Natural Area Botanist
Natural Area Consultants
I am a biologist with Natural Area Consultants (Richford, NY), specializing in protection, management, and monitoring of plants in natural areas, with an emphasis on invasive species and their impacts on native plant community structure. I originally founded the company in 1979 in Illinois, where I worked with public and private agencies to identify impacts to and guide management of natural areas, and to monitor effectiveness of management activities. In 1998 I moved to upstate New York, where I continue to conduct research on impacts to natural areas, particularly those associated with invasive plant species.
Most impacts to natural areas are anthropogenic in origin, including non-indigenous species, trampling, high deer populations, and altered disturbance regimes. I use both short- and long-term monitoring to quantify and assess how these impacts may affect plant community structure and composition. Among the projects I have conducted are (1) impacts of deer herbivory on native plant species at Fermilab, IL; (2) impacts of rock climbing on cliff vegetation; (3) use of fire and herbicide treatment for management of invasive plants (garlic mustard, bush honeysuckles); (4) population stucture and habitat of a rare winter annual; (5) restoration of native prairies in the Midwest; and (6) development of management plans for natural areas.
I have conducted research on garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) for over 15 years, documenting spread, impact on native flora and fauna, and effectiveness of control methods. My current association with the Ecology and Management of Invasive Plants program at Cornell University involves vegetation assessment and analysis as a member of multidisciplinary teams assessing effects of invasive plant species on native species and food webs in the northeastern United States. I am also involved in the development of monitoring protocols for targets of biological control, and patterns of recovery following control of invasive plants.
Impact of invasive plants on bluebird and tree swallow nesting success at Ft. Drum, NY. We have evaluated how the presence of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and of spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculata) may affect breeding success of two bird species. As part of this project we also evaluated the food supply (insect invertebrates) that make up the majority of the diet of adult and nestlings. Impact of non-indigenous plant invasions (garlic mustard, Japanese stiltgrass, and Japanese barberry) on woodland salamander fitness and abundance. Impact of white-tailed deer herbivory on forest vegetation. Research contracted at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia, Illinois (1992 - 2003), funded by the US Department of Energy. Assessing the success of wetland restoration following biological control of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Development of monitoring protocols for garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata).