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Richard Stalter

Professor
Biological Sciences
Ph.D.

My research interests are in the areas of community ecology, plant biodiversity, the ecology of rare plants, and the ecology of invasive non-native plant species. Most of this research is in coastal areas and in urban environments.

Invasive aggressive alien plant species are common in many floras, especially in urban, city, state and national parks in the northeastern United States. We have done considerable research in this area. Many non-native plant speies, i.e. Ailiaria officinalis, Ailanthus altissima, Aretmisia vulgaris, Celastrus orbiculatus, Lonicera japonica, Lythrum salicaria and Rosa multiflora grow in a variety of habitats and out-compete more desirable native plant species. In studies of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, New York, Sandy Hook, New Hersey, Ellis Island, New York-New Jersey and Statue of Liberty National Monument, the abundance of these aggressive aliens is well documented.

Plant biodiversity in urban areas have been compromised by development, which has modified the natural environment by grading and filling, ocnstruction, pollution from biological and chemical contaminants, and overharvesting or eradication of native plant species. Eradicating alien plants may be helpful in stabilizing plant communities and enhancing species diversity. Habitat creation and maintenance and preservation is important in maintaining populations of rare plants, and enhancing species diversity. Preservation of special habitats is also important in maintaining species diversity and maintaining populations of rare plants. Natural events such as community development (pland succession) modifies the environment, making the habitat unsuitable for rare plants.