Julie Beckstead, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

Restoration Ecology - Invasion Biology - Plant-Fungi Interactions. My interest in biology is driven by my own curiosity and by my desire to help students understand biology not through memorization but through putting together the pieces for themselves—let’s...

Profile photo of Professor Julie Beckstead

Contact Information

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D.  Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 2001. 

M.S. Department of Botany and Range Science, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. 1994

B.S.  Departments of Biology and Secondary Education, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. Cum Laude Honors. 1991.

Curriculum Vitae

Courses Taught

BIOL 333 - Community Ecology

BIOL 323 - Conservation Biology

BIOL 106 - Energy Flow in Biological Systems

BIOL 399 - Advanced Topics: Invasion Biology

BIOL 399 - Advanced Topics: Genetically Modified Planet

BIOL 181 - Biological Systems

Restoration Ecology - Invasion Biology - Plant-Fungi Interactions.

My interest in biology is driven by my own curiosity and by my desire to help students understand biology not through memorization but through putting together the pieces for themselves—let’s call it thinking biology!

My research focuses on restoration ecology and plant invasion biology from a community ecology perspective.  For example, I examine how fungi interacting with plants may facilitate plant establishment and survival in habitat restoration projects following wildfires.  In addition, I explore the role that fungal pathogens play in the control of invasive plant species.  I have worked in these questions in tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, coastal dunes, sagebrush communities, and grasslands. My current goal is to facilitate restoration efforts of invaded-sagebrush communities in the Western U.S.  through novel tools involving fungi.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters:

Meyer, SE, J. Beckstead, and J Franke. 2016. Community Ecology of Fungal Pathogens on Bromus tectorum. Pages 193-223. In M. Germino, J. Chambers, and C. Brown, editors. Exotic brome grasses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the western US: causes, consequences, and management implications. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

Peer-Reviewed Publications (sampling; *denotes undergraduate Gonzaga student)

Beckstead, J, SE Meyer, *TS Ishizuka, *KM McEvoy, and CE Coleman. 2016. Lack of Host Specialization on Winter Annual Grasses in the Seed Bank Pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperdaPLoS ONE 11(3): e0151058. DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0151058.

Meyer, SE, M Masi, S Clement, *T Davis, and J Beckstead. 2015. Mycelial Growth Rate and Toxin Production in the Seed Pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda: Resource Trade-offs and Temporally Varying Selection. Plant Pathology 64:1450-1460.

*Barth, CW, SE Meyer, J. Beckstead, and PS Allen. 2015. Modeling temperature and water potential effects on conidial germination and mycelial growth for a fungal seed pathogen using hydrothermal time. Fungal Biology 119:720-730.  

Beckstead, J, Meyer SE, Reinhart K, *Bergen K, *Holden S, Boekweg H. 2014. Factors affecting host range in a generalist seed pathogen of semi-arid shrublands. Plant Ecology 215:427-440. DOI 10.1007/s11258-014-0313-3.

Robinson, RS and J Beckstead. 2014. Trends in numbers of winter bald eagles at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho. Northwest Science 88(1):1-10.

Meyer, SE, KT Merrill, PS Allen, J Beckstead, and *AS Norte. 2014. Indirect Effects of an Invasive Annual Grass on Perennial Grass Seed Fates. Oecologia 174:1401-1413. DOI 10.1007/s00442-013-2868-4.

Beckstead, J, *LE Miller, and *BM Connolly. 2012. Direct and indirect effects of plant litter on a seed-pathogen interaction in Bromus tectorum seed banks. Seed Science Research 22:135-144.

Beckstead, J, *AN Lagasse, and SR Robinson. 2011. Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data. Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology Vol.7: Data sets [online]. http://tiee.esa.org/vol/v7/issues/data_sets/beckstead/abstract.html.

Beckstead, J, SE Meyer, *LE Street, and PS Allen. 2011. Effect of fire on a seed bank pathogen and on seeds of its host Bromus tectorum. Rangeland Ecology & Management 64:148-157.

*Dooley, SR and J Beckstead. 2010. Characterizing the interaction between a fungal seed pathogen and a deleterious rhizobacteria for cheatgrass control. Biological Control 53: 197-203.

Beckstead, J, SE Meyer, *BM Connolly, *MB Huck, and *LE Street. 2010. Cheatgrass facilitates spillover of a seed bank pathogen onto native grass species. Journal of Ecology 98:168-177.

Beckstead, J, SE Meyer, *CJ Molder, and *C Smith. 2007. A race for survival: can Bromus tectorum seeds escape Pyrenophora semeniperda-caused mortality by germinating quickly? Annals of Botany 99(5): 1-8.

My research focuses on plant invasion biology from a community ecology perspective, including testing the Natural Enemies Hypothesis of invasion biology, spillover effects of a seed pathogen, and tools to facilitate restoration ecology. I have worked in the tropics, Midwestern forests, coastal beach communities and semi-arid shrub-steppe and grassland communities. My current goal is to explore whether naturally-occurring fungal enemies are a potential tool to control the invasive cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum).  I am investigating whether a naturally occurring seed pathogen, Pyrenophora semeniperda, can control cheatgrass. In addition, I am exploring other fungal pathogens responsible for natural stand failure (die-offs) on cheatgrass infested lands. Invasive species are an important threat to biodiversity, our economy, and at time even our health. I aim to help society and biologists to better understand some of our foremost invasive species. For more information on my prior biological control research see http://www.cheatgrassbiocontrol.org/.

Students interested in research, please see:

Students interested in landscaping with native plants, please see:


Students interested in teaching Life Science K-12, please see myself or Dr. Andrade for more information about this career choice.