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Elizabeth Leger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Associate Director, Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Graduate Program

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California, Davis, 2004
  • B.A., Lewis and Clark College, 1996


I am interested in the population biology of plants. I work on local adaptation and rapid evolution of native and invasive species, and am interested in how genetic variation (below the species level) affects the distribution and abundance of species. I also work with plant-animal interactions, and am currently interested in how nutrients and herbivory interact to affect competitive relationships between plants.

In addition to my work on plant population biology, I do projects that gather basic ecological data about rare species, natural communities, and invasive species control, providing information that is necessary to make appropriate management and restoration decisions.


  • Leger, E.A. 2013, Annual plants change in size over a century of observations., Global Change Biology. Read More...
  • Kulpa, S.M., Leger, E.A. 2013, Strong natural selection during plant restoration favors and unexpected suite of plant traits, Evolutionary Applications. Read More...
  • Kulpa, S.M., Leger, E.A., Espeland, E.K., Goergen, E.M. 2012, Postfire seeding and plant community recovery in the Great Basin., Rangeland Ecology and Management 65:171-181 Read More...
  • Rowe, C. J., Leger 2012, Seed source affects establishment of Elymus multisetus in postfire revegetation in the Great Basin., Western North American Naturalist 72:543-553. Read More...
  • Arnone, J., Jasoni, R., Lucchesi, A., Larson, J., Leger, E. A., Sherry, R., Luo, Y., Schimel, D., Verburg, P. 2011, A climatically extreme year has large impacts on C-4 species in tallgrass prairie ecosystems but only minor effects on species richness and other plant functional groups, Journal of Ecology, 99, 678-688
  • Rowe, C. J., Leger, E. A. 2011, Competitive seedlings and inherited traits: a test of rapid evolution of Elymus multisetus (big squirreltail) in response to cheatgrass invasion., Evolutionary Applications 4: 485-498 Read More...
  • Perkins, L., Leger, E. A., Nowak, R. S. 2011, Invasion triangle: an organizational framework for species invasion, Ecology and Evolution, 1(4)
  • Goergen, E.M., Leger, E.A., Espeland, E.K. 2011, Native perennial grasses show evolutionary response to Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) invasion., PLoS One 6: e18145. Read More...
  • Leger, E. A., Espeland, E. K. 2010, Coevolution between native and invasive plant competitors: implications for invasive species management., Evolutionary Applications, 3(2), 4366-4379
  • Espeland, E. K., Leger, E. A., Perkins, L. B. 2010, Comparison of Seed Bank Estimation Techniques Using Six Weed Species in Two Soil Types., Rangeland Ecology and Management, 63(2), 243-247
  • Meyer, S., Leger, E. A. 2010, Inbreeding, genetic variation, and invasiveness: the strange case of Bromus tectorum., Rangelands, 32(1), 6-11.
  • Leger, E. A., Espeland, E. K. 2010, The shifting balance of facilitation and competition affects the outcome of intra- and interspecific interactions over the life history of California grassland annuals., Plant Ecology, 208(2), 333-345.
  • Chambers, J.C., Leger, E.A., Goergen, E 2009, Cold desert fire and invasive species management: resources, strategies, tactics, and responses, Rangelands 31: 14-20
    Leger, E. A., Forister, M. L. 2009, Colonization, abundance and geographic range size of gravestone lichens, Basic and Applied Ecology
  • Leger, E.A., Espeland, E.K., Merrill, K.R., Meyer, S.E. 2009, Genetic variation and local adaptation at a cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) invasion edge in western Nevada, Molecular Ecology online early
  • Leger, E.A. 2009, Sowing (and mapping) the wild oats, Molecular Ecology 18: 3759-3760
  • Gurevitch, J., Howard, T.J., Ashton, I.W., Leger, E.A., Howe, K., Woo, E., and Lerdau, M. 2008, Effects of experimental manipulation of light and nutrients on establishment of seedlings of native and invasive woody species in Long Island, NY forests, Biological Invasions
  • Leger, E. A. 2008, The adaptive value of remnant native plants in invaded communities: an example from the Great Basin., Ecological Applications, 18, 1226-1235.
    Leger, E.A. and K.J. Rice. 2007, Assessing the speed and predictability of evolution in an invasive species: a comparison of traits between native and invasive California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) across similar geographic gradients., Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 1090-1103
  • Leger, E.A., Howe, K.M., Gurevitch, J., Woo, E., Hickman, J., Ashton, I. and M. Lerdau 2007, Nitrogen additions and natural enemies in eastern forests: native and exotic species responses to resource manipulation in two community types, Forest Science 53:701-709
  • Leger, E.A. and M.L. Forister 2005, Increased herbivore resistance in invasive populations of the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)., Diversity and Distributions 11: 311-317
  • Leger, E.A. and K.J. Rice. 2003, Invasive California poppies (Eschscholzia californica Cham.) grow larger than native individuals under reduced competition., Ecology Letters 6: 257-264.
    Technical Publication
    E. Espeland, E. Leger, J. Davison 2010, Alternative Agriculture And Vegetation Management In The Walker Basin, Walker Basin Project Read More...
    Book or Chapter(s) in Books
    Suding, K., Leger, E.A 2012, Shifting Baselines: Dynamics of Evolution and Community Change in a Changing World., Restoration Ecology: The New Frontier, J. van Andel and J. Aronson, eds Read More...

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