Research Interests and Collaborations

In the realm of natural sciences, I am a plant ecologist and a wetland ecologist. My work focuses on what long-term monitoring can tell us about the stability of wetland communities, along with a more recent emphasis on invasive species (both European buckthorn, which has invaded the woods on campus, and Reed Canary Grass in the wetlands I study.

In the realm of teaching, effective science pedagogy is my prime scholarly interest. This has led me to change what I am doing in the class room, analyze our approach to the laboratory in General Biology and design a support course for under-prepared and at-risk students in General Biology. 


Ecological Research

I have maintained several field research projects at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, located in northern Anoka and southern Isanti Counties, Minnesota. One project involves monitoring vegetation and water levels in permanent plots (177 of them!) set up in 1988 in 15 wetlands at Cedar Creek. The data have been used to characterize the vegetation in non-wooded wetlands at Cedar Creek and serve as a baseline for monitoring long-term change in wetland size, species composition and water levels.

The continuation of annual monitoring of these plots provides a unique opportunity to record yearly variation along with long-term change. Most ecological studies run for a few years to up to 5 years. A continuous data set over this length of time is rare and it is made even more remarkable by the fact that one person has been involved in the data collection over 20 years.



 Pitcher Plant

Student Research

Ecology Field Trip 2009

Collaborative Research Projects with Students

Genetic composition of Phalaris arundinacea at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve, Minnesota. (2010 - Student Collaborator: Renee Sigtermans)

Effect of Early Growing Season on the Competitive Ability of Phalaris arundinacea (2010 - Student Collaborator: Nadine Sigtermans)

Competition between an invasive grass, Phalaris arundinacea, and a Minnesota native, Calamagrostis canadensis, under varying nutrient conditions (2009 - Student Collaborator: Claire Hafdahl)

Patterns in distribution and abundance of reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) in undisturbed wetlands at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota. (2007 - Student Collaborator: Carly Faber Miyamoto)

The Effect of Vegetation Type on Bird Populations on the CSC Campus: Potential Impacts of European Buckthorn Removal on Bird Usage of the Woods (2004 - Student Collaborator: Rose Stenglein)

Diversity and Stability in Cedar Creek Wetlands. (2002 - Student Collaborator: John Nichols, Cedar Creek REU)

Soil-Plant Interactions – An Investigation into the Interactions Among European Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Soil Characteristics, and Forest Understory in the St. Kate's Woods (2001 - Student Collaborators Kari Schutz and Amanda Steward)

Environmental Assessment of the St. Kate's Woods (2000 - Student Collaborators: Kim Shane and Kris Wicken)

A Study of the Trends in Wetland Vegetation and Soil / Water Characteristics at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area. (1998 - Student Collaborator: Lucinda Hodgson)

Investigating environmental factors influencing wetland plant species distributions and plant community dynamics a the Cedar Creek Natural History Area (1995 - Student Collaborators: Barb Crossett-Hadacek and Shannon Pinc)



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