PhD Candidate, Natural Resources

Dissertation project: "Exotic plants and WPE"


Curriculum Vitae


2011,  BS, Biology, Indiana University
Thesis: "Drought stress relations between invasive Euonymus fortunei and five natives in a simulated mesic forest understory"
Advisors: Heather Reynolds and Jonathan Bauer

Research Interests 

Plant and soil ecology; Ecology, management, and restoration of rangelands; remote sensing

Professional Experience 

Selected Publications 

Smith, WK, MP Dannenberg, D Yan, S Herrmann, ML Barnes, GA Barron-Gafford, JA Biederman, S Ferrenberg, AM Fox, AR Hudson, JF Knowles, N MacBean, DJP Moore, PL Nagler, SC Reed, WA Rutherford, RL Scott, X Wang, J Yang (2019) Remote sensing of drylands: Progress, challenges and opportunities. Remote Sensing of the Environment 233, 111401; doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2019.111401.

Rutherford WA, TH Painter, J Belnap, GS Okin, C Flagg, and SC Reed. 2017. Large albedo feedbacks to future climate via climate change impacts on dryland biocrusts. Scientific Reports 7, #44188.

Selected Presentations:

Rutherford, WA and SR Archer. (2018) Rise of the shrubs: Fire regimes in the Sonoran Desert. Oral Presentation; University of Arizona Borderlands Science Café, Tucson, AZ. As part of series: A Song of Ice (and Floods) and Fire: Consequences of a Changing Climate on Our Ecosystems and Societies.

Rutherford, WA, SR Archer, L. Weber-Grullon, OE Sala. (2018) Shrub (Prosopis velutina) recruitment in a semi-arid grassland: precipitation-herbivory interactions reveal few constraints. Poster presentation; Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Rutherford, WA, KA Mathis, L. Weber-Grullon, OE Sala, SR Archer. (2017) Does seed predation limit velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) recruitment in grasslands? Poster presentation; 14th Annual Research Insights in Semiarid Ecosystems (RISE) Symposium, Tucson, AZ.

Weber-Grullon L, OE Sala, WA Rutherford, SR Archer. (2017) Woody-plant encroachment in the Chihuahuan Desert: Mechanisms of invasion and opportunities for containment. Poster; Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR.

Rutherford, WA, TH Painter, J Belnap, GS Okin, C Flagg, SC Reed. (2016) The energy of biocrusts: how climate change disturbances in drylands may induce large, novel global climate change feedbacks. Oral presentation; 3rd International Workshop on Biological Soil Crusts (Biocrust3), Moab, UT.

Selected Honors 

Carson Scholars Program Scholarship. 2018.

UA Graduate College Fellowship. 2018.

South Central Climate Science Center Early Career Professional Development Training. 2016.

Department of Interior STAR (Special Thanks for Achieving Results) Award, received for outstanding research with the Department of the Interior. 2015.