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Lawrence Walker

School of Life Sciences
Office: WHI 307
Phone: 702-895-3196
Fax: 702-895-3956


I am a plant ecologist interested in the mechanisms that drive primary plant succession. Primary succession can be defined as directional changes in plant communities after severe disturbances that leave no soil layers intact. Ecologists have been studying succession for about 100 years but are still in disagreement about what causes it, and even if it exists! Attempts at general theories that will explain successional change are useful exercises but are not readily applicable to specific examples of succession. My approach to this dilemma is to examine many examples in different systems, using similar methods, and then to look for similarities or differences between ecosystems.


Community Assembly, Disturbance Ecology, Plant Ecology, Plant Succession, Restoration Ecology


Ph.D. University of Alaska, Fairbanks


  • 2009-2010 — Wilder Chair in Botany, University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • 2009 — UNLV Distinguished Barrick Scholar Award
  • 2006 — ISI Web of Science Highly Cited Scientist in Ecology/Environment, Thomson Scientific,
  • 2003 — Fulbright Senior Specialist Award, Iceland.
  • 2001 — Distinguished Researcher Award, College of Sciences, UNLV
  • 1997 — UNLV Barrick Scholar Award


  • Mehltreter, K., L.R. Walker and J. Sharpe (eds.). 2010. Fern Ecology. Cambridge University Press.
  • Restrepo, C., L.R. Walker, A.B. Shiels, R. Bussman, L. Claessens, S. Fisch, P. Lozano, G. Negi, L. Paolini, G. Poveda, C. Ramos-Scharrón, M. Richter and E. Velázquez. 2009. Landsliding and its multi-scale influence on mountainscapes. BioScience 59:685-698.
  • Walker, L.R. and R. del Moral. 2009. Lessons from primary succession for restoration of severely damaged habitats. Applied Vegetation Science 12:55-67.
  • Hayes, W.E. II, L.R. Walker and E.A. Powell. 2009. Competitive abilities and ecological impacts of Tamarix aphylla in Southern Nevada. Plant Ecology 202: 159-167.
  • Peltzer, D.A., P.J. Bellingham, H. Kurokawa, L.R. Walker, D.A. Wardle, and G.W Yeates. 2009. Punching above their weight: low biomass non-native plant species alter soil properties during primary succession. Oikos 118: 1001-1014.
  • Shiels, A.B., C.A. West, L. Weiss, P.D. Klawinski and L.R. Walker. 2008. Soil factors predict initial plant colonization on Puerto Rican landslides. Plant Ecology 195: 165-178.
  • Wardle, D.A., R. D. Bardgett, L.R. Walker, D. Peltzer and A. Lagerstrom. 2008. Patterns of plant diversity across contrasting long-term chronosequences. Oikos 117: 93-103.
  • del Moral, R. and L. R. Walker. 2007. Environmental Disasters, Natural Recovery and Human Responses. Cambridge University Press.
  • Walker, L.R., J. Walker and R. Hobbs (Eds.). 2007 Linking Restoration and Ecological Succession. Springer.
  • Walker, L.R., P.B. Bellingham, and D.A. Peltzer. 2006. Plant characteristics are poor predictors of microsite colonization during the first two years of primary succession. Journal of Vegetation Science 17:397-406.
  • Wardle, D., L.R. Walker, and R.D. Bardgett. 2004. Ecosystem properties and forest decline in contrasting long term chronosequences. Science 305:509-513.
  • Walker, L.R. and R. del Moral. 2003. Primary Succession and Ecosystem Rehabilitation.Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Walker, L.R. (Ed.). 1999. Ecosystems of Disturbed Ground. Elsevier, Amsterdam.