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College of Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences




Dr. Frank P. Day

Professor of Biological Sciences and Eminent Scholar

Education:

Ph.D. Ecology, 1974
University of Georgia

M.S. Botany, 1971
University of Georgia

B.S. Botany, Microbiology Minor, 1969
University of Tennessee

Teaching Responsibilities:

Biology 205, Principles of Ecology
Biology 246, Plant Geography
Biology 707/807, Ecosystem Ecology
Biology 450/550, Principles of Plant Ecology

Research Interests:

My primary research interests relate to ecosystem processes (nutrient cycling and organic matter dynamics) in forested wetlands and coastal ecosystems. The major emphasis in my work has been on vegetation dynamics (productivity and decomposition), with particular interest in the influence of hydrology, nitrogen availability, and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on these processes. My current focus is on belowground dynamics (root growth and turnover) using minirhizotron technology and ground penetrating radar, with current projects on the barrier islands of the Virginia Coast Reserve LTER site and Kennedy Space Center

(1) Influence of hydrology on forested wetlands- The destruction and alteration of wetlands is a global concern and the establishment of criteria for identifying wetlands to determine what areas need protection has been a national concern for some time now. My research has focused on the importance of hydrology and its influence on processes and functions of forested wetlands. The functionality of forested wetlands remains even though flooding above the soil surface may be absent for considerable periods of time. The highlight of my involvement in the field of wetland ecology was my election as President of the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) (2002-2003).

(2) Effects of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on plants - Levels of carbon dioxide are steadily rising in the Earth's atmosphere and the potential effects on global climate are major international concerns. Some suspect that much of the so-called 'missing carbon' in the global budget is being sequestered by terrestrial plants and incorporated into soil organic matter. My students and I participate on an international team conducting a large-scale, long-term experiment on natural systems using carbon dioxide enriched open-top chambers at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The study is in its tenth year.

(3) Long-term ecological research on coastal barrier islands- I have been a P.I. on the University of Virginia lead team doing research on NSF's Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site at the Virginia Coast Reserve almost since its inception in the late 1980's. The LTER sites are internationally recognized for their emphasis on long-term ecological processes and the Virginia Coast site in particular is important because it represents a highly dynamic system subject to rapid change due to storms and erosional forces. My work primarily involves vegetation dynamics on the barrier island dunes.

(4) Belowground ecology-The quantification of belowground processes (e.g. root growth and death) has historically been extremely difficult. Minirhizotron technology involves videotaping roots through clear observation tubes and digitizing and analyzing the high precision images. This technique allows a precise evaluation of root dynamics in situ by following the exact same roots through time. We have also initiated efforts to utilize ground penetrating radar to non-destructively image root systems.

Selected Publications:

Day, F.P. and C.D. Monk. 1974. Vegetation patterns on a southern Appalachian watershed. Ecology 55:1064-1074.

Day, F.P. and C.D. Monk. 1977. Seasonal nutrient dynamics in the vegetation on a southern Appalachian watershed. Amer. J. Bot. 64:1126-1139.

Day, F.P. and C.D. Monk. 1977. Net primary production and phenology on a southern Appalachian watershed. Amer. J. Bot. 64:1117-1125.

Day, F.P. 1982. Litter decomposition rates in the seasonally flooded Great Dismal Swamp. Ecology 63:670-678.

Harriss, R.C., D.I. Sebacher, and F.P. Day. 1982. Methane flux in the Great Dismal Swamp. Nature 297:673-674.

Day, F.P. 1983. Effects of flooding on leaf litter decomposition in microcosms. Oecologia (Berlin) 56:180-184.

Monk, C.D. and F.P. Day. 1985. Vegetation analysis, primary production and selected nutrient budgets for a southern Appalachian oak forest: A synthesis of IBP studies at Coweeta. Forest Ecology and Management 10:87-113.

Monk, C.D. and F.P. Day. 1987. Biomass, primary production, and select nutrient budgets for an undisturbed watershed, pp. 151-159. In: D.A. Crossley and W.T. Swank, Forest Hydrology and Ecology at Coweeta. Springer-Verlag, N.Y.

Day, F.P., D. Phillips, and C.D. Monk. 1987. Forest communities and patterns, pp. 141-149. In: D.A. Crossley and W.T. Swank, Forest Hydrology and Ecology at Coweeta. Springer-Verlag, N.Y.

Day, F.P. 1987. Effects of flooding and nutrient enrichment on biomass allocation in Acer rubrum seedlings. Amer. J. Bot. 74: 1541-1554.

Day, F.P., S.K. West, and E.G. Tupacz. 1988. The influence of groundwater dynamics in a periodically flooded ecosystem, the Great Dismal Swamp. Wetlands 8:1-13.

Megonigal, J.P. and F.P. Day. 1988. Organic matter dynamics in four seasonally flooded forest communities of the Dismal Swamp. Amer. J. Bot. 75:1334-1343.

Day, F.P., J.P. Megonigal, and L.C. Lee. 1989. Cypress root decomposition in experimental wetland mesocosms. Wetlands 9: 263-282.

Megonigal, J.P. and F.P. Day. 1992. Effects of flooding on root and shoot production of bald cypress in large experimental enclosures. Ecology 73:1182-1193.

Day, F.P. 1995. Environmental influences on belowground decomposition on a coastal barrier island determined by cotton strip assay. Pedobiologia 39: 289-303.

Stevenson, M.J. and F.P. Day. 1996. Fine root biomass distribution and production along a barrier island chronosequence. Amer. Mid. Nat. 135: 205-217.

Conn, C.E. and F.P. Day. 1996. Response of root and cotton strip decay to nitrogen amendment along a barrier island dune chronosequence. Can. J. Bot. 74: 276-284.

Day, F.P., E.P. Weber, C.R. Hinkle, and B.G. Drake. 1996. Effects of elevated CO2 on fine root length and distribution in an oak-palmetto scrub ecosystem in central Florida. Global Change Biology 2: 101-106.

Day, F.P. 1996. Effects of nitrogen availability on plant biomass along a barrier island dune chronosequence. Castanea 61: 369-381.

Weber, E.P. and F.P. Day. 1996. The effect of nitrogen fertilization on the phenology of roots in a barrier island sand dune community. Plant and Soil 182: 139-148.

Dilustro, J.J. and F.P. Day. 1997. Aboveground biomass and net primary production along a Virginia barrier island chronosequence. Amer. Mid. Nat. 137: 27-38.

Conn, C.E. and F.P. Day. 1997. Root decomposition across a barrier island chronosequence: litter quality and environmental controls. Plant and Soil 195: 351-364.

Bledsoe, C.S., T.J. Fahey, R. Ruess, and F.P. Day. 1999. Measurement of static root parameters - biomass, length, distribution. In G.P. Robertson, C.S. Bledsoe, D.C. Coleman, and P. Sollins (eds.), Standard Soil Methods for Long-Term Ecological Research. Oxford University Press, New York.

Fahey, T.J., C.S. Bledsoe, F.P. Day, R. Ruess, and A. Smucker. 1999. Root production and demography. In G.P. Robertson, C.S. Bledsoe, D.C. Coleman, and P. Sollins (eds.), Standard Soil Methods for Long-Term Ecological Research. Oxford University Press, New York.

Dilustro, J.J., F.P. Day, and B.G. Drake. 2001. Decomposition of fine roots under C02 enriched conditions in an oak-scrub ecosystem. Global Change Biology 7: 1-9.

Day, F.P., E. Crawford, and J.J. Dilustro. 2001. Plant biomass change along a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence over a six-year period. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 128: 197-207.

Dilustro, J.J., F.P. Day, B.G. Drake, and C.R. Hinkle. 2002. Abundance, production and mortality of fine roots under elevated atmospheric C02 in an oak-scrub ecosystem. Environmental and Experimental Botany 48: 149-159.

Rodgers, H.L., F.P. Day, and R. Atkinson. 2003. Fine root dynamics in two Atlantic white cedar wetlands with contrasting hydroperiods. Wetlands 23: 941-949.

Day, F.P., C. Conn, E. Crawford, and M. Stevenson. 2004. Long-term effects of nitrogen fertilization on plant community structure on a coastal barrier island dune chronosequence. Journal of Coastal Research 20: 722-730.

Rodgers, H.L., F.P. Day, and R. Atkinson. 2004. Root dynamics in restored and naturally regenerated Atlantic white cedar wetlands. Restoration Ecology 16: 401-411.

More Information:

Dr. Day's course web pages may be accessed through: http://www.lions.odu.edu/~fday

Contact Information:

Department of Biological Sciences Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529-0266
Phone: (757) 683-4198
Fax: (757) 683-5283
e-mail: fday@odu.edu