Biogeography, Community Ecology, Conservation, Floristics, Natural History, and Species Invasions
In the Marsico lab we are interested in the causes and consequences of ecological community assembly, species invasions, and how species can be conserved in a world undergoing rapid environmental change. We focus on how evolutionary history impacts the ecological interactions of native and introduced organisms. We make and utilize plant collections and deposited vouchers in specimen-based research to answer questions about biodiversity patterns along environmental gradients and invasion, with a goal of improving conservation priorities and land management strategies. Specific research projects include understanding diversity patterns in vascular plant communities on Mississippi River islands, phenological shifts in flowering due to flooding on river islands, understanding floristic quality for making effective conservation and land preservation decisions, and risk assessment for federal noxious weeds at international seaports and herbivorous insects in forest ecosystems. Previous research has focused on plant defense ecology and secondary defense compounds elicited by moth herbivory, causes and consequences of Chinese privet invasion in riparian areas, impacts of water quality and land use on swamp diatom communities, and digitization of natural history collections to make available important resources for the study of evolutionary and ecological questions. Please see more details regarding research on the "publications" and "people" pages.