Bill Longland

Adjunct Professor

Contact Information


  • Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 1989
  • M.S., University of Nevada, Reno, 1983
  • B.S., University of Nevada, Reno, 1980


Since receiving his Ph.D. degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Riverside, Dr. Longland has been a Research Ecologist with the USDA, Agricultural Research Service laboratory located on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Dr. Longland has been an adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department since 1988 and has been a faculty member in the graduate program in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology since its inception. He has supervised and served on advisory committees of numerous Ph.D. students in this program as well as M.S. students in both the Biology Department and the Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Sciences. Dr. Longland's research background includes studies of predator-prey interactions, seed predation and dispersal by granivorous and frugivorous animals, effects of invasive plants on native animal populations, and population genetics of invasive plants.

Research Interests

I have broad research interests in species interactions, and much of this involves trophic interactions. This includes past work on predator-prey relationships, focusing both on prey selection and hunting tactics of predators, and work on adaptations of prey animals for detecting and avoiding their primary predators. Much of my current research involves interactions between plants and animals that consume and cache seeds. In the latter research, I have focused both on adaptations of granivores (i.e., seed-eaters) for living on a seasonally-produced resource and on the impact of granivores on the dynamics of plant populations and communities. While granivores may impact many plants simply through seed predation, there are also intriguing cases of mutualisms in which seedling recruitment occurs mainly through germination of seeds cached by granivores. Desert rodents play a role in most of my research on species interactions, either as prey species, seed predators, or seed dispersers. Currently, I am studying the relative roles of frugivorous birds and seed-caching rodents on seed dispersal and seedling establishment of western juniper.

My second area of research interest is in the population genetics and evolutionary ecology of invasive weeds. Some of this work overlaps my above interests in species interactions by considering, for example, the role of seed predation and soil disturbance by rodents on weed populations, but most of it tends to focus on single weed species. Ongoing or recent studies in my molecular genetics laboratory include investigation of the potential role of infrequent outcrossing and heterosis in facilitating invasiveness of Bromus tectorum and searching for genetic signatures of endophytic fungi that may enhance invasiveness in B. tectorum and a congener, B. rubens. Greenhouse studies as well as common garden and reciprocal planting experiments in the field are used to test for and elucidate cases of locally adapted genotypes in populations of invasive plants.

Selected Publications

  • Longland, W.S. and S.M. Ostoja. 2013. Ecosystem services from keystone species: diversionary seeding and seed-caching desert rodents can enhance Indian ricegrass seedling establishment. Restoration Ecology 21:285-291.
  • Andreasen, A.M., K.M. Stewart, W.S. Longland, J.P. Beckmann, and M.L. Forister. 2012. Identification of source-sink dynamics in mountain lions of the Great Basin. Molecular Ecology 21:5689-5701.
  • Longland, W.S. 2012. Small mammals in saltcedar (Tamarix ramosissima)-invaded and native riparian habitats of the western Great Basin. Invasive Plant Science and Management 5:230-237.
  • Crampton, L.H., W.S. Longland, D.D. Murphy, and J.S. Sedinger, 2011. Food abundance determines distribution and density of a frugivorous bird across seasons. Oikos 120:65-76.
  • Ashley, M.C. and W. S. 2009. Assessing cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) genetic diversity and population structure using RAPD and microsatellite molecular markers. Western North American Naturalist. 69:63-74.
  • Ashley, M.C. and W.S. Longland. 2008. Microsatellite evidence for facultative outcrossing in cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum): implications for the evolution of invasiveness. Plant Species Biology 22:197-204.
  • Longland, W.S. 2007. Desert rodents reduce seedling recruitment of Salsola paulsenii. Western North American Naturalist 67:378-383.
  • Murray, A.L., A.M. Barber, S.H. Jenkins, and W.S. Longland. 2006. Competitive environment affects food hoarding behavior of Merriam’s kangaroo rats (Dipodomys merriami). Journal of Mammalogy 87:571-578.
  • Keuroghlian, A., D.P. Eaton, and W.S. Longland. 2004. Area use by white-lipped and collared peccaries (Tayassu pecari and Tayassu tajacu) in a tropical forest fragment. Biological Conservation 120:411-425.
  • Vander Wall, S.B and W.S. Longland. 2004. Diplochory: Are two seed dispersers better than one? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:155-161.
  • Longland, W.S. and S.L. Bateman. 2002. The ecological value of shrub islands on disturbed sagebrush rangelands. Journal of Range Management 55:571-575.
  • Longland, W.S., S.H. Jenkins, S.B. Vander Wall, J.A. Veech, and S. Pyare. 2001. Seedling recruitment in Oryzopsis hymenoides: are desert granivores mutualists or predators? Ecology 82:3131-3148.
  • Pyare, S. and W.S. Longland. 2001. Patterns of ectomycorrhizal-fungi consumption by small mammals in remnant old-growth stands of the Sierra Nevada. Journal of Mammalogy 82:681-689.
  • Pyare, S. and W.S. Longland. 2001. Mechanisms of truffle detection by northern flying squirrels. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79:1007-1015.
  • Pyare, S. and W.S. Longland. 2000. Seedling-aided cache detection by heteromyid rodents. Oecologia 122:66-71.
  • Jones, A.L. and W.S. Longland. 1999. Effects of cattle grazing on salt desert rodent communities. American Midland Naturalist 141:1-11.
  • Longland, W.S. and S.L. Bateman. 1998. Implications of desert rodent seed preferences for range remediation. Journal of Range Management 51:679-684.
  • Vander Wall, S.B., W.S. Longland, S. Pyare, and J.A. Veech. 1998. Cheek pouch capacities and loading rates of heteromyid rodents. Oecologia 113:21-28.
  • McMurray, M.H., S.H. Jenkins, and W.S. Longland. 1997. Effects of seed density on germination of a native and an introduced grass species dispersed by granivorous rodents. American Midland Naturalist 138:322-330.
  • Longland, W.S. and C. Clements. 1995. Use of fluorescent pigments in studies of seed caching by rodents. Journal of Mammalogy 76:1260-1266.
  • Young, J.A., R.R. Blank, W.S. Longland, and D.E. Palmquist. 1994. Seeding Indian ricegrass in an arid environment in the Great Basin. Journal of Range Management 47:2-7.
  • Pierce, B.M., W.S. Longland, and S.H. Jenkins. 1992. Rattlesnake predation on desert rodents: microhabitat and species-specific effects on risk. Journal of Mammalogy 73:859-865.
  • Longland, W.S. 1991. Risk of predation and food consumption by black-tailed jackrabbits. Journal of Range Management 44:447-450.
  • Longland, W.S. and M.V. Price. 1991. Direct observations of owls and heteromyid rodents: can predation risk explain microhabitat use? Ecology 72:2261-2273.
  • Price, M.V., W.S. Longland, and R.L. Goldingay. 1991. Niche relationships of Dipodomys agilis and D. stephensi, two sympatric kangaroo rats of similar size. American Midland Naturalist 126:172-186.
  • Longland, W.S. 1989. Reversed sexual size dimorphism: its effect on prey selection by the great horned owl, Bubo virginianus. Oikos 54:395-398.
  • McAdoo, J.K., W.S. Longland, and R.A. Evans. 1989. Nongame bird community responses to sagebrush invasion of crested wheatgrass seedings. Journal of Wildlife Management 53:494-502.
  • Longland, W.S. and S.H. Jenkins. 1987. Sex and age affect vulnerability of desert rodents to owl predation. Journal of Mammalogy 68:746-754.