Nevin Lawrence

Nevin Lawrence
  • PhD Candidate
  • Washington State University
  • Crop and Soil Sciences


Ian Burke

Thesis or Dissertation Citation: 

Lawrence, N. 2015. Adaptation to Climate Change and Small Grain Production Systems. Washington State University PhD Dissertation, pp. 1-135.

Research Focus: 

Variation in downy brome development in the small grain production region of the PNW

Research Abstract: 

Bromus tectorum (downy brome) is an invasive winter annual grass species naturalized throughout western North America. Within the small grain production region of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) downy brome is a ubiquitous and competitive weed. Previous research has documented regional specificity of downy brome phenotypic development, while considerable variation in phenotypic development has been noted between regions. In 2011 and 2012 130 downy brome accessions were collected from across the PNW small grain production region. A genotype-by-sequencing approach was employed to call molecular markers, generate population genetic statistics, and classify 88 of the 130 downy brome accessions into genetically similar clusters. Individuals were assigned to one of six genetic clusters using 384 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and discriminant analysis of principal components clustering approach. Accessions were transplanted to three common garden field sites to document and model the timing of development. The timing of development stages was modeled against cumulative growing-degree-days (GDD) to develop herbicide application thresholds to aid in control of downy brome within small grain fields. The estimate for mature seed production varied from May 18th to June 20th depending upon the location of the common garden. Earlier production of mature seed was observed following more severe winters compared to mild winters, implying a role of vernalization regulating the timing of development. Greenhouse experiments were initiated to characterize the response of early, intermediate, and late-to-flower downy brome accessions to various vernalization treatments and quantify expression of Brachypodium distachyon gene vernalization 1 (BdVRN1). Downy brome flowering in response to vernalization treatments was linked to the expression of BdVRN1, implying the molecular controls of flowering in downy brome are similar to the controls of other temperate grass species. Downscaled climate modeling was paired with Global Climate Change models to project downy brome development thresholds under future climate scenarios. Downy brome development is anticipated to advance 16 to 34 days across the small grain production region of the PNW. The earlier development of downy brome will require earlier control inputs, which may conflict with earlier rainfall projected under future climate scenarios.


I was born in Western South Dakota but grew up in Central Wyoming were I spent much of my time outdoors hiking, mountain biking, skiing and windsurfing. When I started my undergraduate studies at the University of Wyoming I had a passion to study science and a love of the outdoors and quickly decided to study agriculture. I received a BS in 2009 in Agroecology, and MS in 2011 in Agronomy from the University of Wyoming. I began my studies at WSU in the summer of 2011. In my spare time I enjoy spending my time with my wife and our young son.

Publications and Presentations: 

Lawrence, N. L., A. L. Hauvermale, A. Dhingra, and I. C. Burke. 2017. Population structure and genetic diversity of Bromus tectorum within the small grain production region of the Pacific Northwest. Ecol. Evol. 7 (20), 8316-8328.
Young, F., Whaley, D., Lawrence, N., Burke, I. 2016. Feral rye (Secale cereale) control in winter canola in the Pacific Northwest. Weed Technology. 30(1): 163-170.
Lawrence, N., Bell, J., Burke, I. 2016. Influence of application method and chemical form on the absorption and translocation of Aminocyclopyrachlor in black walnut. Weed Science. 64(1): 25-32.
Lawrence, N., Burke, I. 2014. Control of rattail fescue (Vulpia myuros) in no-till winter wheat. Weed Technology. 28(3): 471-478.
Lawrence, N., Ball, D., Abaztoglou, J., Burke I. Using Climate Modeling to Project Development of Bromus tectorum in the Pacific Northwest. Western Society of Weed Science Meeting, March 11-14, 2013, San Diego, CA.