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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Natalie M West



/ARSUserFiles/51397/natalie_west_web.jpgNatalie M. West

Research Ecologist


Phone: 406.433.9440
Fax: 406.433.5038 

EducationCurrent Research • Research Experience • Publications •

Additional Pages:  Research Projects,*Publications *   

*Taken from the Agricultural Research Information System (ARIS) database.






   Ph.D. Biological Sciences (Ecology) University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE
   M.S. Plant Biology Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL
   B.A. Biology Wartburg College, Waverly, IA





I use a combination of empirical and theoretical approaches to address questions within applied weed ecology and classical biological control of weeds. My research focuses on interactions in population and community dynamics, with the goal of increasing the efficacy of weed management and improving health and sustainability of wild and rangeland systems. Current projects include:

  • evaluating demographic impacts of herbivores and habitat interactions to optimize effective biocontrol of whitetop/hoary cress (Lepidium draba L.) and Russian Olive (Elaegnus angustifolia L.);
  • quantifying the long term outcomes of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) biological control in the northern Great Plains;
  • improving revegetation and weed management after energy development.




Prior to joining the Sidney lab, I was a postdoctoral ecologist with USDA-ARS in Urbana, IL, researching invasion risks and management of perennial crops introduced for biomass production. My graduate work examined plant-insect interactions in native thistles (Cirsium sp.) and the ecology of exotic species in forest-opening communities.



/ARSUserFiles/51397/me and thistle.jpg   /ARSUserFiles/51397/dora small.jpg




  • West, N.M., D.P. Matlaga, R. Muthukrishnan, G. Spyreas, N.R. Jordan, J.D. Forester, and A.S. Davis. 2017. Lack of impacts during early establishment highlights a short-term management window for minimizing invasions from perennial biomass crops. Frontiers in Plant Science 8: 767. doi:10.3389/fpls.2017.00767
  • Espeland, E.K., J.M. Mangold, and N.M. West. 2016. Spatial variation in germination of two annual brome species in the northern Great Plains. Prairie Naturalist 48: 96-101.
  • Muthukrishnan, R, N.M. West, A.S. Davis, N.R. Jordan, and J.D. Forester. 2015. Evaluating the role of landscape in the spread of invasive species: The case of the biomass crop Miscanthus × giganteus. Ecological Modelling 317: 6-15.
  • Pittman, S.E., R. Muthukrishnan, N.M. West, A.S. Davis, N.R. Jordan, and J.D. Forester. 2015. Mitigating the potential for invasive spread of the exotic biofuel crop, Miscanthus x giganteus. Biological Invasions 17: 3247-3261. doi:10.1007/s10530-015-0950-z
  • West, N.M., D.P. Matlaga, and A.S. Davis. 2014. Managing spread from rhizome fragments is key to reducing invasiveness in Miscanthus x giganteus. Invasive Plant Science and Management 7(3): 517-525.
  • West, N.M., D.P. Matlaga, and A.S. Davis. 2014. Quantifying targets to manage invasion risk: light gradients dominate the early regeneration niche of naturalized and pre-commercial Miscanthus populations. Biological Invasions 16: 1991-2001. doi:10.1007/s10530-014-0643-z
  • Louda, S.M., T.A. Rand, A.A.R. Kula, A.E. Arnett, N.M. West, and B. Tenhumberg. 2011. Priority resource access mediates competitive intensity between an invasive weevil and native floral herbivores. Biological Invasions 13: 2233-2248. doi:10.1007/s10530-011-0036-5
  • West, N.M., D.J. Gibson, and P.R. Minchin. 2010. Microhabitat analysis of the invasive exotic liana Lonicera japonica Thunb. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 137 (4): 380-390. doi:10.3159/09-RA-048.1
  • West, N.M., D.J. Gibson, and P.R. Minchin. 2009. Characterizing the microhabitats of exotic species in Illinois shale barrens. Plant Ecology 200 (2): 255-265. doi:10.1007/s11258-008-9450-x

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Last Modified: 8/16/2017
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