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Richard Gill

Department Chair, Biology

4101A LSB
Provo, UT 84602


Richard Gill developed an interest in ecology as a child while exploring the forests and seashores of Washington State. This attraction to wild places motivated Dr. Gill to study Conservation Biology as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University and to receive a PhD in Ecology from Colorado State University. His PhD research on plant-soil interactions in dryland ecosystems, supervised by Indy Burke, dovetailed well with his postodoctoral research on plant physiological ecology with Rob Jackson at Duke University. Dr. Gill returned home to Washington in his first faculty position at Washington State University. There he pursued research on global change ecology, studying the impacts of changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature, and drought. In 2008 he joined the faculty of his alma mater as an associate professor of biology. He teaches in Conservation Biology courses and in the general and honors education curriculum.

Teaching Interests

My long-term goals as a teacher are to instill enthusiasm for science and develop life-long critical thinking skills in my students. I assert that one of the ways that I can achieve this goal is through a critical assessment of past teaching approaches and through a theory-driven modification of my approach to teaching. My teaching is driven by the philosophy that active learning increases information retention, critical thinking, and long-term learning behaviors. My goal is to include pedagogy in my scholarship and as a reflection of this I have published 3 papers related to teaching, including two in the Journal of College Science Teaching. I continue to seek additional ways to improve my teaching and have attended two professional development meetings related to science and diversity education.

  • BIO 100-General Biology
  • BIO 347-Religion and the Environment
  • BIO 350-Ecology
  • BIO 450-Conservation Biology

Research Interests

My research program focuses on ecosystem and community responses to climate variability. My research is directly relevant to the courses that I teach. I believe that my research addresses key questions to understand and mitigate the influence of humans on global climate and to address key resource issues in the American West.

Honors & Awards

  • General Education : Alcuin Fellowship
  • College of LIfe Sciences, BYU : College of Life Sciences Teaching Award

Courses Taught

Winter 2019

  • BIO 100: Principles of Biology Section 027, 028, 029
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 004
  • BIO 653: Community & Ecosyst Ecology Section 001
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 003
  • IAS 201R: Cultural Survey Section 020
  • IAS 369R: International Internship Prep Section 025

Fall 2018

  • BIO 450: Capstone in Biodiversity & Con Section 001
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 005, 030
  • HONRS 220: Unexpect Connect: Biol-Letters Section 003

Winter 2018

  • BIO 100: Principles of Biology Section 006
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 005, 032

Fall 2017

  • BIO 450: Conservation Biology Section 001
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 006BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 2HONRS 101: Late Summer Honors Section 006UNIV 291: Unexpect Connect: Biol-Letters Section 003


Journal Articles

Bradshaw W, Bybee SM, Gill RA, Peck SL. 2018. A longitudinal study of attitudes toward evolution among undergraduates who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. PloS one. 13(11).

Conner LG, Gill RA, Harvey JT. 2017. Earlier snowmelt accompanied by warmer soil temperatures in mid-latitude aspen forest and subalpine meadow: Implications for soil carbon. Plant and Soil.

St Clair SB, O'Connor R, Gill RA, McMillan BR. 2016. Biotic resistance and disturbance: rodent consumers regulate post-fire plant invasions and increase community diversity. Ecology. 97:1700-1711.

Procter AC, Gill RA, Fay PA, Polley HW, Jackson RB. 2015. Soil carbon responses to past and future CO2 in three Texas prairie soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 83:66-75.

Yurkewycz RP, Bishop JG, Crisafulli CM, Harrison JA, Gill RA. 2014. Gopher mounds decrease nutrient cycling rates and increase adjacent vegetation in volcanic primary succession. Oecologia. 176(4):1135-1150.

Shi Z, Balogh-Brunstad Z, Grant M, Harsh J, Gill RA, Tomashow L, Dohnalkova A, Stacks D, Letourneau M, Keller CK. 2014. Cation uptake and allocation by red pine seedlings under cation-nutrient stress in a column growth experiment. Plant and Soil. In Press.

Gill RA. 2013. The influence of 3-years of warming and N-deposition on ecosystem dynamics is small compared to past land use in subalpine meadows. Plant and Soil.

Gill RA. 2011. Effective Strategies for Engaging Students in Large-Lecture, Nonmajors Science Courses. Journal of College Science Teaching. 41(2):14-21.


Manwaring K, Jensen JL, Gill RA, Sudweeks RR, Davies RS, Olsen JA, Bradshaw WS. The Evolution of Evolution Acceptance. Biology Leadership Community. New Orleans, LA. 2016.

Gill RA. Trophic influences and water availability control desert ecosystem response to fire. International Ecology Congress. London, UK. 2013.

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