You are here

Anna W. Schoettle

Plant Ecophysiologist

Research Plant Ecophysiologist

240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Anna W. Schoettle

Current Research

1. Physiological response of high elevation pines to multiple stresses and implications on population resiliency in a changing climate.2. Ecological genetics of Pinus aristata: geographic patterns in population structure and adaptive traits.3. Development of a population genetic infection model for high elevation five-needle pines to evaluate efficacy of management strategies to sustain pine population in the presence of a non-native pathogen..4. Identification and characterization of white pine blister rust disease resistance mechanisms and frequencies in Pinus flexilis, P. aristata and P. longaeva.5. Regeneration and colonization dynamics of high elevation five-needle pines. 6. Ecological and economic trade-offs of proactive vs reactive management strategies in high elevation pine ecosystems impacted or threatened by an invasive non-native disease (white pine blister rust)7. Development of management strategies to sustain ecosystem function under multiple stresses.

Research Interests

My research interests are to continue to provide a solid scientific foundation for proactive management to facilitate a shift from crisis management of natural resources to proactive management for sustained ecosystem function and resiliency. I want to continue to use an integrated interdisciplinary approach to further the scientific knowledge and inform land managers.

Past Research

Our natural ecosystems are being challenged by new and interactive stresses more and more as we move into a global economy and continue to transport organisms into new ecosystems, pollute the atmosphere and alter land use. The old paradigm of crisis management in which no action is taken until ecosystems are impaired and then restoration efforts are initiated will not ensure ecosystems sustainability into the future under multiple novel stresses. There is a need for development of new management approaches that provide early intervention to increase ecosystem resiliency before ecosystem function is compromised. A small investmnet now to increase ecosystem resiliency will save funds later and sustain delivery of ecosystem services. The high elevation pine ecosystems are a perfect system to promote this change in management approach because these ecosystems are already showing impacts of non-native invasives, elevated insect outbreaks caused by climate warming and direct growth effects from global changes in the physical and chemical climate. There are still ecosystems that have not been impacted heavily and therefore opportunity to alter the trajectory of those healthy but threatened ecosystems to one that retain sustainability in the future. We know from our research that people value and are willing to pay to see that the high elevation pines persist on the landscape for future generations of people.

Why This Research is Important

1. Participated in some of the first studies that quantified the effects of air pollution on tree and crop growth and physiology and contributed to refinement of predicting impacts from pollutant uptake rather than pollutant exposure. Applied this prospective to predict pollutant loadings that could impact plants in Class 1 Wilderness areas for use in evaluation of permits for new pollutant sources. 2. Quantifies the ecological significance of variable leaf longevity on tree carbon gain and demonstrated the interactions of physiological traits, light capture and crown architecture.3. Quantified the effects of environmental gradients on plant physiological traits among species with different ecological amplitudes to assess adaptive significance.4. Quantified the spatial pattern of colonization of large stand replacing burns in P. ponderosa, P. flexilis, P. albicaulis. and P. aristata ecosystems. Characterizes the preferred regeneration sites for each species.


  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, B.S., Biology - botany and biochemistry, 1978
  • Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, M.S., Seed physiology and crop science, 1982
  • University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, Ph.D., Botany - ecophysiology and biophysics, 1990
  • Professional Experience

    Research Plant Ecophysiologist, USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station
    1985 to present

    Research Specialist, The Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research
    1982 to 1984

    Professional Organizations

    • IUFRO Working Group 2.02.15 Genetic Resources of Five-Needle Pines, Deputy Coordinator ( 2012 to present )
      Host and co-organizer of the Joint International IUFRO Conference: Genetics of Five-Needle Pines, Rusts of Forest Trees, and Strobusphere. June, 2014. Fort Collins, CO
    • Ecological Society of America, Secretary - Rocky Mountain Chapter ( 2002 to 2009 )


    Science in the Media Award - RMRS, 2015
    National Forest Systems 2011 Invasive Species Award Winner for Innovative Control and Management., 2012
    For her leadership of a program to integrate research, strategic planning, &management activities to sustain Rocky Mtn bristlecone & limber pine populations & mitigate the impact of invasion by the invasive pathogen that causes the white pine blister rust
    Nominated for "Best National Invasives Success Story, Disease Category" by Region 2 FHP, 2006
    FHP for development and application of the Proactive Strategy in the Rocky Mountain Region at USFS Nat l Conference on Invasive Species. Denver CO. June, 2006.
    Certificate of Merit - RMRS, 2006
    outstanding efforts to facilitate the serious consideration of common shared function space in the Prospect new laboratory design from Lab Coordinator RMRS. Shared space concept was adopted as the foundation of the new Fort Collins lab design.
    Certificate of Merit - RMRS, 2004
    RMRS, for participating in the Region 2 Chief s Review and representing Rocky Mountain Research Station programs
    Certificate of Merit - RMRS, 1999
    RMRS, for extra effort in synthesizing the impacts of human-caused air pollution on resources within the Interior Columbia River Basin
    Best Scientific Publication Award - RMRS, 1999
    For the publication Interrelationships among light, photosynthesis and nitrogen in the crown of mature Pinus contorta ssp. latifolia. Tree Physiology 19:13-22
    Certificate of Merit - RMRS, 1995
    RM Forest & Range Experiment Station, for your efforts to bring to fruition the vision of a multicultural organization within the Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station
    Certificate of Merit - RMRS, 1988
    RM Forest and Range Experimental Station, for "development of a screening method to identify vegetation sensitive to air pollution"
    Sigma Xi, for research achievements, 1987
    Elected to full membership
    Cornell University Honor Society, 1978
    Top 5% of the graduating class

    Featured Publications


    Liu, Jun-Jun; Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Yao, Fupan; Zamany, Arezoo; Williams, Holly; Rancourt, Benjamin, 2019. Limber pine (Pinus flexilis James) genetic map constructed by exome-seq provides insight into the evolution of disease resistance and a genomic resource for genomics-based breeding
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly S.; Cleaver, Christy M.; Connor, J. Jeff, 2019. Proactive limber pine conservation strategy for the Greater Rocky Mountain National Park Area
    Menon, Mitra; Landguth, Erin; Leal‐Saenz, Alejandro; Bagley, Justin C.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Wehenkel, Christian; Flores‐Renteria, Lluvia; Cushman, Samuel A.; Waring, Kristen M.; Eckert, Andrew J., 2019. Tracing the footprints of a moving hybrid zone under a demographic history of speciation with gene flow
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, R. A.; Kegley, A.; Burns, K. S., 2018. Genetic resistance to Cronartium ribicola in limber pine (Pinus flexilis)
    Bennett, Patrick; Hill, Jerry; Savin, Douglas P.; Kegley, Angelia; Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Bird, Ben; Stone, Jeffrey, 2018. Genetic variation in stomate densities and needle traits in a rangewide sampling of whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, R. A.; Kegley, A.; Burns, K. S., 2018. Patterns of resistance to Cronartium ribicola in Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine (Pinus aristata)
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly S.; Jacobi, William; Popp, John; Alberts, Sara; Douville, Tim; Romaro, Frank, 2018. Southern Rockies rust resistance trial
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Goodrich, Betsy; Klutsch, Jen; Burns, Kelly, 2018. White pine blister rust confirmed on limber pine (Pinus flexilis) in Rocky Mountain National Park
    Allenstein, Pam; DeWoody, Jennifer; Gwaze, David; Hipkins, Valerie; Man, Gary; Schoettle, Anna W.; Shaw, Kirsty; Westwood, Murphy., 2017. Improving genetic conservation of tree species
    Miller, Sue; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly; Sniezko, Richard; Champ, Patricia A., 2017. Preempting the pathogen: Blister rust and proactive management of high-elevation pines
    Menon, Mitra; Bagley, Justin C.; Friedline, Christopher J.; Whipple, Amy V.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Leal-Saenz, Alejandro; Wehenkel, Christian; Molina-Freaner, Francisco; Flores-Renteria, Lluvia; Gonzalez-Elizondo, M. Socorro; Sniezko, Richard A.; Cushman, Samuel A.; Waring, Kristen M.; Eckert, Andrew J., 2017. The role of hybridization during ecological divergence of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) and limber pine (P. flexilis)
    Liu, Jun-Jun; Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Sturrock, Rona N.; Zamany, Arezoo; Williams, Holly; Ha, Amanda; Chan, Danelle; Danchok, Bob; Savin, Douglas P.; Kegley, Angelia, 2016. Genetic mapping of Pinus flexilis major gene (Cr4) for resistance to white pine blister rust using transcriptome-based SNP genotyping
    Casper, A. M. A.; Jacobi, W. R.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, K. S., 2016. Restoration planting options for limber pine (Pinus flexilis James) in the Southern Rocky Mountains
    Cleaver, Christy M.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly S.; Connor, J. Jeff, 2015. Limber pine conservation strategy: Recommendations for Rocky Mountain National Park
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Connor, Jeff; Mack, John; Pineda Bovin, Phyllis; Beck, Jen; Baker, Gretchen; Sniezko, R. A.; Burns, K. S., 2014. Establishing the science foundation to sustain high-elevation five-needle pine forests threatened by novel interacting stresses in four western National Parks [Proceedings]
    Borgman, Erin M.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Angert, Amy L., 2014. Using among-year variation to assess maternal effects in Pinus aristata and Pinus flexilis
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Connor, J.; Mack, J.; Pineda Bovin, P.; Beck, J.; Baker, G. M.; Sniezko, R. A.; Burns, K. S., 2013. Establishing the science foundation to sustain high-elevation five-needle pine forests threatened by novel interacting stresses in four western National Parks
    Connor, Jeff; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly; Borgman, Erin, 2012. Limber pine conservation in Rocky Mountain National Park
    Burns, Kelly; Blodgett, Jim; Jackson, Marcus; Howell, Brian; Jacobi, William; Schoettle, Anna W.; Casper, Anne Marie; Klutsch, Jennifer, 2012. Monitoring limber pine health in the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota
    Sweeney, Katarina; Stone, Jeffrey; Cook, Kathy; Sniezko, Richard A.; Kegley, Angelia; Schoettle, Anna W., 2012. Needle reactions in resistance to Cronartium ribicola: Hypersensitivity response or not?
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, R. A.; Kegley, A.; Danchok, R.; Burns, K. S., 2012. Patterns of resistance to Cronartium ribicola in Pinus aristata, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine
    Bower, Andrew D.; McLane, Sierra C.; Eckert, Andrew; Jorgensen, Stacy; Schoettle, Anna W.; Aitken, Sally, 2011. Conservation genetics of high elevation five-needle white pines
    Campbell, Elizabeth M.; Keane II, Robert E.; Larson, Evan R.; Murray, Michael P.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Wong, Carmen, 2011. Disturbance ecology of high-elevation five-needle pine ecosystems in western North America
    Sniezko, Richard A.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Dunlap, Joan; Vogler, Detlev; Conklin, David; Bower, Andrew; Jensen, Chris; Mangold, Rob; Daoust, Doug; Man, Gary, 2011. Ex Situ gene conservation in high elevation white pine species in the United States-a beginning
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Goodrich, Betsy A.; Hipkins, Valerie; Richards, Christopher; Kray, Julie, 2011. Geographic patterns of genetic variation, population structure and adaptive traits in Pinus aristata, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Laskowski, Michele, 2011. High elevation white pines educational website
    Bond, Craig A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James; Schoettle, Anna W., 2011. Investigating the optimality of proactive management of an invasive forest pest
    Klutsch, Jennifer G.; Goodrich, Betsy A.; Schoettle, Anna W., 2011. Limber pine forests on the leading edge of white pine blister rust distribution in Northern Colorado
    Burns, Kelly; Blodgett, Jim; Jackson, Marcus; Howell, Brian; Jacobi, William; Schoettle, Anna W.; Casper, Anne Marie; Klutsch, Jennifer, 2011. Monitoring limber pine health in the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota
    Hendricks, Sam; Sutton, Wendy; Stone, Jeffrey; Sniezko, Richard; Kegley, Angelia; Schoettle, Anna W., 2011. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) applications in white pine blister rust resistance screening
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Kegley, Angelia; Burns, Kelly S., 2011. Preliminary overview of the first extensive rust resistance screening tests of Pinus flexilis and Pinus aristata
    Tomback, Diana F.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Perez, Mario J.; Grompone, Kristen M.; Mellmann-Brown, Sabine, 2011. Regeneration and survival of whitebark pine after the 1988 Yellowstone fires
    Casper, Anne Marie; Jacobi, William R.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly S., 2011. Restoration planting options for limber pines in Colorado and Wyoming
    Casper, Anne Marie; Jacobi, William R.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly S., 2011. Restoration planting options for limber pines in the southern Rocky Mountains
    Tomback, Diana F.; Samano, Sheridan; Pruett, Elizabeth L.; Schoettle, Anna W., 2011. Seed dispersal in limber and southwestern white pine: Comparing core and peripheral populations
    Tomback, Diana F.; Achuff, Peter; Schoettle, Anna W.; Schwandt, John W.; Mastrogiuseppe, Ron J., 2011. The magnificent high-elevation five-needle white pines: Ecological roles and future outlook
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Goodrich, B. A.; Klutsch, J. G.; Burns, K. S.; Costello, S.; Sniezko, R. A., 2011. The proactive strategy for sustaining five-needle pine populations: An example of its implementation in the southern Rocky Mountains
    Blodgett, James T.; Burns, Kelly S.; Howell, Brian; Jackson, Marcus; Jacobi, William R.; Schoettle, Anna W., 2010. Limber pine health survey in the Rocky Mountains and North Dakota
    Bond, Craig A.; Champ, Patricia A.; Meldrum, James; Schoettle, Anna W., 2010. Proactive or reactive? Optimal management of an invasive forest pest in a spatial framework
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Kegley, Angelia; Hill, Jerry; Burns, Kelly S., 2010. Resistance to white pine blister rust in Pinus flexilis and P
    Burns, Kelly; Blodgett, Jim; Conklin, Dave; Geils, Brian; Hoffman, Jim; Jackson, Marcus; Jacobi, William; Kearns, Holly; Schoettle, Anna W., 2010. White pine blister rust in the interior Mountain West
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, Kelly; Costello, Sheryl; Witcosky, Jeff; Howell, Brian; Connor, Jeff, 2008. A race against beetles: Conservation of limber pine
    Burns, Kelly S.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Jacobi, William R.; Mahalovich, Mary F., 2008. Options for the management of white pine blister rust in the Rocky Mountain Region
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Sniezko, Richard A.; Burns, Kelly S.; Floyd, Freeman, 2007. Preparing the landscape for invasion - Early intervention approaches for threatened high elevation white pine ecosystems
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Burns, K. S.; Freeman, F.; Sniezko, R. A., 2006. Threats, status & management options for bristlecone pines and limber pines in Southern Rockies
    Tomback, Diana F.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Chevalier, Kristen E.; Jones, Cheri A., 2005. Life on the edge for limber pine: Seed dispersal within a peripheral population
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Negron, Jose, 2001. First report of two cone and seed insects on Pinus flexilis
    Schauer, Andrew J.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Boyce, Richard L., 2001. Partial cambial mortality in high-elevation Pinus aristata (Pinaceae)
    Negron, Jose; Shepperd, Wayne A.; Mata, Steve A.; ; Asherin, Lance A.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Schmid, John M.; Leatherman, David A., 2001. Solar treatments for reducing survival of mountain pine beetle in infested ponderosa and lodgepole pine logs
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Tonnessen, Kathy; Turk, John; Vimont, John; Amundson, Robert [authors]; Acheson, Ann; Peterson, Janice [tech. eds.], 1999. An assessment of the effects of human-caused air pollution on resources within the interior Columbia River basin.
    Moir, W. H.; Rochelle, Shannon G.; Schoettle, Anna W., 1999. Microscale patterns of tree establishment near upper treeline, Snowy Range, Wyoming, USA
    Schoettle, Anna W.; Moir, William, 1998. Terrestrial ecosystems [Chapter 4]
    Musselman, Robert (Bob) C.; Fox, D. G; Schoettle, Anna W.; Regan, C. M., 1994. Introduction [Chapter 1]
    Monson, Russell K.; Grant, Michael C.; Jaeger, Charles H.; Schoettle, Anna W., 1992. Morphological causes for the retention of precipitation in the crowns of alpine plants
    Fox, Douglas G.; Schoettle, Anna W.; Vertucci, Frank A., 1987. Glacier Lakes Ecosystem Experiment Site: an "Experimental" wilderness
    The photo shows a young long-needled pine tree less than a foot tall growing next to a wooden marker with the number 6 on it.
    The Regeneration for Resilience (R4R) framework provides a decision structure to prioritize limited resources and utilize seedling planting and natural regeneration management to offer the best likelihood of success in positioning stands and landscapes to support resilience self-sustaining tree populations that are threatened by invasive pests. Effective management of forest regeneration dynamics can increase forest resilience and adaptive capacity to mitigate impacts of invasive species.
    Tree planting after a wildfire on the Boise National Forest
    The number of global initiatives for forest restoration, and the scope of these initiatives, continues to increase. An important tool for meeting objectives of these global initiatives is reforestation, achieved by natural processes or by tree planting. Worldwide, organizations are challenged to most efficiently and effectively direct resources to the most critical reforestation needs. Currently in the United States, the reforestation efforts of the USDA Forest Service, are challenged by changes in policy, funding, climate change, and mega-fires, to name a few, and identifying strategies for timely successful reforestation at scale is needed.
    Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines are long-lived, exhibit delayed maturation, have low genetic diversity, and inhabit cold, high-elevation environments. They are threatened by the non-native disease white pine blister rust, warming temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and altered disturbance regimes. Sustaining bristlecone pine populations is essential to (1) maintain healthy mountain-top ecosystems and (2) ensure that the young bristlecone pine trees of today and tomorrow have the opportunity to achieve great age with picturesque gnarled trunks and wind-swept canopies for future generations to experience and enjoy.  
    A sporulating white pine blister rust canker from a recent infection on a branch of a susceptible limber pine (photo by Anna W. Schoettle).
    Active management is needed to sustain healthy limber pine (Pinus flexilis) forests in the southern Rocky Mountains as they are threatened by the interaction of the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) epidemic, climate change, and the spread of the non-native pathogen that causes white pine blister rust disease (Cronartium ribicola). Movement of seedlings with disease resistance from northern to southern Colorado may result in planting failure. Identification of genotypes resistant to white pine blister rust in the southern Rockies is needed at the finer scale of a national forest scale rather than the region.       
    Planting limber pine seedlings near objects, such as this rock, increases successful seedling establishment and survival.
    Successful restoration planting of limber pine is essential to sustain healthy populations in the wake of native insect outbreaks (mountain pine beetle) and the spread of a non-native lethal disease (white pine blister rust). Planting guidelines are needed to facilitate the effective introduction of seedling genotypes resistance to white pine blister rust and adapted to future climates.   
    World–wide experts in genetics and genomics of five-needle pines and rusts of forest trees convened in Fort Collins, Colorado, for their first joint conference to share cutting edge methods and emerging technologies to sustain healthy forest ecosystems.   
    Interagency collaboration between the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service has resulted in the development of programs to conserve and promote self-sustaining five-needle pine ecosystems in the presence of white pine blister rust using available tools and methods that are compatible with land use designations.
    White pine blister rust canker
    Limber pine (Pinus flexilis) is being threatened by the lethal disease white pine blister rust, expanding bark beetle pressure, and climate change in mountain environments. Scientists have identified an exciting disease-free trait in limber pine consistent with inheritance by a single dominate gene.
    Both southwestern white pine and limber pine are threatened by the non-native pathogen Cronartium ribicola that causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust. Identifying genetic resistance to white pine blister rust in the pines and planting seedlings with those resistance traits are critical components of proactive and restoration strategies to conserve and sustain the species.
    In order to evaluate bristlecone pine's potential vulnerability to climate shifts, we defined the suitable climate space for each of the four genetic lineages of bristlecone pine and other subalpine tree species in close proximity to bristlecone forests. 
    The Regeneration for Resilience (R4R) framework provides a decision structure to prioritize limited resources to manage and increase the resilience of pine stands against the risk of extirpation by white pine blister rust. Effective management of forest regeneration dynamics can increase forest resilience and adaptive capacity to mitigate impacts of invasive species.
    Limber pine is threatened by climate change, white pine blister, dwarf mistletoe, and mountain pine beetle. Scientists have planted limber pine in two contrasting environments to assess adaptive trait variation and plasticity, as well as climate interactions. Research such as the International Limber Pine Provenance Study (ILPPS) will support proactive managment to keep limber pine populations sustainable and prevent limber pine from following the same trajectory as whitebark pine.
    The Southern Rockies Rust Resistance Trial (SRRRT) was initiated in 2013 to verify the stability of genetic resistance to white pine blister rust identified during artificial screening tests for limber and Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines conducted in collaboration with Dorena Genetic Resource Center (Cottage Grove, OR). Over 700 seedlings were outplanted in the fall 2013 and another 700 seedlings in spring 2014. White pine blister rust is common in the forests in and around the SRRRT site providing a natural source of inoculum to the seedlings. The seedlings will be periodically assessed for signs and symptoms of white pine blister rust over the next 10 years – disease symptoms were first noted in 2016.
    Forest surveys alone cannot predict species vulnerability as they cannot determine if the remaining healthy trees are at risk for disease or if they have heritable genetic resistance to support future populations. This project takes range-wide common garden (198 families) and artificial inoculation with Cronartium ribicola (causal agent of white pine blister rust) in order to better undertand host population vulnerability and sustainability.
    Spatial and temporal conifer regeneration dynamics for silvicultural prescriptions.
    White pine blister rust (WPBR) is a lethal disease threatening five-needle pine species in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Through the use of mechanistic models, we are developing mitigation and prevention strategies.
    RMRS and partners have developed a strategy to sustain healthy high elevation pine populations and mitigate the impact of invasion by the non-native pathogen that causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust. This approach provides the science foundation for proactive management.