Our work is focused on how abiotic and biotic factors shape growth and patterns of vascular plant distribution and abundance, and how this scientific knowledge can be applied to preservation and restoration of plant species. Of particularly interest are population biology, including long-term demographic monitoring, population viability analysis and plant reproductive ecology (variation in seed mass and germination, heterocarpy, breeding systems, pollination biology). Model systems include weedy as well as rare taxa of coastal systems, such as federally listed seabeach amaranth of beaches of the Atlantic coast and Pitcher's thistle, Houghton's goldenrod, Lake Huron tansy (Asteraceae) along the freshwater dunes of the upper Great Lakes with colleagues at USGS, Chicago State University, Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Gardens. Collaboration with other ECU Biology faculty asks how biodiversity of communities is structured by disturbance and nutrients, including the response of plants and their herbivores to mowing and fertilization at ECU West Research Campus. Past research includes GIS applications to rare species management, fatty acid analysis, nectar chemistry, nutrient analyses, seed germination ecology, resource allocation along elevational gradients and forest succession.