18th Annual Symposium

RISE logo

Recent research at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER)

NEON crew collecting beetle samples on the Santa Rita.

NEON crew collecting beetle samples on the Santa Rita.

University of Arizona, Tucson, Marley Building, Rm. 230 [MAP]
Saturday, 05 November 2022, 8:30AM to 3:00PM

View the Symposium Program
Word Format Acrobat Format

Past Symposia:


The 18th annual Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems (RISE) Symposium will be held Saturday, 05 November 2022, 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM on the University of Arizona campus.



  • Share recent results of research at the USDA-ARS Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (WGEW) and the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range (SRER)
  • Encourage future research activities at the WGEW and the SRER
  • Promote the WGEW and the SRER as outdoor scientific laboratories

Dye tracers are used by ARS and University of Arizona researchers to measure the velocity of overland flow from simulated runoff events at the Walnut Gulch Experimental Watershed (Photo: Justin Johnson, University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources and the Environment).



The Symposium will feature invited speakers presenting recent or on-going research on the WGEW, the SRER or other outdoor laboratories in the region. There will be time for questions from the audience, which will consist of federal agency, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) stakeholders from southern Arizona and university faculty, staff and students



Conditions resulting from the Covid-19 Pandemic could prevent an in-person meeting again this year. However, we are optimistic and are preparing for an in-person meeting on Saturday November 05, 2022.  Given the possibility that we may cancel the meeting due to Covid-19 conditions, we ask that you register on-line but do not submit registration payments until directed to do so. Registration will ensure that we can communicate the status of the meeting with you via email.

(Updated 10/21): The meeting will be in-person, and not available via Zoom.



The deadline for registration (as a courtesy for catering plans) is 26 October 2022. Late registrations will be accepted at the Symposium site on 05 November, 8:30 to 9:00 AM. Registration is $25 for non-students and $10 for students. Make Checks Payable to: The University of Arizona. NOTE: Unless otherwise instructed, do not mail payments prior to the Symposium because we are not yet certain this will be an In-Person meeting.

(Updated 10/21): There will be no registration fees this year, and lunch will be provided to those who register for the meeting.  When registering, please ignore the fees indicated in the registration form.

The deadline for Poster Abstract Submission is 21 October 2022. Note: Space may be limited to 20 posters and decisions about acceptance will be made by 24 October 2022.



Poster Dimensions (applies to all posters, including student contestants and others):  

Posters should not exceed 36 inches tall by 60 inches wide. 

NOTE: In the event of a Remote meeting, formatting guidelines for on-line posters will be forthcoming

Student Poster Contest:

Through a generous contribution from long-time supporter Mr. Malcolm McGregor, we are able to provide monetary awards for outstanding student posters.  A single award will be granted in each of the following categories: 

To qualify for a poster award, the work presented on the poster must have been conducted on or have used data from the WGEW, the SRER, or both.  Entry to the contest is made via the symposium registration link above.

Contestant's posters will be judged and awards presented at the close of the Symposium. A poster should stand on its own merit, but poster judges will also be visiting with each student at their posters to evaluate enthusiasm and competence in the subject area. Note: Students in the competition will be asked to identify at least a 30-minute window in which they will be at their poster during the poster session. 

Poster Judging Criteria 

  1. APPEARANCE: 1) Neat and visually appealing, 2) Well organized and easy to follow; it has a logical and clear progression of problem statement, methods, and results, and 3) Words are readable from an appropriate distance.

  2. CONTENT: 1) Purpose of study is stated clearly, 2) Conclusions are stated clearly and supported by results, 3) Scientific method was utilized, and 4) Topic relevant to semiarid ecosystems.

  3. SCIENTIFIC ORIGINALITY: Creative approach.

  4. GRAPHICS: Graphics are effective and enhance the results.

  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS/REFERENCES: Proper acknowledgements are given for support of the study, and literature cited. 

  6. INTERACTION WITH STUDENT PRESENTER: 1) Presenter made appropriate reference to material in the poster and 2) Presenter spoke clearly and effectively. 3) Presenter provided requested elaboration and answered questions effectively

18th RISE Symposium (Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems)

Saturday, 05 November 2022

Marley Building, Room 230, University of Arizona





Mitch McClaran

Phil Heilman


RISE Welcome



Abe Karam

Updates and Opportunities with NEON
the National Ecological Observatory Network


Brett Blum
UA SAES Director

Updates and Opportunities at the Santa Rita Experimental Range


Katie Prudic

Pollinator Decline in the American West


Rachel Mitchell

Hot, Dry, and On Fire: Understanding Compounding Stressors in Semiarid Ecosystems


Brandon Mayer

Virtual Livestock Fence on SRER: Early Results, Future Directions


Greg Barron Gafford UA GEOG

Agrivoltaics: Harvesting the Sun Twice


Poster Introductions

Presenters give a 1-minute advertisement of their poster


Poster Session Lunch w/ Posters

Provided at the meeting; included in RISE registration


Paula Mabee
NEON Director

NEON Current and Future Directions


Aaron Lien

Socio-ecological Model to Predict Effective Governance for Buffelgrass Control


Russ Scott

Ecosystem Functional Response to Weather Whiplash on the Santa Rita Experimental Range


Don Falk

Patterns and Mechanisms of Post-fire Resilience in Sky Island Forests


Petey Mesquitey

Lo and Behold! Observations in the Desert Grassland and Madrean Woodlands of Southeastern Arizona.


Poster Awards




(*=graduate and **=undergraduate in poster contest)


Lead Author



Robin Bradley

Microbial drivers support Lehmann's lovegrass germination and persistence at the Santa Rita Experimental Range


Nicolo Anselmetto

Differences in population size structures drive grass response to long-term livestock removal


Revecca Rioux

One hundred years of plant composition and cover changes at three rangeland sites in northern Arizona


Ryan Almeida

Effects of wind turbine noise on kangaroo rat acoustic communication


Cynthia Norton

Semi-Arid woody cover species classification using multi-temporal remote sensing data


Joel Biederman

RainManSR: Above- and below-ground responses to three years of repackaging rainfall into fewer, larger storms in a semiarid grassland


Mostafa Javadian

Impacts of rainfall repackaging on canopy temperature in a semiarid grassland


Harrison Friedman

Santa Rita RainMan summer season soil microbial activities vary with severity of prior winter drought


Jessica Guo

Temporally varying water use strategies in Juniperus osteosperma associated with GPP


Fangyue Zhang

Direct and legacy effects of dry winter on photosynthesis in a semi-arid grassland


Emilio Aguilar- Cubilla

Grass-Cast in the South West: An analysis of its forecast skill


Guillermo Ponce-Campos

Using UAV and satellite-based sensing to detect eroded ecological states at the landscape scale


Tao Huang

Impacts of vegetation cover resolution on modeling hillslope soil erosion in a semiarid landscape


Tianyi Hu

The feedback of Arizona grassland to changing hydroclimate and its impact on equilibrium state of carbon and water fluxes over time: A scenario analysis using CLM5.0


Haiqing Xu

Semi-automatic identification of earthen berms in the semi-arid Southwestern US from Lidar-based digital elevation models


Charles Devine

Estimating biomass and structural traits of dryland grass and shrub species using millimeter-scale 3D models derived from proximal structure-from-motion (SfM) photogrammetry


William Smith

Rainfall pulses drive coordinated responses in leaf hydraulic, biochemical, and photosynthetic traits that can be tracked with hyperspectral remote sensing


Nate Pierce

Sonoran Desert rangeland plant community dynamics in response to predicted changes in warm- and cool-season precipitation regimes


Ravindra Dwivedi

Forest density regulates root zone water stress and percolation at sites with contrasting ephemeral or stable seasonal snowpacks


RISE Organizing Committee:

Heather Throop, Phil Heilman, Mitch McClaran, Jason Williams 






AES: Arizona Experiment Station
ARS: Agricultural Research Service
GEOG: Geography, Development and Environment
NEON: National Ecological Observatory Network
SAES: Southern Arizona Experiment Station
SNRE: School of Natural Resources and the Environment
SRER: Santa Rita Experimental Range
SWRC: Southwest Watershed Research Center
UA: University of Arizona
USDA: United States Department of Agriculture