Dr. Morgan Russell, Assistant Professor & Extension Range Specialist

Dr. Morgan Russell

Ecosystem Science and Management – D7
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center
7887 U S Highway 87 North
San Angelo, TX 76901

Phone: (325)653-4576 Ext. 217
Fax: (325)655-7791
E-mail: Morgan.Russell@ag.tamu.edu
Twitter:  @eXMorganRussell
agrilife.org: West Texas Rangelands

 

CURRICULUM VITAE:

Education:

Ph.D. Range Science  ·  North Dakota State University, 2013
M.Sc. Range Science  ·  New Mexico State University, 2010
B.S. Animal Science & Agricultural Communications  ·  Utah State University, 2009

Rangeland Management and Livestock Grazing Experience:

Research has been focused on livestock grazing management and prescribed burning in semiarid environments including:

  • Grazing distribution in semi-arid extensive rangeland pastures
  • Cattle breed differences and desert-adapted cattle
  • Diet quality and diet selection of grazing cattle
  • Monitoring and analysis of stocking rate, grazing systems, and range improvements
  • Arcview GIS animal movement monitoring
  • Vegetative reproductive properties of perennial, native range grasses
  • Characterization of bud bank dynamics
  • Phenological and morphological characteristics of perennial, native range grasses
  • Season of fire effects on perennial range grasses
  • Fire frequency and return interval effects on perennial range grasses
  • Post-fire and drought grazing strategies
  • Historical fire regimes as they relate to seasonality and return interval
  • Thermocouples connected to mircologgers with storage modules to record time temperature profiles
  • Developed relationships with appropriate media outlets to further reach diverse stakeholders

Field Scale Multi-year Research Studies

Prescribed fire with varying seasons of burning
Prescribed fire with varying fire return intervals
Stocking rate studies with light to heavy grazing
Grazing systems studies utilizing continuous grazing vs rest rotation
Animal and pasture productivity assessment using stocking rate and grazing systems
Weaning/background grazing programs
Diet collection – rumen evacuation technique
Diet selection and diet quality
Rumen fluid collection
Body condition scoring
Collaborate simultaneously with Range Nutritionists
Facilitate herd management operations with research protocol
Acetate challenge in range grazing heifers

Herbivory and grassland management

Grazing behavior – observation , GPS collar techniques, and fractals
Grazing management
Grazing distribution
Rangeland analysis and monitoring – cover, density, production, utilization, land classification, land assessment

EXTENSION INTERESTS & ACTIVITIES:
My primary responsibility is to transfer new technology and the latest scientific advances in rangeland ecology and management to landowners, managers, youth, and other interested parties.  While working in semi-arid climates of southern Utah, southeastern New Mexico, and eastern Montana I have gained an understanding and appreciation for challenges livestock producers and wildlife managers face.  In years of drought and wildfire, it is important to maintain flexibility while implementing strategies and techniques to maximize forage production and efficiency.  My doctorate research on bud bank contributions brings a new perspective to analyzing forage production following ecological processes that many semi-arid systems evolved with.  These environmental situations have afforded me an uncommon perspective on how to adapt management to a tough environment and remain sustainable. My future extension goals are to focus on improving the productivity of rangelands while maintaining sustainable livestock grazing and wildlife management.  As the cost of livestock production increases, extension efforts should focus on cost effective rangeland management practices, proactive management of invasive plants, energy development as alternative ranch strategies, grazing management with T&E species, and restoration of degraded rangelands following drought or wildfire.  Such research and outreach efforts are needed with current economic status for livestock producers in West Texas to stay sustainable and to support their families.  Furthermore, delivering scientific knowledge through development of an effective educational program is a personal mission and passion for me.

 

PUBLICATIONS:

Published

Russell, M.L., D.W. Bailey, M.G. Thomas, and B.K. Witmore.  2012.  Grazing distribution and diet quality of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan Desert. Rangeland Ecology and Management 65: 371-381.

Russell, M.L., L.T. Vermeire, N.A. Dufek, and D.J. Strong.  2012.  Fire, defoliation, and presence of native grasses alter Aristida purpurea biomass, tiller, and axillary bud production.  Rangeland Ecology and Management (Accepted January 18, 2013).

Proceedings

Russell, M.L., D.W. Bailey, M.G. Thomas, and B.K. Witmore.  2010.  Grazing distribution of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan Desert.  Proc. West. Sec. Am. Soc. Anim. Sci. 61:262-265.

Abstracts

Russell, M.L., L.T. Vermeire, J.H. Hendrickson, and A.C. Ganguli.  2013.  Seasonal fluxes of native grass bud banks in response to season and return interval of fire in the northern Great Plains.  Soc. Range Manage.  Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, OK.  Abstr.

Russell, M.L., L.T. Vermeire, J.H. Hendrickson, and A.C. Ganguli.  2013.  Phenological bud bank development of Bouteloua gracilis, Hesperostipa comata, and Pascopyrum smithii during drought in the northern Great Plains.  Soc. Range Manage.   Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, OK. Abstr.

Russell, M.L., L.T. Vermeire, J.H. Hendrickson, and A.C. Ganguli.  2012.  Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains.  Soc. Range Manage. Annual Meeting, Spokane, WA. Abstr.

Lunt, S., D. W.  Bailey, A. Lipka, M.G. Thomas, M.L. Russell.  2011.  Accuracy of cattle grazing distribution patterns recorded by horseback visual observers during the early morning. Soc. Range Manage. Annual Meeting Billings, MT, Abstr.

Lipka, A., D.W. Bailey, S.  Lunt, M.G. Thomas, M.L. Russell, S. Cox, R. Dunlap.  2011.  Grazing distribution patterns of beef bulls and cows during the breeding season in central New Mexico. Soc. Range Mange. Annual Meeting, Billings, MT, Abstr.

Russell, M.L., D.W. Bailey, M.G. Thomas, and B.K. Witmore.  2010.  Grazing distribution and diet quality of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan desert.  J. Anim. Sci. 88(Supp. 2):734.

Russell, M.L., D.W. Bailey, M.G. Thomas, and B.K. Witmore.  2010.  Grazing patterns of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan desert.  Soc. Range Manage. Annual Meeting, Denver, CO. Abstr.

Bailey, D.W., C. Moore, T. Wheeler, T. Davis, L. Howery, B. Witmore, M. L. Russell, and C. Kemmerly.  2010.  Strategic placement of low-moisture block supplement to improve cattle distribution in mountainous terrain of the southwest.  Soc. Range Mange. Annual Meeting Denver, CO. Abstr.

 

PRESENTATIONS:

Scientific Meetings

“Seasonal fluxes of native grass bud banks in response to season and return interval of fire in the northern Great Plains.”  (Presentation) 2013.  Society for Range Management Annual Meeting.  Oklahoma City, OK.

“Phenological bud bank development of Bouteloua gracilis, Hesperostipa comata, and Pascopyrum smithii during drought in the northern Great Plains.” (Poster) 2013.  Society for Range Management Annual Meeting.  Oklahoma City, OK.

“Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains.” (Poster) 2012.  Society for Range Management Annual Meeting. Spokane, WA.

“Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains.” (Poster) 2012.  Northern Great Plains Biological Symposium Meetings, Fargo, ND.

“Fire Season and Frequency Effects on Native Grass Bud Banks in the Northern Great Plains.” (Poster) 2012. Graduate Arts and Symposium, Fargo, ND.

 “Grazing distribution and diet quality of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan desert.”(Oral) 2010.  Western Section American Society of Animal Science Meetings, Denver, CO.

 “Grazing patterns of Angus, Brangus, and Brahman cows in the Chihuahuan desert.”  (Oral).  2010.  Society for Range Management Meetings.  Denver, CO.

 

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