Melissa McCormick Liza McFarland Jay O'Neill Jitka Klimesova Dennis Whigham Ingrid Slette Eric Hazelton
AS PLANT ECOLOGISTS, WE ARE INTERESTED in the broad topic of how plants interact with other plants, with animals, and with the physical environment around them. We also strive to understand how these interactions affect ecological processes at multiple scales.Our efforts are evenly divided between terrestrial and wetland ecosystems, including linkages between them.



Dennis Whigham
Senior Botanist
Smithsonian Environmental
Research Center

PO Box 28
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
Phone: 443-482-2226
Fax: 443-482-2380
Curriculum Vitae



Research Highlights

Joining the lab for the next year is Dr. Yu Zhang, curator of the orchid collection at the Beijing Botanic Gardens and designated an Eric Young Orchid Scholar of the Royal Horticultural Society in the UK. Yu is interested in orchid propagation, primarily the morphological changes of seeds and fungi during the process of germination. Her experience with the Chinese lady’s slipper, Cypripedium macranthos, will support efforts at SI Gardens and US Botanic Garden to develop protocols for growing North American orchid seedlings for conservation and restoration purposes. Yu’s research interests are a great complement to the overall goals of NAOCC.

Hope Brooks, an undergraduate student at Penn State University, returns to monitor populations of two federally threatened species, the Small Whorled Pogonia (Isotria medeoloides) and Swamp Pink (Helonias bullata), in conjunction with the U.S. Military and National Park Service. Her research focuses on understanding how canopy thinning efforts and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi affect I. medeoloides populations. In addition, she is looking at the effects of controlled burns on soil nutrient regimes and forest canopy closure in H. bullata populations.

Eric Hazelton, Ph.D. student at Utah State University, joined the Lab as part of the five-year, $5 million NOAA grant. Eric's focus on this project is the impact of Phragmites australis, an invasive species that threatens the sensitive coastal habitats in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays. His project will include the impact of Phragmites removal on native vegetation and how land use patterns affect the likelihood for restoration success.

     Small Whorled--Big Mission
The Lab has joined forces with the National Park Service and the US Military to evaluate a range of ecological characteristics of Isotria medeoloides (small whorled pogonia) to develop techniques to be used to manage and reintroduce this federally threatened orchid. details

ALIEN ALERT!!! update
Will this Asian invasive earthworm threaten SERC's forest?

Recent Publications

Hazelton, Eric L. G., Mozdzer, Thomas J., Burdick, David, Kettenring, Karin M. and Whigham, Dennis. 2014. Phragmites australis Management in the United States: 40 years of methods and outcomes. AoB Plants, doi:10.1093/aobpla/plu001

Ma, Yini, Filley, Timothy R., Szlavecz, Katalin and McCormick, Melissa K. 2014. Controls on wood and leaf litter incorporation into soil fractions in forests at different successional stages. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 69: 212-222. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2013.10.043

McCormick, Melissa K. and Jacquemyn, Hans. 2014. What constrains the distribution of orchid populations? New Phytologist, 202(2): 392-400. doi:10.1111/nph.12639

Verhoeven, Jos T. A., Laanbroek, Hendrikus J., Rains, Mark C. and Whigham, Dennis F. 2014. Effects of increased summer flooding on nitrogen dynamics in impounded mangroves. Journal of Environmental Management, 139: 217-226.

Whigham, Dennis F., McCormick, Melissa K. and O'Neill, John P. 2014. Ongoing studies of Isotria medeoloides, Small Whorled Pogonia. Native Orchid Conference Journal, 11(4): 6-11.

Yepsen, Metthea, Baldwin, Andrew, Whigham, Dennis, McFarland, Eliza, LaForgia, Marina and Lang, Megan. 2014. Agricultural wetland restorations on the US Atlantic Coastal Plain achieve diverse native wetland communities but differ from natural wetlands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 197:11-20.