a plant and soil ecologist, and works in applied and fundamental science settings, in many ecosystem and community types including forests, rangelands and deserts. His research has spanned multiple levels of organization – organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, landscapes – and has ranged in scale from microcosm to global.

The unifying thread in the majority of his research to date has been his long-term fascination with the dryland ecosystems of the world and their sustainable use. He has conducted research in most western US states, most of the major North American deserts and semi-arid ecoregions, in addition to drylands of Spain, Australia and Mexico and desert-like degraded regions of Iceland.

By addressing fundamental questions about dryland ecosystem function, and employing a from-the-ground-up soil-focused approach to dryland restoration, Bowker hopes to enable better understanding and wiser use of rapidly changing dryland biomes.

Full Curriculum Vitae 
Lab Website
Selected Publications
  1. Bowker MA, Doherty K., Antoninka AJ, Ramsey PW, DuPre ME, Durham RA (2022) Biocrusts influence community plant development, promoting native plant dominance. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 10:840324.
  2. Eldridge DJ, Reed SC, Travers S, Bowker MA, Maestre F, Ding J, Havrilla C, Rodriguez-Caballero E, Barger N, Weber B, Antoninka A, Belnap J, Chaudhary VB, Faist A, Ferrenberg S, Huber-Sannwald E, Malam Issa O, Zhou Y (2020) The pervasive and multifaceted influence of biocrusts on water in the world’s drylands. Global Change Biology 26: 6003-6014.
  3. Remke M, Johnson N, Williamson M, Bowker MA. 2020. Sympatric pairings of dryland grass population, mycorrhizal fungi, and associated soil biota enhance mutualism and ameliorate drought stress. Journal of Ecology 109:1210-1223.
  4. Maestre FT, Quero JL, Gotelli NJ, Ochoa V, Delgado-Baquerizo M, García-Gómez M, Bowker MA et al. (over 50 authors) (2012) Biodiversity enhances ecosystem multifunctionality in the world’s drylands. Science 335: 214-217
  5. Bowker MA (2007) Biological soil crust rehabilitation in theory and practice: an underexploited opportunity. Restoration Ecology 15: 13-23