Research Scientist

Director of Research and Environmental Design for the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Mark Simmons, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Environmental Design for the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin. He graduated from University of Cape Town, South Africa with a M.Sc. in Botany, and received his Ecology Ph.D. from Texas A&M University.

His research and environmental design projects focus on creating and rebuilding landscapes and urban green infrastructure to improve ecosystem services. Scientific research projects include: green roofs, green walls, roadside revegetation, prescribed fire, native turfgrass, urban prairies, and urban storm-water management. He works with multidisciplinary design teams for local and national clients including private developers, city and state authorities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and the National Park Service.

Projects include: George W. Bush Presidential Center; San Antonio River Mission Reach Restoration; The University of Texas at Austin Landscape Master plan; and numerous mixed-use, sustainable urban developments, highway improvement projects and restoration of urban prairies. He teaches university and professional courses on ecological landscape design and sits on several technical committees including the Landscape Architecture Foundation and the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™).

Recent national and international lectures on ecological design include: The World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012; Society for Urban Ecology, Berlin 2013; International Turf Growers Conference San Antonio 2013, Canadian Society of Landscape Architects Congress Ottawa 2014, a TEDx talk in November 2013, and more recently the speaker for the 2014 Oskar von Miller Forum Lecture in Munich, Germany.


Selected Publications
Simmons M T. (2015). Climates and Microclimates: Challenges for Extensive Green Roof Design in Hot Climates. In: Green Roof Ecosystems (R. Sutton Ed.). Springer International.

Sayre, N, R Kelty, M Simmons, S Clayton, K A Kassam, S T A Pickett, and F S  Chapin. (2013) Invitation to Earth stewardship. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:7 339

Steiner, F, M T Simmons, M Gallagher, J Ranganathan and C Robertson. (2013) The ecological imperative for environmental design and planning. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11:7 355-361

Blue, J,  M T Simmons and S Windhager. (2012) Vegetation (book chapter). In: The Sustainable Sites Handbook. (Meg Calkins ed.) John Wiley & Sons.

Simmons M T, M Bertelsen, S Windhager and H Zafian. (2011) The performance of native and non-native turfgrass monocultures and native turfgrass polycultures: an ecological approach to sustainable lawns. Ecological Engineering 37 1095-1103

Windhager S, F Steiner, M T Simmons, and D Heymann. (2010) Performance based site design: Incorporating ecosystem services as explicit design goals. Landscape Journal. 29: 107-123.

Fowler N L, and M T Simmons. (2009). Savanna dynamics in central Texas: just succession?  Applied Vegetation Science 12 23-31

Sustainable Sites Initiative. (2009). The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. Available at

Simmons, M T, B Gardiner, M J Tinsley, and S Windhager. (2008). Green roofs are not created equal: the hydrologic and thermal performance of six different extensive green roofs and reflective and non-reflective roofs in a sub-tropical climate.  Urban Ecosystems. 11 339-448 Special Issue on Green Roofs

Simmons, M T, S Windhager, P Power, J Lott, and R Lyons. (2007). The response of Old World bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) to mowing, burning, herbicide at two sites in Central Texas.  Proceedings of the 23rd Tall Timbers Fire Conference. Tallahassee. Florida
Simmons, M T, S Windhager, P Power, J Lott, R Lyons, and C Schwope (2007). Selective and non-selective control of invasive plants: The effects of growing-season prescribed fire, herbicide, and mowing in two invaded Texas prairies. Restoration Ecology 15 662-669 

Simmons, M T, H L Venhaus, and S Windhager. (2007). Exploiting regional ecology for urban landscape design: Applying restoration principles to urban ecological engineering. Ecological Engineering. 30 201-205

Simmons, M T, S R Archer, W R Teague, and R J Ansley. (2007)  Grass effects on tree (Prosopis glandulosa) growth in a temperate savanna. Journal of Arid Environments 69 212-227 

Tinsley, M J, M T Simmons, and S Windhager. (2006). The establishment success of native versus non-native herbaceous seed mixes on a revegetated roadside in Central Texas. Ecological Engineering 26 231-240

Simmons M T (2005).  Bullying the bullies: The selective control of an exotic, invasive, annual (Rapistrum rugosum.) by over-sowing with a competitive native species (Gaillardia pulchella).  Restoration Ecology 13 609-615. Featured on National Public Radio (U.S.).

photo of Mark Simmons
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