Ecology and Conservation


Several faculty collaborate to understand how the fundamental behavior, ecology, and evolution of organisms is affected by stressors from the environment. Much of our research is focused on human-induced stressors and how animal and plant populations cope with this rapid change. Our projects range from large scale studies of bird populations to the biogeochemical effects of invasive plant species. Faculty involved in this area include:

  • Randy Chambers works with students to examine environmental conditions influencing plant distribution and growth in wetland ecosystems of Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Everglades.
  • Dan Cristol is working with several graduate and undergraduate researchers to elucidate the consequences of mercury contamination on terrestrial food webs associated with the Shenandoah river.
  • Matthias Leu is assessing the human footprint in North America and its effect on numerous ecological and physical processes.
  • Rowan Lockwood focuses on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of extinctions in the fossil record.
  • Jim Perry studies the functioning and community structure of remediated and natural wetlands.
  • John Swaddle is collaborating with undergraduate and graduate students to understand how local bird populations cope with human noise/disturbance and changes in land use.