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Dr. Frank Gilliam


After 28 years at Marshall University in Huntington, WV, primarily teaching courses in ecology and plant ecology, Frank Gilliam is now a professor with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. His research interests can be described best as broad-based within the general area of plant ecology, as may be seen in my publication record, with papers published in over 40 different journals. Most of what he does lies at the boundary between the levels of terrestrial plant communities and ecosystems. Gilliam particularly is interested in the movement and cycling of plant nutrients within terrestrial ecosystems. Directly related to this are interests in fire ecology and the effects of fire on nutrient cycling and on plants and soils in fire-prone ecosystems. Also related to his ecosystem approach to ecological research is an interest in atmospheric deposition and precipitation chemistry. This interest has led to the study of pollutant conditions (acid deposition and ozone) in forested areas.

Gilliam's interests at the level of the plant community are focused predominantly on forest community ecology. He's particularly interested in secondary succession and the species dynamics of the herbaceous layer of forests, as well as the variety of biotic and abiotic factors that influence species composition and change within this vegetation stratum. His future research plans reflect extensions of previous work in the following three areas: (1) vegetation dynamics in forest ecosystems, (2) nitrogen dynamics of forest ecosystems, and (3) species composition and stand structure in old-growth longleaf pine forests.

Degrees & Institutions

Ph.D., Duke University, 1983
B.S., Vanderbilt University, 1976

Special Interests

Outside of his professional interests in science, biology in general and plant ecology in particular, Gilliam is interested in several enjoyable activities, including tennis, wine, basketball, reading, and photography.