Kurt Schulz
Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Course Information Research Tidbits & Gossip Contact Information

Course Information
Current Courses

Biology 111, Section 004, 006 (Spring 2007)
 for content, go to Blackboard

Links to journal searches

   JSTOR, available through SIUE Campus network
   SIUE Library journal database
   Transactions of the Illinois Academy of Sciences

Course Archives
Biology 470  (Field Biology 2005)  Syllabus
Biology 490 (Plant-Human Connections)


Invasive Species in Midwestern Forests

Forests in our region are plagued by a number of woody exotic species: Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), periwinkle (Vinca minor), and purple-leaf winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei), to name a few. It is interesting to note that Vinca and Euonymus are evergreen, while L. japonica is semi-evergreen in our climate, and L. maackii (below, right and left) has a very protracted leaf display (early April to hard frost in November). Moderate temperatures (Should we say increasingly moderate temperatures?) during the leafless seasons of early spring and late fall appear to provide photosynthetic opportunities not used by native species. Students in the lab have undertaken an array of projects concerning these species.

Undergraduate Audrey Vaughan and her helpers have explored how the timing of radical pruning in combination with herbicide treatment may be used to kill Amur honeysuckle. This technique promises to be quick, inexpensive and effective.

Students in the new Ecology of Plants course and undergraduate students Audra Hoover and Audrey Vaughan have mapped a series of Amur honeysuckle populations for demographic studies.

See these results at the 2005 Ecological Society of America Meeting, Montreal Canada

New graduate student Gail Hollis will be working on a thesis project examining how Amur honeysuckle invasions affect the populations of predatory birds.

Graduate student Bryan Turner's thesis tests the hypothesis that the early spring and late fall forest "light windows" do 
indeed provide photosynthetic opportunities for Vinca minor (left). The literature is not at all unanimous on this point!  ESA 2004 Meeting abstract.

Undergraduate Research Academy Scholar Amy Rogers is examining how pruning and herbicide treatments
can be used against Euonymus fortunei (right). As a graduate student she will be examine the genetics of two related bush honeysuckles (L. tartarica and L. morrowii) and their hybrid L. X bella.

Ecology of Eastern Leatherwood (Dirca palustris) in the Michigan Upper Peninsula

Eastern leatherwood (left) is an amazing plant! Although this very shade tolerant understory shrub ranges throughout eastern north America, it is particularly abundant under closed sugar maple canopies in Upper Michigan.  Imagine: thriving in the "dungeon of forest understories"! It gets its common name from the very tough bark that surrounds its light, flexuous stems. The plant is quite toxic and has been examined for a number of useful classes of chemicals. White-tailed deer, the plague of the eastern forests, do not eat it.
    The lab has cooperated closely on these projects with Dr. John Zasada (now retired, U.S. Forest Service, Grand Rapids, Minn.) and Dr. Bill Mattson (U.S. Forest Service, Rhinelander, WI). Studies undertaken by lab members have examined a range of issues, from growth responses to in relation to forest harvest, small scale plant distributions, herbiviory, and seed production. Recently, graduate student Travis Burleyson examined herbiviory by Leucanthiza dircella, a specialist leafminer, in response to plant spacing across a 30 km transect in the Ottawa NF, Michigan. We will continue our studies of herbivory in summer 2005 focusing on the demographic consequences of herbivory.

Some abstracts of papers concerning leatherwood presented at meetings:  ESA 2001    ESA 2003    ESA 2004
See our recent paper on the seed production of Dirca palustris: Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society Volume 131 Number 4 2004.
Abstract for podium talk at the 2005 Ecological Society of America Meeting, Montreal Canada

Maple Regeneration Thickets and the Fate of Understory Herbs

In Upper Michigan, canopy openings created naturally or through selective harvest are commonly stocked by dense thickets of sugar maple seedlings. Light levels beneath these thickets are very low, and we assume that underground competition is intense as well. Informal observations suggest that regeneration thickets reduce the diversity and abundance of understory herbs. If this pattern is commonplace, current selective harvest techniques may "bottleneck" the understory over the course of 100 years. In a manuscript currently in preparation we will report on the results of a large scale sample of natural regeneration thickets in the Sylvania Wilderness, Upper Michigan. This work is conducted in collaboration with John Zasada (retired, U.S.F.S.), Tom Crow (U.S.F.S), David Buckley (Univ. Tenn.) and Elizabeth Nauertz (N.P.S.).

ESA 2001 Meeting abstract       ESA 2003 Meeting abstract

Washington University's Tyson Research Area

We are presently getting started on projects in the northeastern Ozarks outside St. Louis, MO. Undergraduate Kyle Lauer completed a preliminary vegetation survey documenting tree seedling recovery after a much needed culling of the Tyson deer herd. Undergraduate Amber Major is examining the woody flora of seeps in the bluffs of this karst region. Graduate student Dan Pettus is working out restoration techniques for Lilium michiganense (right), a species nearly extirpated by deer and perhaps a disrupted fire regime.

Mississippi River Floodplain

After the Great Flood of 1993 the lab began periodic sampling of four forests along the Mississippi River near St. Lois, MO. Graduate student Charlie Deutsch is completing a thesis examining the recovery of two stands in detail. The study specifically addresses the very abnormal hydrology of the region. Headline: Protracted summer floods play havoc with seedling establishment, diminishing the diversity of native woody species to just two, silver maple (Acer saccharinum) and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica).

ESA 2001 Meeting abstract      ESA 2004 Meeting abstract

The water of the Mississippi River contains considerable loads of agricultural chemicals. Some have speculated that the tree kills after the 1993 flood were caused primarily by waterborne agricultural herbicides, not the depth and duration of the flood. Graduate student Marilyn Caldwell is undertaking a project to evaluate fluctuating asymmetry of silver maple seedlings exposed to agricultural herbicides in floodwaters. This common species would be a useful indicator of herbicide contamination throughout its very extensive bottomland habitat range.  To the right is a photograph taken in a floodplain forest near St. Louis, MO.  The understory is carpeted with silver maple seedlings.

200 Pound Squirrel Project

The SIUE Campus features perhaps 1000 acres of old field and degraded forest habitat. The region was colonized fairly early in the 19th Century (St. Louis, MO is 20 miles away), and with this much of the local forest has been high-graded or otherwise mismanaged. In a pilot study, the Schulz lab, in conjunction with faculty Dick Brugam and Bill Retzlaf are attempting to replant the extirpated oak-hickory forest that dominated the region. We call this the 200 Pound Squirrel Project because of its decidedly offbeat approach. Guess which one of us best fits the appellation "200 Pound Squirrel!"


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Tidbits & Gossip

A point of view.

There was never a good war or a bad peace.    

                                                                            --Benjamin Franklin 

There’s no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy.   There is nothing good in war except its ending.

                                                                                                                                                       --Abraham Lincoln

After all that washing, drying, and grinding it would be nice if you could at least smoke that stuff.
                                                                                                    --Graduate student Bryan Turner after a disappointing experimental outcome

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Contact Information

Dr. Kurt Schulz
Dept. of Biological Sciences, Box 1651
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Edwardsville, IL  62026

Voice: 618-650-3005
Fax: 618-650-3174

© Kurt Schulz