Biology

Gary Greer

Gary Greer, Ph.D
Associate Professor

Allelopathy, Biodiversity, Invasive Species, Pteridology, Phenotypic Plasticity, Reproductive Biology, Allopolyploid Evolution.

Office: 234 Henry
Phone: (616) 331-2813
Email: greerg@gvsu.edu

 

Education:

Ph.D. - Ohio University, 1997

M.A. - Humboldt State University, 1991

B.A. - University of Northern Colorado, 1987

 

 

 

Courses taught at GVSU:

BIO 105  Environmental Science

BIO 109  Plants in the World

BIO 121  General Biology II

BIO 303  Plants & Fungi

BIO 338  Environmental Ethics

BIO 403  Plant Structure and Function

BIO 495  Evolutionary Biology

BIO 580  Advanced Population Ecology

Research Interests:

My research interests span a wide range of topics in plant ecology and evolution, including:
1. the relationship between developmental processes, adaptation and speciation;
2. life history evolution;
3. pteridophyte (ferns & fern allies) biology, ecology & evolution;
4. invasive species;
5. biodiversity and multitrophic interactions between plants microbes & animals.

 

FERNS are important, sometimes dominant, components of forest understory and canopy communities.  Some species can affect succession of forest overstory (trees) and others, such as Pteridium aquilinum ("bracken fern"; pictured above) are economically important weeds.  Ferns are remarkably complex in their life cycle and genetics, and though they predate seed plants, they are currently at their zenith of diversity - an evolutionary success story with many secrets to discover.

 

INVASIVE PLANTS.  Human altered landscapes create opportunities for the introduction (deliberate or accidental) and establishment of exotic organisms.  Approximately 3,400 exotic plant species exist in the United States (excluding disastrously invaded Hawaii) and Canada, constituting roughly 15% of the continental flora.  Some have become ecologically and economically important pest invasives, spreading rapidly and outcompeting native species and, in some cases, substantially altering population and nutrient dynamics (levels and cycles of abundance), and disturbance regimes.  My students and I have been studying one such invasive for the past few years, Ailanthus altissima (Tree of Heaven) from China (pictured at right).  Ailanthus was first introduced into the U.S. in the late 1700s as an ornamental and is now found throughout 46 of the lower 48 states.  Tolerant of a wide range of conditions, Ailanthus grows very rapidly (up to 10ft a year!), produces large numbers of wind dispersed seeds, suffers little insect herbivory (only from Asiatic insect invasives), and produces a toxin (ailanthone) that negatively affects neighboring plants.  We have discovered that: 1) juveniles produce more ailanthone than adults; 2) ailanthone production varies substantially between individuals and populations, and 3) ailanthone production increases in response to minor injury such as would occur from wind or herbivory.  We also found that Ailanthus  stimulates increased nodulation of neighboring legumes, which may result in increased nitrogen availability for Ailanthus and explain, in part, its ability to grow vigorously in poor soils.  We are currently exploring the mechanism and ecological relevance of nodule stimulation by Ailanthus.

 

Recent Publications:

Greer, G.K., M.A. Dietrich, S. Stewart, J. DeVol, and A. Rebert. 2009. Morphological functions of gibberellins in leptosporangiate fern gametophytes: insights into the evolution of form and gender expression.  Botanical Journal of the Linnaean Society, In Press.

Aldrich, P., A. Brusa, C. Heinz, G. K. Greer, and C. Huebner.  2008. Floral Visitation of the Invasive Stinking Ash in Western Suburban Chicago.  Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science, 101: 1-12.

Greer, G. K., M. Dietrich, J. DeVol, and A. Rebert. The Function of Endogenous Gibberellins in Gametophytes of the Ferns Osmunda regalis and Athyrium filix-femina: Insights into the Evolution the Pheromone, Antheridiogen.  Competed, in co-author review.

D. Curry & G. K. Greer. 2004. Pheromonal interactions among cordate gametophytes of Athyrium felix-femina. American Fern Journal  94: 1-8.

Greer, G. K. and B. C. McCarthy. 2000. Patterns of growth and reproduction in the fern Polystichum acrostichoides. American Fern Journal 90: 60-76.

Greer, G. K. and B. C. McCarthy. 1999. Gametophytic Plasticity among Four Species of Homosporous Ferns with Contrasting Ecological Distributions. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 160: 879-886.

Greer, G. K. B. C. McCarthy, and R. M. Lloyd. 1997a. Factors Influencing the Distribution of Pteridophytes in a Southeastern Ohio Hardwood Forest. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 124: 11-21.

Greer, G. K. and B. C. McCarthy. 1997b. The Antheridiogen Neighborhood of Polystichum acrostichoides. International Journal of Plant Sciences 158: 764-768.

Greer, G. K. 1993. The Influence of Soil Topography and Spore-Rain Density on Gender Expression in Gametophyte Populations of the Homosporous Fern Aspidotis densa (Brack. in Wilkes) Lellinger. American Fern Journal 84: 54-59.


Recent Posters & Presentations:

Lincoln, J. (Presenter & Author), Greer, G. (Author Only), Dietrich, M. (Author Only), BOTANY 2009, joint meeting of American Botanical Society, American Bryological and Lichenological Society, American Fern Society, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and American Mycological Society, Snowbird, Utah.  "Ailanthus altissima Increases Nodulation in Trifolium pratense:  A Novel Weapon for an Invasive Species?" (August 2009).

Greer, G. (Author Only), Andres, E. (Presenter & Author), Annual Meeting of Michigan Academy of Arts Sciences and Letters, Wayne State University, Detroit MI.  "Unraveling Gender Expression in Osmunda regalis: Implications for Fern Evolution".  (March 2009).

Greer, G. (Presenter & Author), Annual Meeting of the Michigan Academy of Arts Sciences and Letters, Wayne State University, Detroit MI. "Is allopolyploid evolution in ferns a species pump?" (March 2009).

Andres, E., and G.K. Greer. Unraveling Gender Expression in Osmunda Cinnamonmea: Implications for Fern Evolution.  2008 West Michigan Undergraduate Research Conference, Grand Rapids.

Greer, G. K. and P. Aldrich. Plasticity in Phytotoxin Production by Ailanthus altissima Across a U.S. Megatransect.  BOTANY 2007, Chicago.

Boadway, C. and G. K. Greer. Growth & Nodulation in Trifolium pratense & Glycine max in Response to Ailanthus altissima. BOTANY 2007, Chicago.

Aldrich, P. , A. Ahmed, N. Ayub, J. Briguglio, S. Kapadia, M. Morker, C. Ondracek, A. Rawal, A. Salam, C. Huebner, and G. K. Greer.  Genome Scans of Adaptive Diversity of the Invasive Tree, Ailanthus altissima.  BOTANY 2007, Chicago.  

Dock, J., H. Reed, and G. K. Greer. 2006. Stimulation of Legume Nodulation by Root Exudates of Ailanthus altissima.  Botany and Plant Ecology section.  Abstract accepted 11/2005.

May, J., R. Morgan, P. Aldrich and G. K. Greer. 2006. Stimulated Growth of Azotobacter vinelandii by Root Extracts of Ailanthus altissima.  Botany and Plant Ecology section.  Abstract accepted 11/2005

Repert, A., J. DeVol, M. Dietrich, and G. Greer. 2005. Blocking the Gibberellin Pathway Inhibits Morphological Development of the Gametophyte of the Fern Osmunda regalis. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. Ypsilanti, MI.

DeVol, J., A. Rebert, G. Greer, and M. Dietrich. 2005. Effects of Exogenous Cytokinin Application of Morphological Development of Gametophytes of the Fern Osmunda regalis. Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. Ypsilanti, MI.

Greer, G. K. and Aldrich, P.  2005. (Invited) Genetic and Biochemical Variation in North American Ailanthus altissima, Summary of a Research Program.  16th USDA Interagency Forum on Invasive Species, Annapolis, MA.

Greer, G. K.  2005. Comparison of Understory Diversity Beneath the Invasive Tree Ailanthus altissima versus Native Trees in a Forest in West Virginia.  BOTANY 2005, Austin, TX.

DeVol, J., A. Rebert, G. Greer, and M. Dietrich.  2005. Effects of Exogenous Cytokinin Application on Morphological Development of Gametophytes of the Fern Osmunda regalis.  BOTANY 2005, Austin, TX.

Rebert, A., J. DeVol, M. Dietrich and G. Greer.  2005. Blocking the Gibberellin Pathway Inhibits Morphological Development of the Gametophyte of the Fern Osmunda regalis.  BOTANY 2005, Austin, TX.

Aldrich, P., C. Ondracek, D. Shiao, A. Rawal, S. Kapadia, S. Nasaruddin, K. Sokolowski C. and G. Greer.  2005.  Molecular genetic variation in U.S. populations of the invasive tree Ailanthus altissima (Simaroubaceae).  BOTANY 2005, Austin, TX.

Rebert, A., J. DeVol, M. Dietrich, and G. Greer. 2005.  Blocking the Gibberellin Pathway Inhibits Morphological Development of the Gametophyte of the Fern Osmunda regalis.  2005 Meetings of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters.  Ypsilanti, MI.

DeVol, J., A. Rebert, G. Greer, and M. Dietrich. 2005. Effects of Exogenous Cytokinin Application on Morphological Development of Gametophytes of the Fern Osmunda regalis. 2005 Meetings of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters. Ypsilanti, MI.

Greer. G. K. and H. Reed Effects of Ailanthus Invasion of Forests of Southern West Virginia (Poster).  March 29-April 2, 2003.  Association of Research Directors of 1890 Land Grant Institutions Biennial Symposium.  Atlanta, GA.

Greer, G. K.  Opportunism and the Hopeful Ecologist: Research at a Small College (West Virginia State College).  April 12, 2002.  Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.

Greer, G. K. and D. Curry.  Pheromonal Interactions Among Cordate Gametophytes of Athyrium filix-femina, subsp. angustifolia. BOTANY 2001, Albuquerque NM.

N. Ashley, and G. K. Greer. Effects of Above-ground Injury on the Ability of Ailanthus altissima to Effect Neighboring Plants via Soil Properties.  BOTANY 2001, Albuquerque NM.

 

Scientific & Professional Societies:

  • American Fern Society
  • Associate Editor American Fern Journal (2002-present)
  • Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters
  • Chair, Botany and Plant Ecology Section, MASAL
  • Sigma-Xi

 

Page last modified March 17, 2014