Eric Berry researching pollen of wild senna
Eric Berry researching pollen of wild senna

For several years my lab has been focused on the population biology of the rare and endangered wildflower Senna hebecarpa (wild senna). Very little is known about the biology of this species, which is going extinct throughout much of the Northeast. To better assess the species current conservation status my lab has begun documenting the plant's basic reproductive biology, life-history parameters (rates of birth, growth, and death), and population viability. See Directed Research below for recent research findings.

Amherst Country Club Cooperative Audubon Sanctuary

The conservation organization Audubon International manages a cooperative sanctuary program that is designed to help golf courses protect their environment through educational opportunities and a certification program. As part of the certification process, course managers must assess environmental resources and develop an overall environmental plan for the property. My lab has been working to assess plant species composition and abundance along a riparian corridor within the Amherst Country Club in (Amherst, NH). The golf course is a certified cooperative Audubon sanctuary and the riparian vegetation along a river that bisects the course represents the largest natural area on the property. See Directed Research below for recent research findings.

Directed Research Projects

Amherst Country Club Audubon Sanctuary
Amherst Country Club Audubon Sanctuary

Research in my lab is primarily focused on plant ecology and conservation. Students interested in conducting an independent research project are welcome to work with me on the Northern wild senna or the Amherst Country Club Audubon Sanctuary projects described above. Students are also welcome to work on other local plant species that are rare, invasive, or otherwise ecologically important. Examples of recent student research projects from my lab are listed below. For more information on enrolling in directed studies visit the biology department's Directed Research.

Research Publications

  • Cleavitt, N.L, Berry, E.J., Hautaniemi, J, and Fahey, T. J. (2017). Life stages, demographic rates and leaf damage for the round-leaved orchids, Platanthera orbiculata (Pursh.) Lindley and P. macrophylla (Goldie) P.M. Brown in a northern hardwood forest, New Hampshire, USA. Botany. 95:61-71.
  • Berry, E. J. Darnowski, C, & Wheeler, J. (2013) Reproductive biology of northern wild senna (Senna hebecarpa): flowering phenology, fruit set, and a test for inbreeding depression. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society. 140(1): 9-19.
  • Berry, E. J., Gorchov, D. L., & Endress, B. A. (2011). Source-sink population dynamics and sustainable leaf harvest of the understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis. In Liu, J., V. Hull, A. Morzillo, and J. Wiens (editors). Sources, sinks, and sustainability across landscapes. Cambridge University Press.
  • Berry E.J., Gorchov D.L., Endress B.A., and Stevens M.H.H. 2008. Source-sink dynamics within a plant population: the impact of substrate and herbivory on palm demography. Population Ecology. 50:63-77 Population Ecology (PDF/650KB).
  • Berry E. J. & Gorchov D. L. 2006. Female fecundity is dependent on substrate, rather than male abundance, in the wind-pollinated, dioecious understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis. Biotropica. 39:186-194. Biotropica (PDF/200KB).
  • Endress B. A., Gorchov D. L., & Berry E. J. 2006. Sustainability of a non-timber forest product: Effects of alternative leaf harvest practices over six years on yield and demography of the palm Chamaedorea radicalis. Forest Ecology and Management 234:181-191. Forest Ecology and Management (PDF/350KB).
  • Berry E. J. & Gorchov D. L. 2004. Reproductive biology of the dioecious understory palm Chamaedorea radicalis in a Mexican cloud forest: pollination vector, flowering phenology, and female fecundity. Journal of Tropical Ecology 20:1-8. Journal of Tropical Ecology (PDF/900KB).