Richard G. Smith


In general, my research tends to focus on the interface between agriculture and plant community and ecosystem ecology.  My interests include weed ecology and management, the role of diversity in agroecosystem function, plant invasions, community assembly theory, trophic interactions, and implications of land-use and climate change. The overall goal of my research is to better understand the ecological interactions that underpin agricultural production systems so as to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture.



  • 2005 Ph.D. (Plant Biology; Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior), Michigan State University
  • 1996 B.S. (Biology), University of New Mexico

Richard Smith

Assistant Professor, Agroecology

Agroecology Lab Website

Selected Publications

Grandy, A.S., Kallenbach, C.M., Loecke, T., Snapp, S.S., Smith R.G. The biological basis for N management in agroecosystems. In T. Cheeke, D.C. Coleman, D.H. Wall (eds.) Microbial Ecology in Sustainable Agroecosystems. CRC Press. In press.

Mortensen, D.A., Egan, J.F., Maxwell, B.D., Ryan, M.R., Smith, R.G. 2012 Navigating a  critical juncture for sustainable weed management. BioScience 62: 75-84.

Smith, R.G., Gareau, T.P., Mortensen, D.A., Curran, W.S., Barbercheck, M.E. 2011. Assessing and visualizing agricultural management practices: A multivariable hands-on approach for education and extension. Weed Technology 25: 680-687.

Ge, S., Smith, R.G., Jacovides, C.P., Kramer, M.G., Carruthers, R.I. 2011. Dynamics of  photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) and estimates in coastal northern California. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 105: 107-118.

Smith, R.G., Ryan, M.R., Menalled, F.D. 2011. Direct and indirect impacts of weed management practices on soil quality. Pp. 275-286. In: J.L. Hatfield and T.J. Sauer (eds.). Soil Management: Building a Stable Base for Agriculture. American Society of Agronomy Series.

Egan, J.F., Maxwell, B.D., Mortensen, D.A., Ryan, M.R., Smith, R.G. 2011. 2,4-D  resistant crops and the potential for evolution of 2,4-D resistant weeds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: E37. Available on-line:

Smith, R.G., Barbercheck, M.E., Mortensen, D.A., Hyde, J., Hulting, A.G. 2011. Yield  and net returns during the transition to organic feed grain production. Agronomy Journal 103: 51-59.

Gareau, T.L.P., Smith, R.G., Barbercheck, M.E., Mortensen, D.A. 2010. Spider plots: a tool for participatory extension learning.  Journal of Extension 48 (5) available at

Ryan, M.R., Smith, R.G., Mirsky, S.B., Mortensen, D.A., Seidel, R. 2010. Management filters and species traits: Weed community assembly in long-term organic and conventional systems. Weed Science 58: 265-277.

Smith, R.G., Mortensen, D.A., Ryan, M.R. 2010. A new hypothesis for the functional role of diversity in mediating resource pools and weed-crop competition in agroecosystems. Weed Research 50: 37-48.

Ryan, M.R., Smith, R.G., Mortensen, D.A., Teasdale, J.R., Curran, W.S., Seidel, R.  2009. Weed-crop competition relationships differ between organic and conventional cropping systems. Weed Research 49: 572-580.

Smith, R.G., Jabbour, R., Hulting, A.G., Barbercheck, M.E., Mortensen, D.A. 2009.  Effects of initial seed bank density on weed seedling emergence during the transition to an organic feed grain crop rotation. Weed Science 57: 533-540.

Davis, A.S.,  Hall, J.C., Jasieniuk, M., Locke, M.A., Luschei, E.C., Mortensen, D.A.,  Riechers, D.E., Smith, R.G., Sterling, T.M., Westwood, J.H. 2009. Weed science research and funding: a call to action. Weed Science 57: 442-448.

Smith, R.G., Gross, K.L., Robertson, G.P. 2008. Effects of crop diversity on  agroecosystem function: crop yield response. Ecosystems 11: 355-366.

Smith, R.G., McSwiney, C.P., Grandy, A.S., Suwanwaree, P., Snider, R.M., Robertson, G.P.  2008. Diversity and abundance of earthworms across an agricultural land-use intensity gradient.  Soil & Tillage Research 100: 83-88.

Smith, R.G., Menalled, F.D., Robertson, G.P. 2007. Temporal yield variability under conventional and alternative management systems. Agronomy Journal 99: 1629–1634.

Maxwell, B.D., Smith, R.G., Brelsford, M. 2007. Wild oat (Avena fatua) seed bank dynamics in transition to organic wheat production systems. Weed Science 55: 212-217.

Smith, R.G., Gross, K.L. 2007. Assembly of weed communities along a crop diversity gradient. Journal of Applied Ecology 44: 1046-1056.

Menalled, F.D., Smith, R.G. 2007. Competitiveness of herbicide resistant and  susceptible kochia (Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.) under contrasting management practices. Weed Biology and Management 7: 115-119.

Menalled, F.D., Smith, R.G., Dauer, J.T., Fox, T.B. 2007. Impact of agricultural  management on carabid communities and weed seed predation. Agriculture, Ecosystems, & Environment 118: 49-54.

Smith, R.G., Gross, K.L. 2006. Rapid change in the germinable fraction of the weed seed bank in crop rotations. Weed Science 54: 1094-1100.

Smith, R.G., Maxwell, B.D., Menalled, F.D., Rew, L.J. 2006. Lessons from agriculture may improve the management of invasive plants in wildland systems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4: 428-434.

Smith, R.G. 2006. Timing of tillage is an important filter on the assembly of weed  communities.  Weed Science 54: 705-712.

Smith, R.G., Gross, K.L. 2006.  Weed community and corn yield variability in diverse management systems. Weed Science 54: 106-113.

Smith, R.G., Gross, K.L., Januchowski, S. 2005.  Earthworms and weed seed  distribution in annual crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 108: 363-367.


Selected Service Activities

  • Associate Editor, Journal of Sustainable Agriculture (2011-)
  • Associate Editor, Agronomy Journal (2007-2011)
  • Chair, Agroecology Section, Ecological Society of America (2010-2012)
  • Chair, Weed Biology and Ecology Session, Weed Science Society of America (2010)
  • Chair, Weed Biology and Ecology Section, Northeast Weed Science Society (2010)
  • Vice-Chair, Agroecology Section, Ecological Society of America (2008-2010)
  • Member, Biology of Weeds Committee, Weed Science Society of America (2009-12)
  • Member, Research and Competitive Grants Committee, Weed Science Society of America (2007-)