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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » People » Carissa Wonkka

Carissa Wonkka

Research Ecologist


Research Ecologist 

Phone: 406.433.9416
Fax: 406.433.5038

Education • Current Research • Selected Publications • Grants

Additional Pages:  Research Projects,*Publications *
*Taken from the Agricultural Research Information System (ARIS) database.

Ph.D.  2014    Ecosystem Science and Management   Texas A&M University
M.S.   2010    Rangeland Ecology and Management    Texas A&M University
J.D.    2008    Land Use and Environmental Policy       Suffolk Law School            
B.S.    2003    University of Massachusetts, Amherst   Wildlife Conservation and Management

I am a plant ecologist focused on developing ecologically-based restoration strategies that improve invasion resistance of native plant communities. My current research includes restoration of woody-encroached and weed-invaded rangeland plant communities in the Great Plains, assessing the utility of plant functional traits for understanding rangeland response to invasion and disturbance, and determining how land-use change and disturbance influence plant community invasion resistance. My main studies currently include:

Prior to joining the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in April 2020, I was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. During my postdoc, I studied the mechanisms of woody plant persistence in encroached rangelands, the potential of extreme fire and drought for large-scale rangeland restoration, and social-ecological barriers to prescribed burning. My graduate work at Texas A&M University investigated the influence of disturbance, soils, and socio-economic constraints on restoration of invaded rangelands.

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2019-2024: Updating Species Reviews for the Fire Effects Information System; Joint Venture Agreement with USFS: Contract # 19-JV-11221637-177. C.L. Wonkka (PI), D. Twidwell (Co-PI)

2017-2020: Pyrogenic controls on grass-shrub persistence in the Great Plains; Joint Fire Science Program: Contract # 17-1-04-7. W.E. Rogers (PI), M.B. Dickinson (Co-PI), K.L. Kavanagh (Co-PI), A.G. Lodge (Co-PI), M.L. Treadwell (Co-PI), D. Twidwell (Co-PI), C.L. Wonkka (Co-PI)

2016-2019: Fighting wildfire with prescribed burning; Joint Fire Science Program: Contract # 16-1-02-10. U.P Kreuter (PI), F. Fleischman (Co-PI), M.L. Treadwell (Co-PI), R.P. Bixxler (Co-PI), D.L. Doan-Crider (Co-PI), C.L. Wonkka (Collaborator/contributor)