Dr. Burke leads the biotic team, bringing together researchers on pests, weeds and pathogens as well as beneficial organisms.
Ian Burke, weed scientist in Washington State University’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, focueses his work in the project on the effects of climate change on weed species in the region. He has measured adaptability to changes in moisture and temperature by evaluating important plant attributes in several important weed species found in discrete areas throughout the project region. That data contributes to predictions of how specific weed species might adapt to climate change and the region. A member of the WSU faculty since 2006, Burke’s research program is directed at basic aspects of weed biology and ecology with the goal of integrating such information into practical and economical methods of managing weeds in the environment. Currently, his ongoing projects include physiological, biological and ecological studies on prickly lettuce, a common and troublesome weed in crops, range and non-cropland throughout the inland Pacific Northwest. Prickly lettuce is an invasive weed with wind-dispersed seeds that crosses boundaries at multiple scales - from field borders to regional boundaries. It infests Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land and appears to cause significant economic losses in wheat-based cropping systems.