Coastal prairie

Photo: UHCC prairie

Photo: UHCC prairie


We are studying how land use histories and soil chemistry affect plant and herbivore communities in Coastal prairie. In particular, we're running a large field experiment to test the hypothesis that variation in soil micronutrients affects herbivore communities. We’re also exploring how herbivore diversity affects plant communities. This work is led by Dr. Chelse Prather (University of Dayton) and Dr. Angela Laws (Xerxes society).


We work at the University of Houston Coastal Center, which is located between Houston and Galveston. The roughly 925 acre property contains large stands of tallgrass prairie. The UHCC also provides logistical support for our other environmental research on the Texas coast.


For more information about the UHCC, see our web site,


Recent publications from this work


Prather, C. M., A. N. Laws, J. F. Cuellar, R. W. Reihart, K. W. Gawkins, S. C. Pennings. 2018. Seeking salt: herbivorous prairie insects can be co-limited by macronutrients and salt. Ecology Letters 21:1467-1476.


Laws, A. N., C. Prather, D. H. Branson, S. C. Pennings. 2018. Effects of grasshoppers on prairies: herbivore composition matters more than richness in three grassland ecosystems. Journal of Animal Ecology 87:1727-1737.


Updated 1/2019