Daniel E Winkler, Ph.D.

Daniel is a plant ecophysiologist and evolutionary ecologist studying how populations respond to global climate change. He is a Research Ecologist with USGS and works with the BLM's Native Plant Program where he studies adaptive traits of native plants. He also conducts research throughout the desert southwest and in alpine areas of Colorado, Mexico, and Japan. 


Research Interests

Native plants in a changing world: This research focuses on the adaptive traits of native plant species in the desert southwest, Colorado Plateau, and Great Basin Deserts. In collaboration with the BLM's Native Plant Programs, we are determining the ideal genetic material suitable for restoration efforts across an array of diverse lands. We also have research projects in the Sonoran Desert investigating the water use dynamics of the iconic Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) in Saguaro National Park. There, we study the impacts of drought on water use of Saguaros, population demographics, and flowering phenology. 

Evolutionary ecology of invasive species: This research is aimed at determing the sources of invasive plant species and the biological mechanisms that enable their success. We focus on the invasive Sahara mustard (Brassica tournefortii) in the desert southwest and use Next-Genreation Sequencing techniques to explore the diversity within and among populations of the species in its invaded and native ranges. This research is also testing whether local adaptation plays a role in determining the species current invasive distribution and uses common garden experiments to measure trait differentiation among populations. 

High elevation systems: Our research in alpine systems explored the impacts of climate warming on community productivity as part of the Alpine Treeline Warming Experiment at Niwot Ridge, Colorado. We also worked on an NSF-funded project investigating the morphological and physiological mechanisms that have promoted the invasive dwarf bamboo Sasa kurilensis to expand its distribution above treeline. This research was carried out in collaboration with researchers at Hokkaido Unversity, Japan.


  • Ph.D., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, 2017
    University of California, Irvine
    Advised by Travis E. Huxman
  • M.S., Environmental Systems, 2013
    University of California, Merced
    Advised by Lara M. Kueppers
  • B.A., Biological Anthropology, 2008
    New York University

Other academic coursework:
2016 - 3rd Annual Graduate Workshop on Environmental Data Analytics, NCAR, Boulder, CO
2015 - Next Generation Sequence Data Analysis, UC Irvine Data Science Initiative
2015 - COTE Summer School: Biodiversity and Global Change, University of Bordeaux, France

Professional Experience

  • 2017 - present, Research Ecologist, United States Geological Survey, Southwest Biological Science Center, Moab, Utah
  • 2016 - present, Reviewing EditorApplications in Plant Sciences
  • 2015, National Park Service Young Leader in Climate Change Fellow, Saguaro National Park and Sonoran Desert Network, Arizona
  • 2014 - 2015, Water UCI Research Fellow, University of California Irvine's Water UCI Initiative
  • 2014, NSF East Asia Pacific Summer Institute Fellow, Hokkaido University and Daisetsuzan National Park, Japan
  • 2010 - 2011, Biological Science Technician - STEP, NPS Sonoran Desert Network, Tucson, Arizona
  • 2009, Conservation and Land Management Intern, Bureau of Land Management, Vernal Field Office, Utah
  • 2008, Student Conservation Association Intern, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona
  • 2008, Research Fellow, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory
  • 2007, Biological Anthropology Intern, American Museum of National History


Check out Daniel's personal research website here: www.winklerde.com
Google scholar profile: click here
Researchgate profile: click here
Academia.edu profile: click here