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

  • Nichole Cherry, Research Associate and Laboratory Manager
  • Chase Murphy, Research Assistant


  • Muir, J.P., W.D. Pitman, F.S. Smith, J. Reilley, and R.A. Shadow. Domesticating native legumes of the south-central USA. Native Plants Journal (at press)
  • Farthing, T., J.P. Muir, A.D. Falk, D. Murray. Efficacy of seven weed-removal techniques for invasive-Bermudagrass removal strategies in three Texas Ecoregions. Ecological Restoration (at press).
  • Xu, Yifeng, Jamie L. Foster, J.P. Muir, Byron L. Burson, Russell W. Jessup. Succinic acid production across candidate lignocellulosic biorefinery feedstocks. American Journal of Plant Sciences 9: (at press).
  • Cooper, C.E., J.P. Muir, J.G. Vogel and G.W. Moore. 2018. Tortoise or hare: will resprouting oaks or reseed pines dominate following severe wildfire? Forest Ecology and Management 408:54-66.
  • Muir, J.P., T. H. Terrill, J. A. Mosjidis, J.-M. Luginbuhl, J.E. Miller, and J.M. Burke. 2018. Harvest regimen changes Lespedeza cuneata herbage condensed tannin, fiber and crude protein concentration. Grassland Science 64:137-144.
  • White, J.A., J.P. Muir, and B.D. Lambert. 2018. Over-seeding cool season-annual legumes and grasses into dormant Tifton 85 Bermudagrass for forage and biomass. Crop Science 58:964-971.
  • Muir, J.P., L.O. Tedeschi, J.C.B. Dubeux, Jr., M. Peters, and S. Burkart. 2017. Enhancing food security in Latin America with forage legumes. Latin American Archives of Animal Production. 25:113-131.
  • Dubeux, J.C.B., Jr., L.E. Sollenberger, J.P. Muir, L.O. Tedeschi, M.V.F. do Santos, M.V. da Cunha, A.C.L. de Mello, and N. DiLorenzo. 2017. Sustainable intensification of livestock production on pastures. Latin American Archives of Animal Production. 25:97-111.
  • Apolinário, V.X.O., J.C.B. Dubeux, Jr., M.A. Lira, A.C.L. Mello, M.V.F. Santos, J.P. Muir and S. Oliveira de Amorim. 2017. Nitrogen and grazing affect napier grass leaf litter biomass and decomposition. Agron. J. 109:2982-2987.
  • Garcia, E.M., N. Cherry, B.D. Lambert, J.P. Muir, M.A. Nazareno, and J.I. Arroquy. 2017. Exploring the biological activity of condensed tannins and nutritional value of native tree and shrub leaves of the Argentinean Dry Chaco. J. Sci. Food Agric. 97:5021-5027.
  • Oliveira, O.F., J.P. Muir, N.M. Cherry, B.D. Lambert, H. Ramirez, and M. Ferreira dos Santos. 2017. Does initial body condition affect wether kid feed intake and performance when fed alfalfa or Lespedeza cuneata L.? Small Ruminant Research 154:98-104.
  • Whitney, T.R., J. L. Glasscock, J.P. Muir, W. C. Stewart, and E. J. Scholljegerdes. 2017. Substituting ground woody plants for cottonseed hulls in lamb feedlot diets: growth performance, blood serum chemistry, and rumen fluid parameters1. J Anim. Sci. 95:4150-4163.
  • Dubeux, J.C.B., Jr., J.P. Muir, V.X.O. Apolinário, P.K. Ramachandran Nair, M.A. Lira, and L.E. Sollenberger. 2017. Tree legumes: an underexploited resource in warm-climate silvopastures. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 46:689-703.
  • Tedeschi, L., M.A. Fonseca, J.P. Muir, D.P. Poppi, G.E. Carstens, J.P. Angerer, D.G. Fox. 2017. A Glimpse of the Future in Animal Nutrition Science. 2. Current and future solutions. Past and Future Challenges. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 46:452-469.
  • Tedeschi, L., A.K. de Almeida, A.S. Atzori, J.P. Muir, M.A. Fonseca and A. Cannas. 2017. A Glimpse of the Future in Animal Nutrition Science. 1. Past and Future Challenges. Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia 46:438-451.
  • Foster, J.L., J.P. Muir, J.R. Bow, and E. Valencia. 2017. Biomass and nitrogen content of annual warm-season legumes grown in a semi-arid environment. Biomass and Bioenergy 106:38-42.
  • Lingbeek, B., C. Higgins, J.P. Muir, D. Kattes, and T. Schwertner. 2017. Arthropod diversity and assemblage structure response to deforestation and desertification in the Sahel region of western Senegal. Global Ecology and Conservation 11:165-176.
  • Muir, J. P., T. H. Terrill, J. A. Mosjidis, J.-M. Luginbuhl, J.E. Miller, and J.M. Burke. 2017. Season progression, ontogenesis and environment affect Lespedeza cuneata herbage condensed tannin, fiber and crude protein content. Crop Science 57:515-524.
  • Naumann, H.D., C. Cooper, J.R. Bow, and J.P. Muir. 2017. Condensed tannin characteristics of Limpopo, South Africa arboreal species retaining leaves in the dry season. African J. of Ecology 55:168-175.