Dr. Jonathan Titus

TitusJonathan H. Titus

Associate Professor

Department of Biology
133 Science Center
State University of New York at Fredonia
Fredonia, NY 14063

E-mail: titus@fredonia.edu

Website: https://jonathan-titus.squarespace.com/
Phone: (716) 673-3818
Fax: (716) 673-3493




1999 - Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV. Research: Effects of global change on Mojave Desert plant communities.

1997 - Postdoctoral Fellow. University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic. Research: Arbuscular mycorrhizae responses to fertilization, mowing and species removals in a diverse oligotrophic wet meadow.

1995 - Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Department of Botany. Dissertation title: The role of mycorrhizae in primary succession on Mount St. Helens. Advisor: Dr. Roger del Moral.

1987 - M.S. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Department of Botany. Thesis title: The effect of microtopography on seedling regeneration in a Florida hardwood floodplain swamp. Advisor: Dr. Francis E. Putz.

1983 - B.S. Union College, Schenectady, NY. Biology, with honors.

Current Course Offerings at Fredonia 

BIOL115 - Environmental Biology
BIOL131 - Introduction to Ecology and Evolution
BIOL132 - Introduction to Ecology and Evolution Lab
BIOL222 - Introduction to Tropical Biology
BIOL223 - Introduction to Tropical Biology Study Abroad Costa Rica
BIOL450 - Museum Practicum
BIOL450 – Greenhouse Practicum
BIOL450/550 - Plant Taxonomy
BIOL450/550 - Tropical Islands
BIOL450/550 – Tropical Islands Study Abroad Bahamas
BIOL550/650 - Vegetation Description and Analysis

Research Interests: Plant Ecology 

I am a field ecologist and most of my current research takes place outside in the natural areas of western New York. A major threat to these natural areas is the introduction and establishment of aggressive non-native species such as garlic mustard and Japanese knotweed. I investigate the effects that these invasive non-native plant species have on our native plant communities and on mutualisms between plants and fungi. To do this I establish and study permanent survey plots for many consecutive years and assess the effects these invasive species have on the ecosystem. 

The emerald ash borer is an insect introduced from east Asia that kills 100% of our native ash trees within just two years of colonization. Although the emerald ash borer is widespread throughout Ohio, it has only begun to invade New York. In order to document the effects this species will inevitably precipitate on our forests, I have established a network of permanent plots in ash swamp forests across the County.  At present we are collecting pre-emerald ash borer invasion data about the swamp overstory and understory vegetation.  Thus, we will be able to observe and document changes that occur when this insect first begins to colonize Chautauqua County forests. I am interested in the responses of both the tree canopy and understory species in response to the death of the ash trees, and will be able to compare it to the pre-borer data. The plot data gathered thus far has already yielded interesting information about forest structure in swamp forests. 

The SUNY-Fredonia College Lodge Nature Preserve comprises 80 hectares of diverse high quality forest, 16 hectares of which is old growth, 12 km from campus.  In the forests we have established 14 permanent plots to assess present forest overstory and understory composition and structure and track the changes are occurring to our forests with the introduction of non-native trees diseases  (hemlock woolly adelgid, beech bark disease, Asian long horn beetle to name a few), encroaching non-native plant species and climate change.  As part of this we have recently constructed a network of deer exclosures to also be able to determine the dramatic effects that deer are having upon our forests.  At a pilot deer exclosure at Jamestown Audubon the effects of deer are visibly dramatic between the inside of the deer exclosure and outside, where the vegetation is subjected to intense deer herbivory. Preliminary data has documented several native species that are recovering within the deer exclosure but are uncommon outside of the exclosure.

In western New York and Pennsylvania, ancient sand dunes support a rare plant community called black oak savanna, although very few remnants of this plant community remain. In order to increase our understanding of this endangered plant community and assist in restoration efforts, I am conducting a seedbank study in two different representations of this community type. A seedbank study involves determining the species composition of viable seeds present in the soil. 

My recent graduate students have been very successful with their Master’s research.  Jessica Wooten studied Oriental bittersweet at Presque Isle and contributed to ability to control this highly invasive species.  She is presently employed at a GIS consulting firm.  Tiffany Wong conducted research on the effects of UV radiation and anti-oxidants on the growth of mustard.  This innovative research showed that anti-oxidants, such as vitamin E, can potentially mitigate the effects of intense UV exposure in plants.   Tiffany is now working on her PhD at the University of Maryland.  Mona Alabaddi is researching the potential allelopathic effects of the invasive Centaurea jacea on two native co-occurring species. Allelopathy is occurs when a plant releases biochemicals that influence the growth, survival, and reproduction of other plants. This research, which is ongoing, involves a series of greenhouse experiments.

Recent Publications

del Moral, R. and J.H. Titus. 2015. Primary Succession on Mount St. Helens: Rates,
Determinism and Alternative States. In: V.H. Dale & C. H. Crisafulli
(eds.), Ecological Responses Revisited 35 years after
the 1980 Eruptions of Mount St. Helens. Springer-Verlag, New York. In press.

Titus, J.H. and J.G. Bishop. 2014. Competition with N-fixing colonists decreases survival of Douglas-fir seedlings on primary successional sites at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Journal of Vegetation Science 25:990–1003.

Titus, J.H, P.J. Titus, M. Laituri and B. Sethebe. 2012. Population Structure of an Arborescent Aloe (Aloe marlothii) in Botswana. African Journal of Plant Science 6:328-336. http://www.academicjournals.org/AJPS/PDF/Pdf2012/Oct/Titus%20et%20al.pdf

Staunch, A., M. Redlecki, J. Sleeper, J. Wooten and J.H. Titus. 2012. Moss and Soil Substrates Interact with Moisture Level to Influence Germination by three Wetland Tree Species. ISRN Botany 2012. http://www.isrn.com/journals/botany/aip/456051/

Titus, J.H. and P.J. Titus. 2011. Recovery Plan for the Huachuca water umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana ssp. recurva). Agency Review Draft. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tucson AZ. 74 pp.

Bishop, J.G,. N.B. O’Hara, J.H. Titus, J.L. Apple, R.A. Gill, L. Wynn. 2010. N-P Co-Limitation of Primary Production and Response of Arthropods to N and P in Early Primary Succession on Mount St. Helens Volcano. PLoS ONE 5:e13598. www.plosone.org.

Tsuyuzaki, S. and J.H. Titus. 2010. Roadside grassland vegetation in an oak forest, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, the Cascade Range, USA. iForest 3: 52-55. http://www.sisef.it/iforest/ doi.php?doi=10.3832/ifor0527-003.

Blood, L.E. and J.H. Titus. 2010. Microsite effects on forest regeneration in a bottomland swamp in western New York. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 137:88-102.

Blood, L.E., H.J. Pitoniak and J.H. Titus. 2010.   Seed bank of a bottomland swamp in western New York. Castanea 75:19-38.

Titus, J.H. 2009. Nitrogen-fixers Alnus and Lupinus increase soil fertility but not invasion by late successional species in primary succession on Mount St. Helens. Plant Ecology 203:289–301.

Titus, J.H. and P.J. Titus. 2008. Assessing the reintroduction potential of the endangered Huachuca water umbel in Southeastern Arizona. Ecological Restoration 26:311-321.

Titus, P.J. and J.H. Titus. 2008. Ecological monitoring of the endangered Huachuca water umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana ssp. recurva: Apiaceae). Southwestern Naturalist 53:458-465.

Titus, J.H. and P.J. Titus. 2008. Seedbank of Bingham Cienega, a spring-fed marsh in southeastern Arizona. Southwestern Naturalist 53:393-399.

Titus, J.H. 2008. Inventory of the vascular flora of Mount St. Helens’ crater. Northwest Science 82:76-81.

Titus, J.H., S. Whitcomb and H.J. Pitoniak. 2007. Distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizae in relation to microsites on primary successional substrates on Mount St. Helens. Canadian Journal of Botany 85:941-948.

Titus, J.H. and E. Householder. 2007. Salvage logging and replanting reduce understory cover and richness compared to unsalvaged unplanted sites at Mount St. Helens, Washington. Western North America Naturalist 67:219-231.

del Moral, R., D.M. Wood and J.H. Titus. 2005. Proximity effects, microsites and biotic interactions during early succession. In: V.D. Dale, F.J. Swanson and C.M. Crisafulli (eds.), Ecological Responses to the 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens. Springer, New York. Pp. 93-110.


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