Research > Grassland Ecology


Our research focuses on cultivated, rangeland and native grasslands. These include savannas in Texas, South America and Africa. The particular focus is legumes, whether herbaceous, shrubs, or arboreal. Herbivores play a central role, especially insects, birds or ruminants as they interact with soils, hydrology and plants.

Restoring Native Grasslands

With support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Tarleton State University, Kingsville A&M University, and Texas A&M AgriLife Research Stephenville and Corpus Christi, we are looking for the most effective way to replace Bermudagrass with diverse native grassland plant species. This research is going on at Stephenville, McGregor, College Station, and Beeville, Texas.

Domesticating Native Herbaceous Species

At Stephenville, we focus on herbaceous and bushy legumes native to northcentral Texas. Genera include Desmanthus, Dalea and Desmodium. As part of Texas A&M Kingsville’s Central Texas Natives project, we collect, characterize and eventually release grasses and forbs, including legumes.

Dual-Purpose Forage

As part of a long history of forage agronomy work at Stephenville, we look at grass and legume yields and nutrient content. We are especially interested in dual-purpose forage and bioenergy crops.

Multi-use Legumes

We are currently studying the multiple-uses for legumes as forage, wildlife, bioenergy feedstock, soil fertility and phytoremediation.

Dr. Jim Muir

Regents Professor in Grassland Ecology


Team Members

  • Dr. Lisandro Entio, Post Doctoral Research Asscociate
  • Nichole Cherry, Research Associate and Laboratory Manager
  • Colby Chapman, Research Assistant


  • Grote, A.J., C.C. Nieman, I.R. Thomas, K.P. Coffey, J.P. Muir and J.L. Klotz. 2023. Effect of quebracho tannin (Schinopsis quebracho-colorado (Schltdl.) F.A. Barkley and T. Meyer) on silage nutritive value, ergovaline concentration, and fermentation parameters of tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus (Shreb.) Dumort) with two dry-matter levels. Agronomy 13, 694.
  • Gutiérrez, S., J. P. Muir, D. B. Murray and W. B. Smith. 2023. Native and introduced ornamental bunchgrass seedling response to restricted soil-moisture conditions. Native Plants. At press.
  • Taggart, C. B., J. P. Muir, J. A. Brady, E. Kan, A. B. Mitchell, and O. Obayomi. 2023. Impacts of biochar on Trifolium incarnatum and Lolium multiflorum: soil nutrient retention and loss in amended sandy loam. Agronomy 13, 26.
  • Obayomi, O.A., C. Taggart, J.A. Brady, E. Kan and J.P. Muir. Dairy manure-derived biochar in soil enhances carbon, nutrient metabolism, and soil fertility by altering the soil microbial community. Geoderma. In revision.
  • Palauro Spasiani, P., B. Grossi Costa Homem, I. Braz Gonçalves de Lima, B. Costa Guimarães, E. Silva de Medeiros, J. P. Muir, M. Silva de Oliveira., R. M. Boddey, D. Rume Casagrande. 2023. Light competition is the key determining legume proportion spatio-temporal variability of Marandu palisadegrass-forage peanut mixed pastures. Crop & Pasture Science (at press)
  • Norris, A.B., M.S. Miller, J.P. Muir, R.M. Harp, and L.A. Kinman. 2023. Winter dynamics of white-tailed deer browse nutritive value in the southern Cross Timbers and Prairies of Texas. Southwestern Naturalist. (at press)
  • Jacondino, L.R., C. H. E. C. Poli ͣ J. F. Tontini, G. F. Corrêa, S. Somacalb, R. O. Mello, M. L. R. Leal, R. F. S. Raimondo, B. Riet-Correa, J. P. Muir. 2022. Acacia mearnsii tannin extract and α-tocopherol supplementation in lamb diet: effects on 50 growth performance, serum lipid peroxidation and meat quality. Animal Feed and Technology 294: 115483.
  • Medeiros, A.S., M. V.F. dos Santos, M.V. da Cunha, A.C.L. de Mello, D.E. Simões Neto, O.F. de Oliveira, J.P. Muir, J.C.B Dubeux, jr., and A.E. dos Santos. 2022. Morphology, accumulation and survival of Desmanthus under different planting densities and harvest heights. Grass and Forage Science 78:162-172.
  • Boote, K. J., A. T.  Adesogan, M. Balehegn, A. Duncan and J.P. Muir. 2022. Fodder development in sub‐Saharan Africa: An introduction. Agronomy Journal 114:1-7.
  • Benetel, G., T dos Santos Silva, G.M. Fagunes, K.C. Wleter, F. Alves Melo, A.A.G. Lobo, J.P. Muir, and I.C.S. Bueno. 2022. Essential oils as in vitro ruminal fermentation manipulators to mitigate methane emission by beef cattle grazing tropical grasses. Molecules 27, 2227.
  • Herzberger, L.A., J.P. Muir, A. Mitchell & W.B. Smith. 2022. Assessing arthropod communities during grassland restoration in the southern Great Plains of North America. Southwestern Entomologist. 47(2):371-384.
  • Osniel, F. O., M.V. Ferreira dos Santos, J.P. Muir, M.V. Cunha, E.J. Oliveira de Souza, L. O. Tedeschi, and H.M. Naumann, A. Carneiro Leao de Mello, and M. Santana Meireles. 2022. Condensed tannins bioactivity and nutritional value of Bauhinia cheilantha (Bong) Steud. under sheep grazing with different forages allowances. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 100, 104359.
  • de Carvalho, W.F., A.A. Alves, F.C Gandara, H.Q. Memoria, F.E.P. Fernandes, R.C.F.F. Pompeu, J.P. Muir, C.S. Costa, R.F. Sousa, D.S. Oliveira, and M.C.P. Rogerio. 2022. Seasonal strategic feed supplements for grazing sheep on Caatinga Rangeland: behaviour and performance. Small Ruminant Research. 206:106572.