Tala Awada

Tala Awada

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising

Contact Information

TitlePhysiological Plant Ecologist | Associate Dean Agricultural Research Division
Faculty RankProfessor
Address207C Agricultural Hall
3550 East Campus Loop
Lincoln NE
  • office: 402-472-7088 Ext:


My Story

Hi, I'm Tala Awada, professor of plant ecophysiology in the School of Natural Resources.

I teach in the areas of forest and grassland ecology and plant ecophysiology. I am particularly interested in studying the responses of plants and ecosystems to environmental stresses and climate change. Such studies are necessary to better understand and manage our ecosystems.

The main focus of my research has been on determining the ecological impacts of woody species expansion into semi-arid grasslands and riparian areas in Nebraska. I have been conducting several studies on the functional characteristics of dominant grasses, trees and shrubs in Nebraska and the Great Plains. A number of my graduate students have also been focusing on the development of broad-spectrum stress-tolerant plants. In addition to my work in Nebraska, I have been collaborating with several researchers in Greece to determine the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean pine forests.

Treking along the Nea kameni volcano in Santorini-Greece
Treking along the Nea kameni volcano in Santorini-Greece

Selected Publications

Anderson-Teixeira, K. J., Herrmann, V., Rollinson, C. R., Gonzalez, B., Gonzalez-Akre, E. B., Pederson, N., Alexander, M. R., Allen, C., Alfaro-Sanchez, R., Awada, T. N., Baltzer, J. L., Baker, P. J., Birch, J. D., Bunyavejchewin, S., Cherubini, P., Davies, S. J., Dow, C., Helcoski, R., Kaspar, J., Lutz, J. A., Margolis, E. Q., Maxwell, J. T., McMahon, S. M., Piponiot, C., Russo, S. E., Samonil, P., Sniderhan, A. E., Tepley, A. J., Vasickova, I., Vlam, M., Zuidema, P. A. (2021). Joint effects of climate, tree size, and year on annual tree growth derived from tree-ring records of ten globally distributed forests. GLOBAL CHANGE BIOLOGY, 28(1), 245-266. Online
Bacher, H., Zhu, F., Gao, T., Liu, K., Dhatt, B. K., Awada, T. N., Zhang, C., Distelfeld, A., Yu, H., Peleg, Z., Walia, H. (2021). Wild emmer introgression alters root-to-shoot growth dynamics in durum wheat in response to water stress. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 187(3), 1149-1162Online
Bashyam, S., Choudhury, S. D., Samal, A. K., Awada, T. N. (2021). Visual Growth Tracking for Automated Leaf Stage Monitoring Based on Image Sequence Analysis. REMOTE SENSING, 13(5).Online
Mazis, A., Fowler, J.A., Hiller, J., Zhou, Y., Wardlow, B., Wedin, D.A., Awada, T. 2021. Ecophysio-optical traits of semiarid Nebraska grasslands under different Juniperus virginiana and Pinus ponderosa canopy covers. Ecological Indicators 131 (2021) 108159. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2021.108159Online
Mazis, T., Awada, T. N., Fowler, J., Hiller, J., Zhou, Y., Wardlow, B., Wedin, D. A. (2021). Changes in Ecophysio-Optical Traits of Semiarid Nebraska Grasslands with Juniperus virginiana and Pinus ponderosa Encroachment. Ecological Indicators, 131. Online
Mills, S. D., Mamo, M., Ruis, S., Blanco-Canqui, H., Schacht, W., Awada, T. N., Li, X., Sutton, P. (2021). Soil properties limiting vegetation establishment along roadsides. JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, 50(1), 110-121.Online
Wang, L., Zhou, Y., Hu, Q., Tang, Z., Ge, Y., Smith, A., Awada, T. N., Shi, Y. (2021). Early Detection of Encroaching Woody Juniperus virginiana and Its Classification in Multi-Species Forest Using UAS Imagery and Semantic Segmentation Algorithms. REMOTE SENSING, 13(10).Online
Zhou, X., Gao, T., Takle, E.S., Zhen, X., Suyker, A.E., Awada, T., Okalebo, J., Zhu, J. 2021. Air Temperature Equation Derived from Sonic Temperature and Water Vapor Mixing Ratio for Air Flow Sampled Through Closed-Path Eddy-Covariance Flux Systems. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions. https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2021-160 :1-31.Online
Battipaglia, G., Awada, T., Aus Der Au, R., Innangi, M., Saurer, M., Cherubini, P. 2020. Increasing Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations Outweighs Effects of Stand Density in Determining Growth and Water Use Efficiency in Pinus Ponderosa of the Semi-Arid Grasslands of Nebraska (U.S.A.) Global Ecology and Conservation 24:1-11. Online
Awada, T., Skolaut, K., Battipaglia, G., Saurer, M., Riveros-Iregui, D., Schapaugh, A., Huddle J., Zhou, X., Martin, D., and Cherubini, P. (2019). Tree-ring stable isotopes show different ecophysiological strategies in native and invasive woody species ofOnline
Bai, G., Ge, Y., Scoby, D., Leavitt, B., Stoerger, V., Kirchgessner, N., Irmak, S., Graef, G., Schnable, J., Awada, T. (2019). NU-Spidercam: A large-scale, cable-driven, integrated sensing and robotic system for advanced phenotyping, remote sensing, and aOnline
Bumann, E., Awada T., Wardlow B., Hayes M., Okalebo J., Helzer C., Mazis A., J. Hiller J., and Cherubini, P. 2019. Assessing Responses of Betula papyrifera to Climate Variability in a Remnant Population along the Niobrara River Valley in Nebraska through Online
Das Choudhury, D., Samal, A., and Awada, T. 2019. Leveraging Image Analysis for High-Throughput Plant Phenotyping. Frontiers in Plant Science. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00508 Online
Fotelli, M.N., Korakaki, E., Paparrizos, S.A., Radoglou, K., Awada, T., Matzarakis, A., 2019. Environmental Controls on the Seasonal Variation in Gas Exchange and Water Balance in a Near-Coastal Mediterranean Pinus halepensis Forest. Forests 2019, 10(4), Online
Aus Der Au R., Awada T., Battipaglia G., Hiller, J., Saurer M., and Cherubini P., 2018. Tree Rings of Pinus ponderosa and Juniperus virginiana Show Different Responses to Stand Density and Water Availability in the Nebraska Grasslands. American Midland NOnline
Das Choudhury, S., Bashyam, S., Qui, Y., Samal, A., Awada, T. (2018). Holistic and Component Plant Phenotyping using Temporal Image Sequence. Holistic and Component Plant Phenotyping using Temporal Image Sequence, Plant Methods. 14(35).
Wang, S., Zuo, X., Zhao, X., Awada, T., Luo, Y., Li Y., and Qu. H. (2018). Dominant plant species shape soil bacterial community in semiarid sandy land of northern China. Ecology & Evolution, 8(3):1693-1704.Online
Hay, W., Bihmidine, S., Mutlu, N., Awada, T. N., Weeks, D., Clemente, T. E., Long, S. (2017). Enhancing soybean photosynthetic CO2 assimilation using a cyanobacterial membrane protein, ictB. Journal of Plant Physiology, 212, 58-68.Online
Konstantinos Giannakas, Murray Fulton & Tala Awada. (2017). Hiring leaders: Inference and disagreement about the best person for the job. Palgrave Communications 3, Article number: 17. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-017-0019-y doi:10.1057/s41599Online
Msanne, J., Awada, T. N., Bryan, N., Schacht, W., Drijber, R., Li, Y., Zhou, X., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D. A., Brandle, J. R., Hiller, J. (2017). Ecophysiological responses of native invasive woody Juniperus virginiana L. to resource availability and stand cOnline
Msanne, J., Awada, T., Bryan, N.M., Schacht, W., Drijber, R. Li, Y., Zhou, X., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D., Brandle, J., Hiller, J. 2017. Ecophysiological Responses of Native Invasive Woody Juniperus Virginiana L. to Resource Availability and Stand CharacterisOnline
Quinn, J., Awada, T. N., Trindade, F., Fulginiti, L., Perrin, R. K. (2017). Combining habitat loss and agricultural intensification improves our understanding of drivers of change in avian abundance in a North American cropland anthrome. Ecology and EvoluOnline
S. D. Choudhury, S. Goswami, S. Bashyam, A. Samal, T. Awada. (2017). Automated Stem Angle Determination for Temporal Plant Phenotyping Analysis. ICCV, Computer Vision Challenges in Plant Phenotyping, Venice, Italy.Online
Mykleby, P., Lenters, J., Cutrell, G., Herrman, K., Istanbulluoglu, E., Scott, D., Twine, T., Kucharic, C., Awada, T. N., Soylu, M., Dong, B. 2016. Energy and water response of a vegetated wetland to herbicide treatment of invasive Phragmites australis. JOnline
Nguy-Robertson, A., Brinley-Buckley, E., Suyker, A., Awada, T. N. 2016. Determining factors that impact the calibration of consumer-grade digital cameras used for vegetation analysis. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 37(14):3365-3383.Online
Li, Y., Zhao, X., Zhang, F., Awada, T., Wang, S., Zhao, H., Zhang, T., and Li, Y. (2015). Accumulation of soil organic carbon during natural restoration of desertified grassland in China's Horqin Sandy Land. Journal of Arid Land. 7:328-340.Online
Mykleby, P.M., Awada, T., Lenters, J., Bihmidine, S., Yarina, A. and Young, S. (2015). Ecophysiological responses of invasive and native phragmites australis to temperature and nitrogen fertilization. Great Plains Research. 25:63-74.
Zhou, X., Schoeneberger, M.M., Brandle, J., Awada, T., Chu, J., Martin, D.L., Li, J., Li, Y., and Mize, C.W. (2015). Analyzing the uncertainties in use of forest-derived biomass equations for open-grown trees in agricultural land. Forest Science. 61:14Online
Bihmidine, S., Cao, M., Kang, M., Awada, T., Van Etten, J.L., Dunigan, D.D., and Clemente, T.E. (2014). Expression of Chlorovirus MT325 aquaglyceroporin (aqpv1) in tobacco and its role in mitigating drought stress. Planta. 240:209-221.
Guangyong Li, John E. Froehlich, Christian Elowsky, Joseph Msanne, Andrew C. Ostosh, Chi Zhang, Tala Awada and James R. Alfano. (2014) Distinct Pseudomonas type III effectors utilize a cleavable transit peptide to target chloroplasts. The Plant Journal, 7Online
Zhou, X., Schoenberger, M.M., Brandle, J.R., Awada, T.N., Chu, J., Martin, D.L., Li, J., Li, Y., Mize, C.W. 2014. Analyzing the Uncertainties in Use of Forest-Derived Biomass Equations for Open-Grown Trees in Agricultural Land. Forest Science. 60:1-18.Online
Awada, T., El-Hage, R., Geha, M., Wedin, D.A., Huddle, J.A., Zhou, X., Msanne, J., Sudmeyer, R.A., Martin, D.L., and Brandle, J.R. (2013). Intra-annual variability and environmental controls over transpiration in a 58-year-old even-aged stand of invasive Online
Bihmidine, S., Lin, J., Stone, J.M., Awada, T., Specht, J.E., Clemente, T.E. (2013). Activity of the Arabidopsis RD29A and RD29B promoter elements in soybean. Planta. 237(1):55-64.
Li, Y., Brandle, J., Awada, T., Chen, Y., Hana, J., Zhang, F., Luo. Y. (2013). Accumulation of carbon and nitrogen in the plant-soil system after afforestation of active sand dunes in China's Horqin Sandy Land. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 177: Online
Chen Y., Li, Y., Awada, T., Han J., and Luo Y. (2012). Carbon sequestration in the total and light fraction soil organic matter along chronosequence in grazing exclosures in a semiarid degraded sandy site in China. Journal of Arid Land, 4:411-419Online
Chen, Y., Li, Y., Zhao, X., Awada, T., Shang, W., and Han, J. (2012) Effects of Grazing Exclusion on Soil Properties and on Ecosystem Carbon and Nitrogen Storage in a Sandy Rangeland of Inner Mongolia, Northern China. Environmental Management. 50(4):622-
Christos Bazakos, Maria E. Manioudaki, Ioannis Therios, Demetrios Voyiatzis,Dimitris Kafetzopoulos, Tala Awada, Panagiotis Kalaitzis. (2012). Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Two Olive Cultivars in Response to NaCl-Stress. PLoS ONE. 7(8): e42931.Online
Li, Y.Q., Awada, T., Shang, W., Chen, Y.P., Zhou, X.H., Zuo, X.A., Wang ,S.K., Liu, X.P., and Feng, J. (2012). Mongolian pine plantations enhance soil physico-chemical properties and carbon and nitrogen capacities in semi-arid degraded sandy land in ChinaOnline
Msanne, J., Xu, D., Konda, A.R., Casas-Mollano, J.A., Awada, T., Cahoon, E.B., and Cerutti, H. (2012). Metabolic and gene expression changes triggered by nitrogen deprivation in photoautotrophically grown microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and CoccomyxaOnline
Bazakos, C., Manioudaki, M., Therios, I., Voyiatzis, D., Kafetzopoulos, D., Sarropoulou, E., Awada, T., and Kalaitzis, P. (2011). Gene expression analysis of olive tree (Olea europaea L.) in response to salt stress. Acta Horticulturae, 924:47-54.
Msanne, J., Jiusheng, L., Stone, J., and Awada, T. (2011). Characterization of abiotic stress-responsive Arabidopsis thaliana RD29A and RD29B genes and evaluation of transgenes. Planta. 234:97-107.
Zhou, X.H., Brandle, J.R., Awada, T., Schoeneberger, M.M., Martin, D.L., and Tang, Z.H. (2011). The use of forest-derived specific gravity for the conversion of volume to biomass for open-grown trees on agricultural land. Biomass and Bioenergy. 35: 172Online
Bihmidine, S., Bryan, N.M., Payne, K.R., Parde, M.R., Okalebo, J.A., Cooperstein, S.E., and Awada, T. 2010. Photosynthetic performance of invasive Pinus ponderosa and Juniperus virginiana seedlings under gradual soil water depletion. Plant Biology. 12: 66Online
Eggemeyer, K.D., Awada, T., Harvey, F.E., Wedin, D., Zanner, R. and Zhou, X. 2009. Seasonal Changes in depth of water uptake for encroaching trees Juniperus virginiana and Pinus ponderosa and two dominant C4 grasses in a semi-arid grassland. Tree PhysioloOnline



DegreeMajorInstitutionYear Awarded
Doctorate of PhilosophyPhysiological Plant EcologyUniversity of Saskatchewan2000
Master of ScienceEnvironmental and Renewable ResourcesMediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, Greece1995
Bachelor of ScienceAgricultural EngineeringLebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon1992





TitleAwarded byYear Awarded
FellowNational Strategic Research Institute2022

Areas of Interest/Expertise

  • Grasslands and forest ecology
  • Plant ecophysiology
  • Leaf gas exchange
  • Water relations in plants
  • Plants and microclimate
  • Ecology
  • Agroecosystems
  • Riparian Ecosystems
  • Ecophysiology
  • Resilence
  • Biodiversity
  • Invasive Species
  • Population Dynamics
  • Urban Forestry
  • Wetland Ecosystems


Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/ 2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/ 2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant TitleAgricultural Intensification in the Western Corn Belt (Additional Funding)
Starting Date09/25/2022


Ending Date07/31/2024
Funding Level$249,929.00
Funding AgencyUSDA-Agricultural Research Service


Grant Title LTAR Network Strategic Planning and Visioning (Additional Funding)
Starting Date10/05/2021


Ending Date06/30/2024
Funding Level$14,000.00
Funding AgencyUSDA - Agricultural Research Division


Grant TitleAgricultural Intensification in the Western Corn Belt (Additional)
Starting Date10/05/2021


Ending Date07/31/2024
Funding Level$125,000.00
Funding AgencyUSDA - Agricultural Research Service


Grant TitleLTAR Network Strategic Planning and Visioning (Additional Funding)
Starting Date07/02/2021


Ending Date07/02/2021
Funding Level$48,300.00
Funding AgencyUSDA Agricultural Research Service


Grant TitleAgricultural Intensification in the Western Corn Belt (Additional)
Starting Date06/08/2020


Ending Date07/31/2024
Funding Level$200,000.00
Funding AgencyUS Deparment of Agriculture - ARS


Grant TitleWestern Corn Belt Ag Intensification
Starting Date08/01/2019


Ending Date07/31/2024
Funding Level$450,000.00
Funding AgencyUSDA Agricultural Research Service


Grant TitleCarbon Flux from Great Plains Agroecosystems Associated with the ARS LTAR Network (Additional Funding)
Starting Date09/26/2018


Ending Date08/31/2020
Funding Level$40,000.00
Funding AgencyDepartment of Agriculture - Ag Research Service


Grant Title3-D image-based Plant Phenotyping
Starting Date10/01/2017


Ending Date09/30/2018
Funding Level$5,000.00
Funding AgencyIowa State University


Grant TitleGreat Plains Agroecosystems Carbon Flux (Additional Funding)
Starting Date09/25/2017


Ending Date08/31/2020
Funding Level$40,000.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Department of Natural Resources


Grant TitleGreat Plains Agroecosystems Carbon Flux
Starting Date09/01/2016


Ending Date08/31/2020
Funding Level$40,000.00
Funding AgencyUSDA - ARS


Grant TitleInvestment in Photosynthetic Infra-red Gas Analyzers (LI-6800) to Support Interdisciplinary Teams
Starting Date04/20/2016


Ending Date07/31/2016
Funding Level$110,700.00
Funding AgencyARD Strategic Funds


Grant TitleCarbon Flux from Great Plains Agroecosystems Associated with the ARS LTAR Network (Additional Funding)
Starting Date02/19/2016


Ending Date08/31/2020
Funding Level$100,000.00
Funding AgencyUSDA-ARS


Grant TitleCarbon Flux from Great Plains Agroecosystems Associated with the ARS LTAR Network
Starting Date09/01/2015


Ending Date08/31/2020
Funding Level$80,000.00
Funding AgencyU. S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service


Grant TitleUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln / Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Water Quality Liaison (additional funding)
Starting Date08/31/2014


Ending Date09/30/2017
Funding Level$20,771.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Department of Environmental Quality


Grant TitleAddressing Soil Property Issues
Starting Date04/01/2014


Ending Date09/30/2015
Funding Level$86,034.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Department of Roads


Grant TitleNDEQ Liaison for Coordination of Water Quality Education Programming in Nebraska (additional funding)
Starting Date11/01/2012


Ending Date09/30/2017
Funding Level$187,560.00
Funding AgencyNebraska Department of Environmental Quality


Grant TitleRole of Forbs and Shrubs in Semi-arid Grasslands of Nebraska Sandhills
Starting Date05/01/2009


Ending Date04/30/2010
Funding Level$30,000.00
Funding AgencyUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln Foundation



Graduate Programs

Master of Applied Science

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Bio-Atmospehric Interactions

Doctorate of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences
including specializations in

  • Bio-Atmospehric Interactions