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The Gornish lab focuses on using integrated approaches to develop and deploy effective restoration and land management strategies in working and natural landscapes. We develop research and outreach programs on a wide range of themes to address questions related to ecological restoration and weed management in Arizona and the western U.S. region.



Seed balls are structures typically made of clay, compost, water and seed. These structures can ameliorate conditions that contribute to failure in arid land restoration. We run a series of experiments testing seedball design and outcomes.

Enhancing restoration outcomes: Seedballs

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Through linking plant traits with ecosystem services, this research area improves upon rangeland reseeding approaches by identifying and utilizing plants to maintain high foraging quality and increase rangeland resistance to drought and plant invasion, while enhancing other desirable ecosystem services such as soil quality, erosion control, and biodiversity.

Enhancing restoration success: Trait-based approaches


Considerations of the soil microbiome in aridland management

Largely in collaboration with the Barberán lab at the University of Arizona, we conduct research that focuses on understanding relationships between soil microbial communities and desert plants in order to drive technology advances in restoration and invasive species management of dryland habitats.


Novel approaches to ecological restoration

There are so many opportunities for employing new techniques and technologies to ecological restoration practices that have huge potential to enhance success. Our lab is involved in a series of projects that explore some of the less common approaches to restoration.


We are sort of obsessed with buffelgrass. The lab is involved with a ton of different studies of buffelgrass to better understand invasion processes in order to ultimately develop more effective control methods.


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