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, William F., Johan Ehrlén, Johan P. Dahlgren, Alexander K. Loomis, and Allison M. Louthan. “Biotic and anthropogenic forces rival climatic/abiotic factors in determining global plant population growth and fitness.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117, no. 2 (January 2020): 1107–12. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1918363117. Full Text

Reed, P. B., M. L. Peterson, L. E. Pfeifer-Meister, W. F. Morris, D. F. Doak, B. A. Roy, B. R. Johnson, G. T. Bailes, A. A. Nelson, and S. D. Bridgham. “Climate manipulations differentially affect plant population dynamics within versus beyond northern range limits.” Journal of Ecology, January 1, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13494. Full Text

Peterson, M. L., W. Morris, C. Linares, and D. Doak. “Improving structured population models with more realistic representations of non-normal growth.” Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10, no. 9 (September 1, 2019): 1431–44. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13240. Full Text

Waddle, Ellen, Lucas R. Piedrahita, Elijah S. Hall, Grace Kendziorski, William F. Morris, Megan L. Peterson, and Daniel F. Doak. “Asynchrony in individual and subpopulation fecundity stabilizes reproductive output of an alpine plant population.Ecology 100, no. 4 (April 2019): e02639. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2639. Full Text

Peterson, Megan L., Daniel F. Doak, and William F. Morris. “Incorporating local adaptation into forecasts of species' distribution and abundance under climate change.Global Change Biology 25, no. 3 (March 2019): 775–93. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14562. Full Text

Peterson, Megan L., Daniel F. Doak, and William F. Morris. “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): 1614–25. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13990. Full Text

Himes Boor, Gina K., Cheryl B. Schultz, Elizabeth E. Crone, and William F. Morris. “Mechanism matters: the cause of fluctuations in boom-bust populations governs optimal habitat restoration strategy.Ecological Applications : A Publication of the Ecological Society of America 28, no. 2 (March 2018): 356–72. https://doi.org/10.1002/eap.1652. Full Text

Canelles, Q., S. Saura-Mas, L. Brotons, M. B. García, F. Lloret, J. Villellas, and W. F. Morris. “Environmental stress effects on reproduction and sexual dimorphism in the gynodioecious species Silene acaulis.” Environmental and Experimental Botany 146 (February 1, 2018): 27–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.06.010. Full Text


Selected Grants

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 2020

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