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Natural Resource Ecology and Management

NREM Faculty - Gail W. T. Wilson

Sarkeys Distinguished Professor Rangeland Soil Ecology

475 Ag Hall (office)
008C Ag Hall (address)
Stillwater, OK 74078
(405) 744-5539

Educational Background
BS: Biology, Geology Minor, Mercyhurst College, Erie, PA, 1979.
MS: Biology, Slippery Rock State University, Slippery Rock, PA, 1983.
PhD: Agronomy, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, 2003.


Research Interests:

My research interests are in plant community ecology, plant-soil microbe interactions, and plant-animal interactions, utilizing a combination of experimental field and greenhouse studies. The majority of my research focuses on rangeland ecology and management, fire ecology, nutrient dynamics, and grassland restoration, with an emphasis on belowground mechanisms such as mycorrhizal symbiosis and belowground populations of meristems.  Dynamics within the soil community can be a major driver of the plant community. For example, our research indicates that mycorrhizal fungi contribute to community processes and functions through their establishment of linkages and feedbacks between plants and nutrient cycles. Other research I am currently involved with includes invasive species and woody plant expansion in grasslands, restoration of rangelands, and the importance of resource availability (specifically soil P, N, and light) as controllers of the mutualistic function of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.

Selected Publications

Johnson, N.C., G.W.T. Wilson, J.A. Wilson, R.M. Miller, and M. Bowker. 2015. Mycorrhizal phenotypes and the law of the minimum. New Phytologist. In Press. doi: 10.1111/nph.13172

Greer, M.J.* and Gail W. T. Wilson. 2014. Restoration ecology: Introduction in a “Timely” manner. Ecology 101: Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 95:274–280.

Greer, M.J.*, G.W.T. Wilson, K.R. Hickman, and S. Wilson*. 2014. Experimental evidence that invasive grasses use allelopathic biochemicals as a potential mechanism for invasion: Chemical warfare in nature. Plant and Soil. 385:165-179.

Avolio, M.L., S. E. Koerner, K.J. La Pierre, K.R. Wilcox, G.W.T. Wilson, M.D. Smith and S.L. Collins. 2014. Changes in plant community composition, not diversity, during a decade of nitrogen and phosphorus additions drive above-ground productivity in a tallgrass prairie. Journal of Ecology. 102: 1649-1660.

Williams, R.J.*, S.W. Hallgren, G.W.T. Wilson and M.W. Palmer. 2013.  Juniperus virginiana encroachment into upland oak forests alters arbuscular mycorrhizal abundance and litter chemistry.  Applied Soil Ecology. 65: 23-30.

Ji, B., C.A. Gehring, G.W.T. Wilson, R.M. Miller, L. Flores-Renteria, and N.C. Johnson. 2013. Patterns of diversity and adaptation in Glomeromycota from three prairie grasslands. Molecular Ecology. 22: 2573-2587.

Hartnett, D.C., G.W.T. Wilson, J.P. Ott*, and M. Setshogo. 2013. Variation in root system traits among African semi-arid savanna grasses: Implications for drought tolerance. Austral Ecology. 38: 383-392.

Williamson, M.M.*, G.W.T. Wilson, and D.C. Hartnett. 2012. Controls on bud activation and tiller initiation in C3 and C4 tallgrass prairie grasses: The role of light and nitrogen. Botany.  90:1221-1228.

Reinhart, K., G.W.T. Wilson, and M. Rinella. 2012. Predicting plant responses to mycorrhizae: Integrating evolutionary history and plant traits. Ecology Letters. 15: 689-695.

Williams, R.J. *, S.W. Hallgren, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2012. Frequency of Prescribed Burning in an Upland Oak Forest Determines Soil and Litter Properties and Alters the Soil Microbial Community. Forest Ecology and Management. 265: 241-247.

Miller, R.M., G.W.T. Wilson, and N.C. Johnson. 2012. Arbuscular Mycorrhiza and Grassland Ecosystems. Chapter 3: Pp. 59-85. In: D. Southwood (Ed.). Biocomplexity of Plant-Fungal Interactions. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK.

Wilson, G.W.T., K.R. Hickman, and M.M. Williamson*. 2012. Invasive warm-season grasses reduce mycorrhizal root colonization and biomass production of native prairie grasses. Mycorrhiza. 22: 327-336.

McCain, K.N.S.*, G.W.T. Wilson, and J.M. Blair. 2011. Mycorrhizal suppression alters plant productivity and forb establishment in a grass-dominated prairie restoration. Plant Ecology. 212: 1675-1685.

Hajny, K.M.*, D.C. Hartnett, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2011. Season and intensity of fire influences the expansion of a woody invader (Rhus glabra) in grasslands. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 20: 709-720.

Johnson, N.C., G.W.T. Wilson, M.A. Bowker, J.A. Wilson**, and R.M. Miller. 2010. Resource limitation as a driver of local adaptation in mycorrhizal symbioses.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107: 2093-2098.

Hoeksema J.D., V.B. Chaudhary, C.A. Gehring, N.C. Johnson, J. Karst, R.T. Koide, A. Pringle, C. Zabinski, J.D. Bever, J.C. Moore, G.W.T. Wilson, J.N. Klironomos, and J. Umbanhowar.  2010. Context-dependency in plant response to mycorrhizal fungi: A meta-analysis. Ecology Letters. 13: 394-407.

Chaudhary, V.B., L.L. Walters, J.D. Bever, J.D. Hoeksema, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2010. Advancing synthetic ecology: a data management technique to facilitate complex ecological meta-analyses. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 91: 235-243.

McCain, K.N.S.*, S.G. Baer, J.M. Blair, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2010. Dominant grasses suppress local diversity in restored tallgrass prairie. Restoration Ecology. 18: 40-49.

Wilson, G.W.T., C.W. Rice, M.C. Rillig, A. Springer**, and D.C. Hartnett. 2009. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi control soil aggregation and carbon sequestration. Ecology Letters. 12:452-461.

Johnson, N.C., V.B. Chaudhary, J.D. Hoeksema, J.C. Moore, A. Pringle, J.A. Umbanhower and G.W.T. Wilson. 2009. Mysterious mycorrhizae? A field trip and classroom experiment to demystify symbioses formed between plants and fungi. American Biology Teacher. 71:389-394.

Wilson, G.W.T. and M.M. Williamson**. 2008. Topsin-M: the new benomyl for mycorrhizal suppression experiments. Mycologia. 100: 548-554.

Jonas, J.L.*, G.W.T. Wilson, P.M. White, Jr.*, and A. Joern. 2007. Consumption of mycorrhizal and saprophytic fungi by Collembola in grassland soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 39: 2594-2602.

Johnson, N.C., J.D. Hoeksema, L. Abbott, J. Bever, V.B. Chaudhary, C. Gehring, J. Klironomos, R. Koide, R.M. Miller, R.J. Moore, M. Schwartz, S. Simard, W. Swenson, J. Umbanhowar, G.W.T. Wilson, C. Zabinski. 2006. From Lilliput to Brobdingnag: Extending models of mycorrhizal function across scales. Bioscience. 56:889-900.

Wilson, G.W.T., D.C. Hartnett, and C.W. Rice. 2006. Mycorrhizal-mediated phosphorus transfer between the tallgrass prairie plants Sorghastrum nutans and Artemisia ludoviciana. Functional Ecology. 20: 427-435.

Kula, A.R.*, D.C. Hartnett, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2005. Mycorrhizal symbiosis and insect herbivory in tallgrass prairie microcosms. Ecology Letters. 88: 61-69.

Hartnett, D.C, A.F. Potgieter, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2004. Fire effects of mycorrhizal symbiosis and root system architecture in Southern African Savanna grasses. African Journal of Ecology. 42: 1-10.

Trager, M.**, G.W.T Wilson, and D.C. Hartnett. 2004. Interactive effects of burn regime and bison activity on tallgrass prairie vegetation. American Midland Naturalist. 152: 37-47.

Hartnett, D.C. and G.W.T Wilson. 2002. The role of mycorrhizas in plant community structure and dynamics: Lessons from the grasslands. Plant and Soil. 244: 319-331.

Wilson, G.W.T., D.C. Hartnett, M.D. Smith*, and K. Kobbeman**. 2001. Effects of mycorrhizae on growth and demography of tallgrass prairie forbs. American Journal of Botany. 88: 1452-1457.

Eom, A.H.*, D.C. Hartnett, and G.W.T. Wilson. 2000. Host plant species effects on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in tallgrass prairie. Oecologia. 122: 435-444.

Hartnett, D.C. and G.W.T. Wilson. 1999.  Mycorrhizal mediation of plant species composition and diversity in tallgrass prairie.  Ecology. 80: 122-130.

Wilson, G.W.T. and D.C. Hartnett. 1998. Interspecific variation in plant responses to mycorrhizal colonization in prairie grasses and forbs.  American Journal of Botany. 85:1732-1738.

Wilson, G.W.T. and D.C. Hartnett. 1997. Effects of mycorrhizas on plant growth and dynamics in experimental tallgrass prairie microcosms. American Journal of Botany. 84: 478-482.