Robert Nowak

Photo of Robert Nowak
Dr. Nowak working at the Nevada Test Site.

Emeritus Professor

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science
University of Nevada/Mail Stop 186
1664 North Virginia Street
Reno,  Nevada   89557

Office: (775)
Building: Off Campus,  Office N/A

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B.S. 1977 University of Minnesota, St. Paul MN
M.S. 1980 Utah State University, Logan UT
Ph.D. 1984 Utah State University, Logan UT


Plant physiological ecology. Current research areas: 1) Invasion, competition, and ecology of exotic annual grasses, especially cheatgrass and red brome, in arid ecosystems. 2) Effects of global changes on vegetation dynamics and on plant ecophysiology and productivity. 3) Dynamics of water and nutrients in native plant communities and their effects on carbon balance, water balance, rooting dynamics, and competition for soil resources. 4) Ecology, physiology, and conservation of rare or endemic plant species. 5) Effects of de-icing compounds on vegetation in the Lake Tahoe basin.


Esenov, P., Zverev, N., Narayanan, R., Nowak, R. S., Perryman, B. L. 2015, Case study: Chenopod cultivation to increase the forage base for domestic grazing animals in Turkmenistan., Journal of Arid Land Studies, 25.  
Nowak, R. S., DeSoyza, A. 2015, Litter production as a proxy for aboveground productivity under elevated atmospheric CO2 at the Nevada Desert FACE Facility., Journal of Arid Land Studies, 25.  
Ferguson, S., Leger, E. A., Li, J., Nowak, R. 2015, Natural selection favors root investment in native grasses during restoration of invaded fields., Journal of Arid Environments, 116, 11-17.  
Evans, R. D., Koyama, A., Sonderegger, D., Charleet, T. D., Newingham, B., Fenstermaker, L., Harlow, B., Jin, V., Ogle, K., Smith, S., Nowak, R. S. 2014, Greater ecosystem carbon in the Mojave Desert after ten years exposure to elevated CO2., Nature Climate Change, 4, 394-397.  
Perkins, L. B., Nowak, R. S. 2013, Invasion syndromes: Hypotheses on relationships between invasive species attributes and characteristics of invaded sites., Journal of Arid Lands, 5(3), 275-283.  
Newingham, B. A., Vanier, C. H., Charlet, T. N., Ogle, K., Smith, S. D., Nowak, R. S. 2013, No cumulative effect of elevated CO2 on perennial plant biomass after ten years in the Mojave Desert., Global Change Biology, 19, 2168-2181.  
Sonderegger, D. I., Ogle, K., Evans, R. D., Ferguson, S. D., Nowak, R. S. 2013, Temporal dynamics of fine roots under long-term exposure to elevated CO2 in the Mojave Desert., New Phytologist, 198, 127-138.  
Shang, Z., Li, X. R., Nowak, R. S., Wu, P., Gao, Y. H., Zhao, Y., Huang, L., Hu, Y. G., Jia, R. L. 2012, Effect of sand-stabilizing shrubs on soil respiration in a temperate desert., Plant and Soil, doi 10.1007/s11104-012-1465-3.  
Perkins, L., Nowak, R. S. 2012, Native and non-native grasses generate common types of plant–soil feedbacks by altering soil nutrients and microbial communities., Oikos, 122, 199–208.  
Li, J., Yu, B., Zhao, C., Nowak, R. S., Zhao, Z., Sheng, Y., Li, J 2012, Physiological and morphological responses of Tamarix ramosissima and Populus euphratica to altered groundwater availability., Tree Physiology, doi: 10.1093/treephys/tps120.  
Perkins, L., Nowak, R. S. 2012, Soil conditioning and plant-soil feedbacks affect competitive relationships between native and invasive grasses., Plant Ecology, 213, 1337-1344.  
Mazzola MB, Chambers JC, Blank RR, Pyke DA, Schupp EW, Allcock KG, Doescher PS, Nowak RS. 2011, Effects of resource availability and propagule supply on native species recruitment in sagebrush ecosystemsinvaded by Bromus tectorum., Biological Invasions 13:513-526.   View item.
Ferguson, S. D., Nowak, R. S. 2011, Transitory effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on fine root dynamics in an arid ecosystem do not increase long-term soil carbon input from root litter, New Phytologist, 190, 953-967   View item.
Munck, I. A., Bennett, C. M., Camilli, K. S., Nowak, R. S. 2010, Long-term impact of de-icing salts on tree health in the Lake Tahoe Basin: environmental influences and interactions with insects and diseases., Forest Ecology and Management, 260, 1218-1229  
Clark, N., Apple, M., Nowak, R. S. 2010, The effects of elevated CO2 on root respiration rates of two Mojave Desert shrubs., Global Change Biology, 16, 1566-1575.  
Cable, J. M., Ogle, K., Lucas, R. W., Huxman, T. E., Loik, M. E., Smith, S. D., Tissue, D. T., Ewers, B. E., Pendall, E., Welker, J. M., Charlet, T. N., Cleary, M., Griffith, A., Nowak, R. S., Rogers, M., Steltzer, H., Sullivan, P. F., van Gestel, N. C. 2010, The temperature responses of soil respiration in deserts: a seven desert synthesis., Biogeochemistry  
Clark, N., Rillig, M., Nowak, R. S. 2009, Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal abundance in the Mojave Desert: Seasonal dynamics and impacts of elevated CO2, Journal of Arid Environments, 73, 834-843  
Devoe, N., Nowak, R. S., Florence, S. 2009, Effective management of invasive plants., Rangelands, 31, 21-24.  
Allen, E., Nowak, R. S. 2008, Effect of pinyon-juniper tree cover on the soil seed bank., Rangeland Ecology & Management, 61(1), 63-73.  
Allen, E., Chambers, J., Nowak, R. S. 2008, Effects of a spring prescribed burn on the soil seed bank in sagebrush steppe exhibiting pinyon-juniper expansion., Western North American Naturalist, 68, 265-277.