US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
Susan Meyer is a Research Ecologist with the US Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station at the Shrub Sciences Laboratory in Provo, Utah. She has produced a large body of published work in seed ecology, studying habitat-correlated infraspecific variation in seed germination and establishment syndromes of native Intermountain plant species as part of efforts to develop tools to restore semi-arid wildland ecosystems. More recently she has worked extensively with the seed ecology of the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass, downy brome), with the goal of developing biocontrol methods that operate at the seed and seedling stages. This work has revealed a complex and fascinating array of seed pathogens that interact with the host seed, with each other, and with soil microenvironmental conditions to produce sometimes dramatic effects in the field. Complete stand failure over large areas, referred to locally as ‘cheatgrass die-off’, is a relatively common but sporadic occurrence that has attracted the attention of land managers. Dr. Meyer was invited by the USDI Bureau of Land Management to lead a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary research effort to understand this phenomenon and to explore its potential consequences for management. This work has also been funded through grants from USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the National Fire Plan, the Joint Fire Sciences Program, and the Great Basin Landscape Conservation Cooperative.