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Norma L Fowler

Department of Integrative Biology

Please see my website for more information about my research group.


Phone: 512-471-1295

Office Location

Postal Address
205 W 24TH ST
AUSTIN, TX 78712

B.A. in Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1973)
Ph.D., Department of Botany, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (1978)
Leverhulme Fellow (postdoctoral), School of Plant Biology, University College of North Wales,
Bangor, Gwynedd, U.K. (Fall 1978 - Summer 1979)

Research Summary:

My students and I are currently pursuing a variety of questions in several areas of plant population biology and plant ecology. These areas include (1) the dynamics and regulation of plant populations; (2) competitive and facilitative interactions between plants and their consequences for community structure and for species distributions across their landscape; (3) the effects of herbivory and of fire on plant population dynamics, plant-plant interactions, community structure, and landscape-scale distributions. We address these topics using a variety of plant species (grasses, forbs, woody plants) and communities, including central Texas savannas and woodlands. Field, greenhouse, and garden experiments, descriptive field studies, and theoretical models are among the techniques we have used. A number of our current projects have conservation applications, including the preservation of an endangered annual forb and the management of woodland preserves. Please see our research webpages for more information.


Selected publications

Fowler, N.L. and D.W. Dunlap. 1986. Grassland vegetation of the eastern Edwards Plateau. American Midland Naturalist 115:146-155.

Fowler, N.L. 1986. The role of competition in plant communities in arid and semiarid regions. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 17:89-110.

Fowler, N.L. 1990. The effects of competition and environmental heterogeneity on three co-occurring grasses. Journal of Ecology 78:389-402.

Miller, R.E. and N.L. Fowler. 1994. Life history variation and local adaptation within two populations of Bouteloua rigidiseta (Texas grama). Journal of Ecology 82:855-864.

Fowler, N.L. and K. Clay. 1995. Environmental heterogeneity, fungal parasitism and the demography of the grass Stipa leucotricha. Oecologia 103: 55-62.

Fowler, N. L. 1995. Density-dependent demography in two grasses: a five-year study. Ecology 76(7):2145-2164.

Miller, R.E., J.M. ver Hoef, and N.L. Fowler. 1995. Spatial heterogeneity in eight central Texas grasslands. Journal of Ecology 83:919-928.

Pease, C. L., and N. L. Fowler. 1997. A systematic approach to some aspects of conservation biology. Ecology 78(5):1321-1329.

Russell, F.L., D. B. Zippin, and N. L. Fowler. 2001. Effects of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on plants, plant populations, and communities: a review. American Midland Naturalist 146:1-26.

Russell, F. L., and N. L. Fowler. 2004. Effects of white-tailed deer on the population dynamics of acorns, seedlings and small saplings of Quercus buckleyi. Plant Ecology 173:59-72.

Fowler, N. L., R. D. Overath, and C. M. Pease. 2006. Detection of density dependence requires density manipulations and calculation of λ. Ecology 87:655-664.

Gabbard, B. L., and N. L. Fowler. 2007. Wide ecological amplitude of a diversity-reducing invasive grass. Biological Invasions 9:149-160.

Noel, J. M., and Fowler, N.L. 2007. Effects of fire and neighboring trees on Ashe juniper. Rangeland Ecology and Management 60:596-603.

Fowler, N.L., and M.T. Simmons. 2009. Savanna dynamics in central Texas: just succession? Applied Vegetation Science 12: 23-31.

Alofs, K. M., and N. L. Fowler. 2010. Habitat fragmentation caused by woody plant encroachment inhibits the spread of an invasive grass. Journal of Applied Ecology 47(2):338-347.

Fowler, N. L., and C. M. Pease. 2010. Temporal variation in the carrying capacity of a perennial grass population. American Naturalist 175(5):504-512.

Fowler, N. L., C. F. Best, D. M. Price, and A. L. Hempel. 2011. Ecological requirements of the Zapata bladderpod Physaria thamnophila, an endangered Tamaulipan thornscrub plant. Southwestern Naturalist 56:341-352.

Fowler, N. L., A. Center, and E. A. Ramsey. 2012. Streptanthus bracteatus (Brassicaceae), a rare annual woodland forb, thrives in less cover: evidence of a vanished habitat? Plant Ecology 213:1511–1523.

Terry, M., K. Trout, B. Williams, T. Herrera, and N. Fowler. 2012. Limitations to natural production of Lophophora williamsii (Cactaceae) II. Effects of repeated harvesting at two-year intervals in a South Texas population. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 6:567-577.

Alofs, K. A., and N. L. Fowler. 2012. Loss of native herbaceous species due to woody plant encroachment facilitates the establishment of an invasive grass. Ecology 94:751-760.

Rasser, M. K., N. L. Fowler, and K. H. Dunton. 2013. Elevation and plant community distribution in a microtidal salt marsh of the western Gulf of Mexico. Wetlands 33:575-583.

Fowler, N. L., and C. M. Pease. 2013. Temporal variation in density dependence in an herbaceous community. pp. 123-139 in C. K. Kelly, M. G. Bowler, and G. A. Fox, editors. Temporal dynamics and ecological process. Cambridge University Press. 325 pp.