In a Literal Sense
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My dissertation research concerns invasive plant species in the context of human activities in the urban landscape. The basic questions I ask are ‘how do invasive plants change ecological communities?’ and ‘how are they able to do so?’. This photograph was taken with a Nikon D-60 SLR camera by my research assistant, Hannah Findlay, who is a UIC undergraduate. It was taken at Cranberry Slough, in Palos Park, IL, which is an Illinois Nature Preserve, and a high quality natural area. My advisor and UIC professor, Dennis Nyberg, is steward at Cranberry Slough, and he organizes ecological restoration workdays in which a major activity is the removal of invasive species such as this Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) tree. My research has documented how species like Honeysuckle decrease the abundance of native plant species in high quality natural areas, as well as how the spatial distribution of invasive plants is connected to human land use patterns in urban and suburban areas. This is part of the justification for removing plants like Honeysuckle on workdays. And as the photograph shows, I am not merely content to generate useful information about invasive plants. Indeed, I am a man of action.