University of Wisconsin-Madison Skip navigationUW-Madison Home PageMy UW-MadisonSearch UW



Ellen Damschen


Ellen Damschen

Research    Publications 

Assistant Professor
451 Birge
Office Phone: 608-262-2636
Lab Phone: 608-262-4437

email Ellen         Lab Page


Research Interests

I am broadly interested in determinants of plant community diversity and how global change affects plant communities. Research activities in our lab include understanding how landscape connectivity, habitat heterogeneity, climate change, and habitat degradation affect plant community composition and diversity. We have projects exploring these themes in the southeastern United States, the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, and rocky outcrop communities in the Midwest. Current projects include:

  1. How corridors and edge effects affect plant populations and communities
  2. How wind dynamics and seed dispersal are affected by habitat heterogeneity
  3. If species traits can predict responses to landscape fragmentation
  4. How climate change affects edaphic endemic plants
  5. What controls edaphic endemic plant diversity
  6. How local and landscape factors affect community restoration
  7. How connectivity varies across ecosystems


  • Zoology/Botany/Forest and Wildlife Ecology 460: General Ecology

Published Papers:

  • A. O. Alstad, E. I. Damschen, T. J. Givnish, J. A. Harrington, M. K. Leach, D. A. Rogers, D. M. Waller, The pace of plant community change is accelerating in remnant prairies. Sci. Adv. 2, e1500975 (2016).
  • Damschen, E.I., S. Harrison, and J.B. Grace. In Press. Climate Change Effects on an Endemic-Rich Edaphic Flora. Ecology.
  • Grace, J.B., S. Harrison, E.I. Damschen. In Press. Plant species richness on environmental gradients: What have we learned since the days of R.H. Whittaker? Ecology.
  • Brudvig., L.A., and E.I. Damschen. In Press. Land-use history, historical connectivity, and land management interact to determine longleaf pine woodland understory richness and composition. Ecography.
  • Weins, J.J., D.D. Ackerly, A.P. Allen, B.L. Anacker, L.B. Buckley, H.V. Cornell, E.I. Damschen, T.J. Davies, J.A. Gyrtnes, S.P. Harrison, B.A. Hawkins, R.D. Holt, C.M. McCain, and P.R. Stephens. (alphabetical authorship after first author). In Press. Niche conservatism as an emerging principle in ecology and conservation biology. Ecology Letters.
  • Damschen, E.I., S. Harrision, B.L. Anacker, and B.M. Going. In Press. Climate change and special soil communities. In Press. In: S. Harrison and N. Rajakaruna, in Serpentine: A Model for Evolution and Ecology, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  • Buckley, L.B*., T.J. Davies*, D.D. Ackerly, N.J.B. Kraft, S.P. Harrison, B.L. Anacker, H.V. Cornell, E.I. Damschen, J.A. Grytnes, B.A. Hawkins, C.M. McCain, P.R. Stephens, and J.J. Wiens. In Press. Phylogeny, niche conservatism, and the latitudinal diversity gradient in mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society-Biology. (*= denotes equal contribution).
  • Haddad, N.M., B. Hudgens, E.I. Damschen*, D.J. Levey*, J.L. Orrock*, J.J. Tewksbury*, and A.J. Weldon* (*=alphabetical authorship after first two authors). In Press. Assessing positive and negative ecological effects of corridors. In J. Liu, V. Hull, A. Morzillo, and J. Wiens, Sources, sinks, and sustainability across landscapes. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.
  • Brudvig, L.A., E.I. Damschen, J.J. Tewksbury, N.M. Haddad, and D.J. Levey. 2009. Landscape connectivity promotes plant biodiversity spillover into non-target habitats. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 9328-9332.
  • Harrison, S., E. Damschen, B.M. Going. 2009. Climate Gradients, Climate Change, and Special Edaphic Floras. Northeastern Naturalist 16 (Special Issue 5): 121-130.
  • Damschen, E.I., L.A. Brudvig*, N.M. Haddad*, D.L. Levey*, J.L. Orrock*, and J.J. Tewksbury* (*=alphabetical authorship after first author). 2008. The movement ecology and dynamics of plant communities in fragmented landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 105(49):19078-19083.
  • Damschen, E.I. 2007. Book Review: Hierarchical modeling for the environmental sciences: statistical methods and applications. Quarterly Review of Biology 82(3):299.
  • Orrock, J.L., E.I. Damschen. 2007. The effect of burial depth on seed removal of Phytolacca americana. Southeastern Naturalist. 6(1):151-158.
  • Wyer, M., D. Murphy-Medley, E.I. Damschen, K. M. Rosenfeld, and T. Wentworth. 2007. No quick fixes: Adding content about women to ecology course materials. Psychology of Women Quarterly.
  • Damschen, E.I., N.M. Haddad, J.L. Orrock, J.J. Tewksbury, and D.J. Levey. 2006. Corridors increase plant species richness at large scales. Science.
  • Orrock, J.L., D.J. Levey, B.J. Danielson, and E.I. Damschen. 2006. Seed predation, not seed dispersal, explains the landscape-level abundance of an early-successional plant. Journal of Ecology 94:838-845.
  • Damschen, E.I., K.M. Rosenfeld, M. Wyer, D. Murphy-Medley, T.R. Wentworth, and N.M. Haddad. 2006. Women in Ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4(1):9-10.
  • Damschen, E.I., K.M. Rosenfeld, M. Wyer, D. Murphy-Medley, T.R. Wentworth, and N.M. Haddad. 2005. Visibility matters: Student knowledge of women's contributions to ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3(4): 212-219.
  • Orrock, J.L, and E.I. Damschen. 2005. Fungi-mediated mortality of seeds of two oldfield plant species. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 132:613-617.
  • Orrock, J.L, and E.I. Damschen. 2005. Corridors cause differential seed predation. Ecological Applications 15(3): 793-798.
  • Louda, S.M., A.M. Parkhurst, K.L. Bradley, E. Bakker, A. Joern, J. Knops, E.I. Damschen, and L.M. Young. 2004. Spatial heterogeneity, not visitation bias, dominates variation in herbivory: Reply. Ecology 85(10): 2906-2910.
  • Bradley, K.L., E. I. Damschen, L. M. Young, D. Kuefler, S. Went, G. Wray, N. M. Haddad, J. M. H. Knops, S. M. Louda. 2003. Spatial heterogeneity, not visitation bias, dominates variation in herbivory. Ecology 84(8): 2214-2221.
  • Tewksbury, J.J., D. J. Levey, N. M. Haddad, S. Sargent, J. L. Orrock, A. Weldon, B. J. Danielson, J. Brinkerhoff, E.I. Damschen , and P. Townsend. 2002. Corridors affect plants, animals, and their interactions in fragmented landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99(20): 12923-12926. Awarded the 2002 Outstanding Paper in Landscape Ecology, International Association of Landscape Ecology.
Department of Zoology | UW Home | Biology in L&S