Tala Awada

Tala Awada

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Associate Dean Agricultural Research Division and Associate Director Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station; Physiological Plant Ecologist
Address 807 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-7088
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail tawada2@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm Tala Awada, professor of plant ecophysiology in the School of Natural Resources.

I teach in the areas of forest and grassland ecology and plant ecophysiology. I am particularly interested in studying the responses of plants and ecosystems to environmental stresses and climate change. Such studies are necessary to better understand and manage our ecosystems.

The main focus of my research has been on determining the ecological impacts of woody species expansion into semi-arid grasslands and riparian areas in Nebraska. I have been conducting several studies on the functional characteristics of dominant grasses, trees and shrubs in Nebraska and the Great Plains. A number of my graduate students have also been focusing on the development of broad-spectrum stress-tolerant plants. In addition to my work in Nebraska, I have been collaborating with several researchers in Greece to determine the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean pine forests.

Treking along the Nea kameni volcano in Santorini-Greece

Treking along the Nea kameni volcano in Santorini-Greece

Selected Publications

Aus Der Au R., Awada T., Battipaglia G., Hiller, J., Saurer M., and Cherubini P., 2018. Tree Rings of Pinus ponderosa and Juniperus virginiana Show Different Responses to Stand Density and Water Availability in the Nebraska Grasslands. American Midland Naturalist. 180(1):18-36. Online
Das Choudhury S., Bashyam S., Qiu Y., Samal A., and Awada T. (2018). Holistic & component plant phenotyping using temporal image sequence. Plant Methods. In press. Online
Wang, S., Zuo, X., Zhao, X., Awada, T., Luo, Y., Li Y., and Qu. H. (2018). Dominant plant species shape soil bacterial community in semiarid sandy land of northern China. Ecology & Evolution, 8(3):1693-1704. Online
S. D. Choudhury, S. Goswami, S. Bashyam, A. Samal, T. Awada. (2017). Automated Stem Angle Determination for Temporal Plant Phenotyping Analysis. ICCV, Computer Vision Challenges in Plant Phenotyping, Venice, Italy.
Hay, W., Bihmidine, S., Mutlu, N., Awada, T. N., Weeks, D., Clemente, T. E., Long, S. (2017). Enhancing soybean photosynthetic CO2 assimilation using a cyanobacterial membrane protein, ictB. Journal of Plant Physiology, 212, 58-68. Online
Konstantinos Giannakas, Murray Fulton & Tala Awada. (2017). Hiring leaders: Inference and disagreement about the best person for the job. Palgrave Communications 3, Article number: 17. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-017-0019-y doi:10.1057/s41599-017-0019-y. Online
Msanne, J., Awada, T. N., Bryan, N., Schacht, W., Drijber, R., Li, Y., Zhou, X., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D. A., Brandle, J. R., Hiller, J. (2017). Ecophysiological responses of native invasive woody Juniperus virginiana L. to resource availability and stand characteristics in the semi-arid grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills. Photosynthetica, 55(2), 219-230. Online
Quinn, J., Awada, T. N., Trindade, F., Fulginiti, L., Perrin, R. K. (2017). Combining habitat loss and agricultural intensification improves our understanding of drivers of change in avian abundance in a North American cropland anthrome. Ecology and Evolution, 7(3), 803-814. Online
Mykleby, P., Lenters, J., Cutrell, G., Herrman, K., Istanbulluoglu, E., Scott, D., Twine, T., Kucharic, C., Awada, T. N., Soylu, M., Dong, B. 2016. Energy and water response of a vegetated wetland to herbicide treatment of invasive Phragmites australis. Journal of Hydrology. 539:290-303. Online
Nguy-Robertson, A., Brinley-Buckley, E., Suyker, A., Awada, T. N. 2016. Determining factors that impact the calibration of consumer-grade digital cameras used for vegetation analysis. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 37(14):3365-3383. Online
Li, Y., Zhao, X., Zhang, F., Awada, T., Wang, S., Zhao, H., Zhang, T., and Li, Y. (2015). Accumulation of soil organic carbon during natural restoration of desertified grassland in China's Horqin Sandy Land. Journal of Arid Land. 7:328-340. Online
Mykleby, P.M., Awada, T., Lenters, J., Bihmidine, S., Yarina, A. and Young, S. (2015). Ecophysiological responses of invasive and native phragmites australis to temperature and nitrogen fertilization. Great Plains Research. 25:63-74.
Zhou, X., Schoeneberger, M.M., Brandle, J., Awada, T., Chu, J., Martin, D.L., Li, J., Li, Y., and Mize, C.W. (2015). Analyzing the uncertainties in use of forest-derived biomass equations for open-grown trees in agricultural land. Forest Science. 61:144-161. Online
Bihmidine, S., Cao, M., Kang, M., Awada, T., Van Etten, J.L., Dunigan, D.D., and Clemente, T.E. (2014). Expression of Chlorovirus MT325 aquaglyceroporin (aqpv1) in tobacco and its role in mitigating drought stress. Planta. 240:209-221.
Guangyong Li, John E. Froehlich, Christian Elowsky, Joseph Msanne, Andrew C. Ostosh, Chi Zhang, Tala Awada and James R. Alfano. (2014) Distinct Pseudomonas type III effectors utilize a cleavable transit peptide to target chloroplasts. The Plant Journal, 77:310-321. Online
Awada, T., El-Hage, R., Geha, M., Wedin, D.A., Huddle, J.A., Zhou, X., Msanne, J., Sudmeyer, R.A., Martin, D.L., and Brandle, J.R. (2013). Intra-annual variability and environmental controls over transpiration in a 58-year-old even-aged stand of invasive woody Juniperus virginiana L. in the Nebraska Sandhills, USA. Ecohydrology. 6: 731-740. Online
Bihmidine, S., Lin, J., Stone, J.M., Awada, T., Specht, J.E., Clemente, T.E. (2013). Activity of the Arabidopsis RD29A and RD29B promoter elements in soybean. Planta. 237(1):55-64.
Li, Y., Brandle, J., Awada, T., Chen, Y., Hana, J., Zhang, F., Luo. Y. (2013). Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in the plant-soil system after afforestation of active sand dunes in China's Horqin Sandy Land. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 177: 75-84. Online
Chen Y., Li, Y., Awada, T., Han J., and Luo Y. (2012). Carbon sequestration in the total and light fraction soil organic matter along chronosequence in grazing exclosures in a semiarid degraded sandy site in China. Journal of Arid Land, 4:411-419 Online
Chen, Y., Li, Y., Zhao, X., Awada, T., Shang, W., and Han, J. (2012) Effects of Grazing Exclusion on Soil Properties and on Ecosystem Carbon and Nitrogen Storage in a Sandy Rangeland of Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Environmental Management. 50(4):622-632.
Christos Bazakos, Maria E. Manioudaki, Ioannis Therios, Demetrios Voyiatzis,Dimitris Kafetzopoulos, Tala Awada, Panagiotis Kalaitzis. (2012). Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Two Olive Cultivars in Response to NaCl-Stress. PLoS ONE. 7(8): e42931. Online
Li, Y.Q., Awada, T., Shang, W., Chen, Y.P., Zhou, X.H., Zuo, X.A., Wang ,S.K., Liu, X.P., and Feng, J. (2012). Mongolian pine plantations enhance soil physico-chemical properties and carbon and nitrogen capacities in semi-arid degraded sandy land in China. Applied Soil Ecology. 45: 1-9. Online
Msanne, J., Xu, D., Konda, A.R., Casas-Mollano, J.A., Awada, T., Cahoon, E.B., and Cerutti, H. (2012). Metabolic and gene expression changes triggered by nitrogen deprivation in photoautotrophically grown microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Coccomyxa sp. C-169. Phytochemistry. 75:50-59. Online
Bazakos, C., Manioudaki, M., Therios, I., Voyiatzis, D., Kafetzopoulos, D., Sarropoulou, E., Awada, T., and Kalaitzis, P. (2011). Gene expression analysis of olive tree (Olea europaea L.) in response to salt stress. Acta Horticulturae, 924:47-54.
Msanne, J., Jiusheng, L., Stone, J., and Awada, T. (2011). Characterization of abiotic stress-responsive Arabidopsis thaliana RD29A and RD29B genes and evaluation of transgenes. Planta. 234:97-107.
Zhou, X.H., Brandle, J.R., Awada, T., Schoeneberger, M.M., Martin, D.L., and Tang, Z.H. (2011). The use of forest-derived specific gravity for the conversion of volume to biomass for open-grown trees on agricultural land. Biomass and Bioenergy. 35: 1721-1731. Online
Bihmidine, S., Bryan, N.M., Payne, K.R., Parde, M.R., Okalebo, J.A., Cooperstein, S.E., and Awada, T. 2010. Photosynthetic performance of invasive Pinus ponderosa and Juniperus virginiana seedlings under gradual soil water depletion. Plant Biology. 12: 668 - 675. Online
Eggemeyer, K.D., Awada, T., Harvey, F.E., Wedin, D., Zanner, R. and Zhou, X. 2009. Seasonal Changes in depth of water uptake for encroaching trees Juniperus virginiana and Pinus ponderosa and two dominant C4 grasses in a semi-arid grassland. Tree Physiology. 29:157-169. Online

Educational Background

  • BS - Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon, Agricultural Engineering (1992)
  • MS - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Greece, Environmental and Renewable Resources (1995)
  • PhD - University of Saskatchewan, Physiological Plant Ecology (2000)

SNR Program Area(s)

  • Applied Climate and Spatial Science

Affiliations (index)

Areas of Interest

  • Grasslands and forest ecology
  • Plant ecophysiology
  • Leaf gas exchange
  • Water relations in plants
  • Plants and microclimate
  • Ecology
  • Agroecosystems
  • Riparian Ecosystems
  • Ecophysiology
  • Resilence
  • Biodiversity
  • Invasive Species
  • Population Dynamics
  • Urban Forestry
  • Wetland Ecosystems

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title 3-D image-based Plant Phenotyping
Starting Date 10/1/2017
Principal Investigators
Sruti Das Choudhury
Tala Awada
Ashok Samal
Ending Date 9/30/2018
Funding Level $5,000.00
Funding Source Iowa State University

Grant Title Great Plains Agroecosystems Carbon Flux (Additional Funding)
Starting Date 9/25/2017
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Galen Erickson
Andy Suyker
Ending Date 8/31/2020
Funding Level $40,000.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Grant Title Great Plains Agroecosystems Carbon Flux
Starting Date 9/1/2016
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Erickson, Galen
Andy Suyker
Ending Date 8/31/2020
Funding Level $40,000.00
Funding Source USDA - ARS

Grant Title Investment in Photosynthetic Infra-red Gas Analyzers (LI-6800) to Support Interdisciplinary Teams
Starting Date 4/20/2016
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Clemente, Thomas
Schnabi, James
Cahoon, Edgar
James Schnabl
Ending Date 7/31/2016
Funding Level $110,700.00
Funding Source ARD Strategic Funds

Grant Title Carbon Flux from Great Plains Agroecosystems Associated with the ARS LTAR Network (Additional Funding)
Starting Date 2/19/2016
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Andy Suyker
Ending Date 8/31/2020
Funding Level $100,000.00
Funding Source USDA-ARS

Grant Title Carbon Flux from Great Plains Agroecosystems Associated with the ARS LTAR Network
Starting Date 9/1/2015
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Galen Erickson
Andy Suyker
Ending Date 8/31/2020
Funding Level $80,000.00
Funding Source U. S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service

Grant Title University of Nebraska-Lincoln / Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Water Quality Liaison (additional funding)
Starting Date 8/31/2014
Principal Investigators
Charles Hibberd
Tala Awada
Susan Williams
Ending Date 9/30/2017
Funding Level $20,771.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Grant Title Addressing Soil Property Issues
Starting Date 4/1/2014
Principal Investigators
Xu Li
Tala Awada
Humberto Blanco
Martha Mamo
Walt Schacht
Ending Date 9/30/2015
Funding Level $86,034.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Roads

Grant Title NDEQ Liaison for Coordination of Water Quality Education Programming in Nebraska (additional funding)
Starting Date 11/1/2012
Principal Investigators
Charles Hibberd
Tala Awada
Susan Williams
Ending Date 9/30/2017
Funding Level $187,560.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Grant Title Role of Forbs and Shrubs in Semi-arid Grasslands of Nebraska Sandhills
Starting Date 5/1/2009
Principal Investigators
Tala Awada
Ending Date 4/30/2010
Funding Level $30,000.00
Funding Source University of Nebraska-Lincoln Foundation


Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Grassland Ecology & Management
Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Bio-Atmospheric Interactions

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 406 Plant Ecophysiology: Theory and Practice X AGRO/HORT/WATS 406/806
NRES 492 Study Tours in Natural Resource Management: Greece - Sustainability, Environment & Society n/a
NRES 496 Independent Study X X X X NRES 896
NRES 806 Plant Ecophysiology: Theory and Practice X AGRO/HORT/WATS 406/806