Lee E. Stanton, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Biology
Director, Black Belt Conservation and Research Institute
Station 7
Bibb Graves 101B
(205) 652-3415
Degrees: Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 2005
M.S., University of South Alabama, 1998
B.S., University of West Alabama, 1993
Employment Date: 2007
Professional Biography:

Although a native Floridian, Lee has always felt at home in Alabama. He grew up on a small rural farm and attended high school in Chipley, Florida before going to what was then called Livingston University for his undergraduate study. Majoring in Biology and Environmental Science, he finished his B.S. in 1993. Towards the end of his undergraduate work, he became interested in coastal ecosystems, specifically intertidal salt and brackish marshes. He began work examining plant-plant interactions in salt marsh communities along the Mississippi Sound while completing a Master of Science degree at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

From there, he moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1998 and began work on his doctoral degree at Louisiana State University. Although he remained interested in coastal plant ecology, he studied the spread and ecology of exotic wetland plant species for his dissertation research. While conducting his own research, Dr. Stanton also assisted with research on dredge spoil material and it effects in re-nourishing deteriorating salt marshes, top-down control of herbivores in controlling salt marsh plant productivity, as well as managing experimental restoration efforts in some of Louisiana’s rapidly deteriorating freshwater floating marshes. He completed his Ph.D. in Oceanography and Coastal Sciences in spring 2005 and accepted a position at LSU as a Post Doctoral Researcher in the Coastal Ecology Institute. In the spring of 2005, Dr. Stanton explored the Pearl River Basin in southeast Louisiana and began collecting baseline data on several freshwater floating marsh communities in that area. In late August that year, the eye-wall of Hurricane Katrina passed over his research sites. Although that area sustained catastrophic damage, the real-time data that were collected from those sites gave an extremely rare glimpse of pre-storm conditions and immediate post-storm effects of those natural areas.

In May 2006, Dr. Stanton took a position as a plant ecologist for a private consulting firm in Ft Myers, Florida. There he managed large-scale wetland restoration efforts for a wetland mitigation bank on what was once agriculture land. In addition to managing an active exotic plant eradication program, he was able to apply his expertise in restoration from the ground up- he directed bulldozers and excavators to obtain correct wetland elevations and helped design replanting plans of wetland plant species that mirrored the resulting hydrology.

When he was offered a position at his Alma Mater, there was virtually no hesitation. He came back to UWA to serve not only as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, but also to serve as the Director of the Black Belt Conservation Research Institute.

In his spare time, Dr. Stanton travels to many different places, most of which with a fly rod in one hand and field guide in the other. He is an avid fly fisher, even constructing his own fly rods and tying his flies. He has fished across much of Canada and most of the western states, not to mention taking advantage of the many opportunities afforded in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, he enjoys scuba diving and spear fishing, sailing, hiking, camping (preferably near water), natural history, and playing acoustic guitar.

Classes usually taught: EN 100, BY 450, EN 440, EN 441
Additional UWA Assignments:

Dr. Stanton also serves as the Director of the Black Belt Research and Conservation Institute, which is a unit of the Center for the Study of the Black Belt

Academic / Research Interests:

Dr. Stanton is fascinated by invasive species (plant and animal) and how they become established. He is also interested in the factors that control their success, how quickly they spread, and how invaders alter natural ecosystem processes and function.

Over the past several decades, the cumulative effects of climate change, rising sea level and an anthropogenic activity has had a tremendous negative impact in the coastal zone. This emphasizes the need for concise research that directly applies to both new development and habitat restoration efforts. The sustainability of coastal wetlands can be enhanced by conducting research a priori and then applied during pre-project planning for new developments as well as enhancing the success of restoration efforts.

His research interests lie primarily in the ecology of these coastal wetland environments. Although most of his experience has centered on wetland plant species, he has also worked with many coastal vertebrate and invertebrate species. Most recently, he focused on the ecology and restoration of freshwater floating marshes in Louisiana and their interaction with an introduced herbivore, the nutria.

Recent Publications:

Pennings, S.C., L.E. Stanton and J.S. Brewer. (2002). Nutrient effects on the composition of salt marsh plant communities along the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States. Estuaries 25(6A):1164-1173.

Silliman, B., J. van de Koppel, M.D. Bertness, L. E. Stanton and I.A. Mendelssohn. (2005). Drought, Snails, and Large-Scale Die-off of Southern U.S. Salt Marshes. Science 310:1803-1806.

Stanton, L.E. 2005. The establishment, expansion and ecosystem effects of Phragmites australis, an invasive species in coastal Louisiana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Louisiana State University. 182pp.

Stanton, L.E. 1998. The relative importance of competition and facilitation between Juncus roemerianus Scheele and Spartina alterniflora Loisel. in coastal Alabama. M.S. Thesis, University of South Alabama. 95pp.

Stanton, L. E., B. Downer, I.A. Mendelssohn, and L. Handley. (submitted to The International Journal of Remote Sensing). Using remote sensing to evaluate the invasion and spread of Phragmites australis in a brackish southwestern Louisiana marsh.

Stanton, L. E., and I.A. Mendelssohn. (in prep). The effects of disturbance and eutrophication on the establishment of Phragmites australis.

Stanton, L. E., and I.A. Mendelssohn. (in prep). The ecosystem effects of Phragmites australis, an invasive clonal plant in southwestern Louisiana.

Stanton, L.E. (in prep). The role of preemption and plant-plant interactions in the zonation of a micro-tidal salt marsh in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

Recent Presentations:

Stanton, L. E. 2005. The establishment, expansion and ecosystem effects of an invasive species in coastal Louisiana. Invited speaker for the National Wetlands Research Center Seminar Series. April 28, 2005. Lafayette, Louisiana.

Stanton, L. E. Fall 2002. Space Invaders: The effects of exotic species on native species, communities, and landscapes. Invited lecture for Conservation Biology 4015. Louisiana State University.

Stanton, L.E. and I.A. Mendelssohn. 2002. A Native Invader: Phragmites australis Expansion in a Brackish Marsh in Southwestern Louisiana. Presented at the Phragmites australis: A Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing? Technical Forum and Workshop at Cumberland County College, Vineland, New Jersey, January 6-9, 2002.

Stanton, L.E. and I.A. Mendelssohn. 2001. The effects of disturbance and eutrophication on the establishment of Phragmites australis. Presented at the 16th Biennial Conference of the Estuarine Research Federation in St. Petersburg, Florida, November 4 – 8, 2001.

Stanton, L.E. and I.A. Mendelssohn. 2000. Phragmites australis population expansion in Southwestern Louisiana. 6th INTECOL meeting. Quebec City, Canada August 6-12, 2000.

Stanton, L.E. and I.A. Mendelssohn. 1999. Spread of common reed (Phragmites australis) in a southwestern Louisiana coastal marsh. Presented at the 15th Biennial Conference of the Estuarine Research Federation in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 25 – 30, 1999.

Other or Additional Information:

Dr. Stanton is a Certified Ecologist through the Ecological Society of America

Honors and Awards
The Joseph Lipsey, Sr. Memorial Scholarship Award for Excellence in Marine Science and Research. Louisiana State University. 2003
Rockefeller State Wildlife Scholarship. 1999, 2000 and 2001
University of South Alabama Graduate Fellowship. 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997
Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Student Research Award for investigation of the relative role of competition and facilitation in structuring salt marsh plant zonation in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. 1996-97
Trustee’s Scholarship, University of West Alabama. 1988.

Honor Societies
Phi Kappa Phi

Membership in Professional Organizations
The Society of Wetland Scientists, the Estuarine Research Federation, The Ecological Society of America