Stan Smith

Professor Emeritus
Professor of Life Sciences
Expertise: Desert Ecology, Plant Physiology, Global Climate Change


Stan Smith is a recognized expert on the ecology of deserts, and more recently how global climate change may impact dryland regions. He specializes in desert plants, specifically how plants survive the temperature extremes and water stress that characterize deserts. He has published extensively in ecological and plant journals, and has conducted research in all four of North America's deserts: Nevada's Mojave and Great Basin, the Sonoran Desert, and the Chihuahuan Desert. His work has been recognized with UNLV's Barrick Distinguished Scholar and Harry Reid Silver State research awards.

Smith also has more than a decade of administrative experience at UNLV, specializing in optimization of research space and core research facilities. He served first as the associate vice president for research and currently is the acting dean of the College of Sciences. 

He remains active in applied ecological research, particularly issues related to climate change, renewable energy installation in arid lands, and water resource issues.  He serves of the Bureau of Land Management's Resource Advisory Committee, advising the BLM on land management issues.


  • Ph.D. in ecology, Arizona State University M.S. and B.S. in Biology, New Mexico State University

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Stan Smith In The News

Reno News & Review
Those seeking a dystopian postcard for the effects of long-term megadrought and human-caused climate change will find a dandy at Lake Mead.
Las Vegas Sun
For generations, summer in Nevada has meant fire season. These days, it’s more accurate to call it a fire year.

Articles Featuring Stan Smith

researcher in lab
Research | September 12, 2017

UNLV research efforts have consistently grown over its 60-year life span, setting us on track to someday becoming one of the premier research universities in the nation.

picture of scientists looking through microscopes
Research | November 1, 2008

UNLV life sciences researchers brought in more than $7 million last year to study topics ranging from the life span of honeybees to global climate change.

Stan Smith
Research | November 1, 2005

The 2003 Harry Reid Silver State Research Award winner studies the unique processes of desert ecosystems to examine how climate change may affect other regions of the world.