William F. Morris

Professor of Biology

104 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Duke Box 90325, Durham, NC 27708-0325
(919) 684-5257
Bill Morris studies the population ecology of plants and insects (both herbivores and pollinators). Current projects include: the population dynamic consequences of constitutive and inducible resistance in plants, the maintenance of mutualistic interactions between flowering plants and nectar-robbing pollinators, the use of population-level attributes to detect biotic responses to ongoing environmental changes, and the use of mathematical models to assess viability of threatened and endangered populations. The common thread uniting these projects is that they combine field experiments and mathematical models to study population dynamics in natural and managed systems.


  • Ph.D., University of Washington 1990

  • B.S., Cornell University 1983

Morris, WF, and Kareiva, PM. "How insect herbivores find suitable host plants: The interplay between random and nonrandom movement." In Insect-Plant Interactions, 175-208. January 1, 2017. Full Text

Waddle, E, Piedrahita, LR, Hall, ES, Kendziorski, G, Morris, WF, Peterson, ML, and Doak, DF. "Asynchrony in individual and subpopulation fecundity stabilizes reproductive output of an alpine plant population." Ecology 100, no. 4 (April 2019): e02639-null. Full Text

Peterson, ML, Doak, DF, and Morris, WF. "Incorporating local adaptation into forecasts of species' distribution and abundance under climate change." Global Change Biology 25, no. 3 (March 2019): 775-793. (Review) Full Text

Peterson, ML, Doak, DF, and Morris, WF. "Both life-history plasticity and local adaptation will shape range-wide responses to climate warming in the tundra plant Silene acaulis." Global Change Biology 24, no. 4 (April 2018): 1614-1625. Full Text

Himes Boor, GK, Schultz, CB, Crone, EE, and Morris, WF. "Mechanism matters: the cause of fluctuations in boom-bust populations governs optimal habitat restoration strategy." Ecological applications. 28, no. 2 (March 2018): 356-372. Full Text

Canelles, Q, Saura-Mas, S, Brotons, L, García, MB, Lloret, F, Villellas, J, and Morris, WF. "Environmental stress effects on reproduction and sexual dimorphism in the gynodioecious species Silene acaulis." Environmental and Experimental Botany 146 (February 1, 2018): 27-33. Full Text

Louthan, AM, Pringle, RM, Goheen, JR, Palmer, TM, Morris, WF, and Doak, DF. "Aridity weakens population-level effects of multiple species interactions on Hibiscus meyeri." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 115, no. 3 (January 2018): 543-548. Full Text

Campos, FA, Morris, WF, Alberts, SC, Altmann, J, Brockman, DK, Cords, M, Pusey, A, Stoinski, TS, Strier, KB, and Fedigan, LM. "Does climate variability influence the demography of wild primates? Evidence from long-term life-history data in seven species." Global Change Biology 23, no. 11 (November 2017): 4907-4921. Full Text

Pietrek, AG, Himes Boor, GK, and Morris, WF. "How effective are buffer zones in managing invasive beavers in Patagonia? A simulation study." Biodiversity and Conservation 26, no. 11 (October 1, 2017): 2591-2605. Full Text

Vázquez, DP, Gianoli, E, Morris, WF, and Bozinovic, F. "Ecological and evolutionary impacts of changing climatic variability." Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 92, no. 1 (February 2017): 22-42. (Review) Full Text


Selected Grants

Evaluating the Use of Spatially Explicit Population Models to Predict Conservation Reliant awarded by Institute for Wildlife Studies (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2020

LTREB RENEWAL: Collaborative LTREB Research: Population and community awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2019

Collaborative Research: Scaling to Regional Controls Over Prairie Plant Range Distributions under Future Climate Change awarded by University of Colorado - Boulder (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2019

Endangered Butterflies as A Model System for Detecting and Managing Source-Link Dynamics awarded by Tufts University (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Can indirect interations arise from sharing mutualists? Detecting competition or facilitation awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2010

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Predicting the combined effects of plant resistance and natural enemies on plant fitness awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2007

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Changes in Ecomycorrhizal Fungal Communities Along a Nitrogen Deposition Gradient and Their Conse awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2004 to 2006

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Does the presence and spatial arrangement of co-flowering species affect threshold critical popul awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2002 to 2006

Collaborative Research-Assessing the Geographic and Temporal Consistency of Life History and Demographic Patterns: A Lon awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2000 to 2005