Konza Prairie LTER Featured Graduate Student - Rory O'Connor

Rory O’Connor is a PhD candidate in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University. Rory came to Kansas from Brigham Young University where he received his MSc in biology looking at how small mammals, fire and precipitation influence invasive annual Bromus spps establishment in western deserts of North America.

In 2014, Rory joined Jesse Nippert’s lab and began working at the Konza Prairie Biological Station trying to address the physiological mechanisms and drivers of woody plant expansion in the Tallgrass prairie. He uses experimental manipulations in the field at Konza, in greenhouses and herbarium samples to understand how local to global drivers influence woody plant persistence and/or establishment into mesic grasslands. If you are interested in Rory’s research visit the Nippert lab website (http://www.k-state.edu/ecophyslab/index.html) or see Rory’s website at http://rococonnor6.wixsite.com/oconnor/.

When Rory is not working he volunteers as a BSA Scout Master for Troop 78, or is spending time with his wife and 3 daughters biking, hiking or camping in the wild or not so wild parts of Kansas.