Frank S. Gilliam
Professor of Biological Sciences
B.S., Vanderbilt University, 1976
Ph.D., Duke University, 1983
Phone: (304) 696-3636
FAX: (304) 696-3243
This ribbon is a show of support of not only the United States of America, but also for the fight for freedom throughout the world.
In the memory of the faculty and students at Virginia Tech who died tragically through senseless acts of violence, 16 April 2007. Though their voices have been silenced, their spirits still sing.
As a father and professor/teacher, I display this in memory of the lives of 20 children and 6 teachers brutally murdered in Newtown, CT, 14 December 2012.
I have been a member of the faculty since 1990 and teach courses in ecology and plant ecology. My research interests perhaps can be described best as broad-based within the general area of plant ecology, as may be seen in my publication record, with papers published in over 30 different journals. Most of what I do lies at the boundary between the levels of terrestrial plant communities and ecosystems. I am particularly interested in the movement and cycling of plant nutrients within terrestrial ecosystems. Directly related to this are interests in fire ecology and the effects of fire on nutrient cycling and on plants and soils in fire-prone ecosystems. Also related to my ecosystem approach to ecological research is an interest in atmospheric deposition and precipitation chemistry. This interest has led to the study of pollutant conditions (acid deposition and ozone) in forested areas.
My interests at the level of the plant community are focused predominantly on forest community ecology. I am particularly interested in secondary succession and the species dynamics of the herbaceous layer of forests, as well as the variety of biotic and abiotic factors that influence species composition and change within this vegetation stratum. My future research plans reflect extensions of previous work in the following three areas: (1) vegetation dynamics in forest ecosystems, (2) nitrogen dynamics of forest ecosystems, and (3) species composition and stand structure in old-growth longleaf pine forests.
Much of my current work, as an extension of earlier research in other forest types, is focused on factors that affect the herbaceous layer (vascular plants <1 m in height) of central Appalachian hardwood forests. Recent work, carried out at the Fernow Experimental Forest (FEF), West Virginia, has generated the hypothesis that herb layer development is nutrient-limited early in secondary succession following forest disturbance, but becomes light-limited later in succession. My future research plans include testing this hypothesis further experimentally in other forest types.
Fernow Experimental Forest
Work at this same site has generated another hypothesis concerning successional changes in the herbaceous layer of hardwood forests, one that has important implications for ecosystem management of forests and its effects on plant diversity. This hypothesis states that 1) the temporal shift in processes which control species composition following disturbance (from allogenic to autogenic factors) leads to a linkage in species composition between the overstory and herbaceous strata, and 2) the degree to which forest management alters species composition of forest ecosystems may by tied to the degree of alteration of the link between strata. I co-edited a book (with Dr. Mark R. Roberts, formerly of the University of New Brunswick, Canada) that examines the ecology of the herbaceous layer in forests of eastern North America (see below).
Another area of current research interest and activity is focused on nitrogen (N) dynamics in a central Appalachian hardwood forest. Most of my time is spent on testing several hypotheses concerning the phenomenon known as N saturation, which posits that, for impacted forests in parts of Europe and North America, N inputs associated with acidic deposition are exceeding demand of N by the biota. This work involves in situ incubations of mineral soil and organic horizons to examine soil N dynamics in a treatment watershed (receiving aerial N additions to the entire watershed) and two untreated control watersheds of differing stand ages. Annual and seasonal patterns of soil N dynamics are related to watershed differences in canopy and herbaceous layer tissue N and in stream chemistry. Results to date have shown that several watersheds of FEF have become N saturated from high levels of ambient N deposition.
In collaboration with Dr. Mary Beth Adams of the USDA Forest Service, I have recently expanded the questions of N saturation in montane hardwood forests to include the interactive effects of forest harvesting and N saturation on forest soil sustainability and productivity. A major threat to sustainability in central Appalachian forests is the loss of base cations via biomass removal and leaching. Future plans include continuing this work for several years.
Some of this work is summarized in various chapters in a book recently published by Springer. Click on the image of the book's cover to go to the book's web page at Amazon.
I am also collaborating with Dr. Bill Peterjohn of West Virginia University on a project funded by the National Science Foundation Long-Term Research in Environmental Biology (NSF LTREB) program. Through this project, we are essentially extending the original sampling period of in situ incubations. Beginning with the 2009 growing season, we have been revisiting sample plots to evaluate further the response of the herbaceous layer to N treatments.
Old-growth longleaf pine
I initiated a long-term study of species composition and stand structure of the Boyd Tract in the Sandhills region of North Carolina in 1989. The Boyd Tract, part of Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve, is unique as a longleaf pine study site for two reasons. First, at approximately 66 ha, it is the largest stand of old-growth longleaf pine the state, indeed, one of the larger stands anywhere. Second, as of the initiation of the study, the Boyd Tract had not experienced significant fire (an environmental requirement for longleaf pine regeneration) for more than 80 years. Thus, this site has provided the opportunity to study a longleaf pine stand that has not experienced the disturbance of forest harvesting, but has experienced the disturbance of chronic fire exclusion. Results to date indicate that species composition under these conditions is closely related to soil variables (e.g., texture, moisture, and nutrients). Furthermore, higher clay content soils have allowed the development of a forest type more closely resembling those of the adjacent North Carolina Piedmont than those typical of the Sandhills.
Boyd Tract, NC
Future work will look more closely at the age distributions of longleaf pine stems of the Boyd Tract. In addition, future work will examine the relationships between longleaf stem age and stem size along an elevation/texture gradient and will use these relationships as basis for comparison (in collaboration with Dr. Bill Platt of Louisiana State University) to those of another old-growth longleaf stand, the Wade Tract of southern Georgia.
I am co-author of a textbook on the ecology of terrestrial plants. I use this book as a text for my course here at Marshall University—Plant Ecology (BSC 430/530).
I co-edited the following book published by Oxford University Press.
Note: Names appearing in bold print are student co-authors.
Gilliam FS, R Hédl, M Chudomelová, RL McCulley, and JA Nelson. 2014. Variation in vegetation and microbial linkages with slope aspect in a montane temperate hardwood forest. Ecosphere submitted.
Lu X, Q Mao, F Gilliam, Y Luo, and J Mo. 2014. Nitrogen deposition contributes to soil acidification in tropical ecosystems. Global Change Biology submitted.De Frenne, P, F. Rodríguez-Sánchez, DA Coomes, L Baeten, G Verstraeten, M Vellend, M Bernhardt-Römermann, CD Brown, J Brunet, J Cornelis, G Decocq, H Dierschke, O Eriksson, FS Gilliam, R Hédl, T Heinken, M Hermy, P Hommel, MA Jenkins, DL Kelly, KJ Kirby, FJG Mitchell, T Naaf, M Newman, G Peterken, P Petřík, J Schulz, G Sonnier, H Van Calster, D Waller, G-R Walther, PS White, K Woods, M Wulf, BJ Graae, and K Verheyen. 2013. Microclimate moderates plant responses to macroclimate warming. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:18561-18565.
Chen H, W Zhang, F Gilliam, L Liu, J, Huang, T Zhang, WT Wang, and JM Mo. 2013. Changes in soil carbon sequestration in Pinus massoniana forests along an urban-to-rural gradient of southern China. Biogeosciences 10:6609–6616.
Zhang X, L Ma, FS Gilliam, Q Wang, T Liu, and C Li. 2012. Effects of raised-bed planting for enhanced summer maize yield on soil microbial functional groups and enzyme activity in Henan Province, China. Field Crops Research 130:28-37.
Zhang X, Q Wang, FS Gilliam, W Bai, X Han, and L Li. 2012. Effect of nitrogen fertilization on net nitrogen mineralization in grassland soil of Northern China: implications for grassland management. Grass and Forage Science 67:219-230.
Lu X, J Mo, FS Gilliam, H Fang, F Zhu, Y Fang, W Zhang, J Huang. 2012. Land-use history mitigates response of soil phosphorus availability to nitrogen addition in two reforested tropical forests in southern China. Biotropica 44:302-311.
Pardo LH, ME Fenn, CL Goodale, LH Geiser, CT Driscoll, EB Allen, J Baron, R Bobbink, WD Bowman, C. Clark, B Emmett, FS Gilliam, T Greaver, SJ Hall, EA Lilleskov, L Liu, J Lynch, K Nadelhoffer, SS Perakis, MJ Robin-Abbott, J Stoddard, K Weathers, and RL Dennis. 2011. Effects of nitrogen deposition and empirical nitrogen critical loads for ecoregions of the United States. Ecological Applications 21: 3049-3082.
Gilliam FS and MB Adams. 2011. Effects of nitrogen on temporal and spatial patterns of nitrate in streams and soil solution of a central hardwood forest. ISRN Ecology, Article ID 138487, doi:10.5402/2011/138487.
Zhang X, W Bai, FS Gilliam, X Han, and L Li. 2011. Effects of in situ freezing on soil net nitrogen mineralization and net nitrification in fertilized grassland of northern China. Grass and Forage Science 66:391-401.
Lu X, J Mo, FS Gilliam, G Yu, W Zhang, Y Fang, and J Huang. 2011. Effects of experimental nitrogen additions on plant diversity in tropical forests of contrasting disturbance regimes in Southern China. Environmental Pollution 159:2228-2235.
Gilliam FS, A Cook, and S Lyter. 2010. Effects of experimental freezing on soil nitrogen (N) dynamics in soils of a net nitrification gradient in an N-saturated hardwood forest ecosystem. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 40:436-444.
Bobbink R, K Hicks, J Galloway, T Spranger, R Alkemade, M Ashmore, M Bustamante, S Cinderby, E Davidson, F Dentener, B Emmett, J-W Erisman, M Fenn, F Gilliam, A Nordin, L Pardo and W de Vries. 2010. Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity effects of terrestrial ecosystems: a synthesis. Ecological Applications 20:30-59.
Gilliam FS, AW Hockenberry, and MB Adams. 2006. Effects of atmospheric nitrogen deposition on the herbaceous layer of a central Appalachian hardwood forest. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133:240-254.
May, JD, E Burdette, FS Gilliam, and MB Adams. 2005. Interspecific divergence in foliar nutrient dynamics and stem growth in a temperate forest in response to chronic nitrogen inputs. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 35:1023-1030.
Gilliam FS, NL Lyttle, A Thomas, and MB Adams. 2005. Soil variability along a nitrogen mineralization/nitrification gradient in a nitrogen-saturated hardwood forest. Soil Science Society of America Journal 69:247-256.
Gilliam FS, MB Adams, DA Dick, and ML Kerr. 2004. Effects of silvicultural practices on soil carbon and nitrogen in a nitrogen saturated Central Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem. Environmental Management 32:S108-S119.
Gilliam FS, BM Yurish, and MB Adams. 2001. Temporal and spatial variation of nitrogen transformations in nitrogen-saturated soils of a Central Appalachian hardwood forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 31:1768-1785.
Gilliam, FS and NL Turrill. 1995. Temporal patterns of ozone pollution in West Virginia: implications for high-elevation hardwood forests. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association 45:621-626.
Gilliam, FS, NL Turrill, and MB Adams. 1995. Species composition and patterns of diversity in herbaceous layer and woody overstory of clearcut versus mature central Appalachian hardwood forests. Ecological Applications 5:947-955.
Turrill NL, DK Evans, and FS Gilliam. 1994. Identification of West Virginia members of the Dentaria complex [D. diphylla Michx., D. heterophylla Nutt., and D. laciniata Muhl. ex. Willd. (Brassicaceae)] using above-ground vegetative characters. Castanea 59:22-30.
Gilliam, FS, NL Turrill, SD Aulick, DK Evans, and MB Adams. 1994. Herbaceous layer and soil response to experimental acidification in a central Appalachian hardwood forest. Journal of Environmental Quality 23:835-844.
Gilliam FS, BM Yurish, and LM Goodwin. 1993. Community composition of an old-growth longleaf pine forest: relationship to soil texture on tree species. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 120:287-294.
Gilliam FS, JT Sigmon, MA Reiter, and DO Krovetz. 1989. Elevational and spatial variation in daytime ozone concentrations in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains: implications for forest exposure. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 19:422-426.
Sigmon JT, FS Gilliam, and ME Parton. 1989. Precipitation and throughfall chemistry for a montane hardwood forest ecosystem: potential contributions from cloud water. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 19:1240-1247.
Knapp AK and FS Gilliam. 1985. Response of Andropogon gerardii to fire-induced high vs. low irradiance environments in tallgrass prairie: leaf structures and photosynthetic pigments. American Journal of Botany 72:1668-1671.
Schlesinger WH, JT Gray, and FS Gilliam. 1982. Atmospheric deposition processes and their importance as sources of nutrients in a chaparral ecosystem of southern California. Water Resources Research 18:623-629.
PROCEEDINGS AND BOOK CHAPTERS
Clark CM, Y Bai, WD Bowman, JM Cowles, ME Fenn, FS Gilliam, GK Phoenix, I Siddique, CJ Stevens, HU Sverdrup, and HL Throop. 2013. Nitrogen deposition and terrestrial biodiversity. In: Levin S.A. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, second edition, Volume 5, pp. 519-536. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.
Gilliam FS. 2012. Nitrogen biogeochemistry research at Fernow Experimental Forest, West Virginia, USA: soils, biodiversity, and climate change. In press, In: MA Sutton, et al., eds. Nitrogen Deposition, Critical Loads and Biodiversity: Proceedings of the INI/CLRTAP/CBD Expert Workshop, 16-18 November 2009. New York, NY: Springer.
Baron JS, M Barber, A Feest, F Gilliam, et al. 2012. The effects of atmospheric N deposition on terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity. In press, In: MA Sutton, et al., eds. Nitrogen Deposition, Critical Loads and Biodiversity: Proceedings of the INI/CLRTAP/CBD Expert Workshop, 16-18 November 2009. New York, NY: Springer.
Pardo LH, Geiser LH, Fenn ME, Driscoll CT, Goodale CL, Allen EB, Baron JS, Bobbink R, Bowman WD, Clark CM, Emmett B, Gilliam FS, Greaver T, Hall SJ, Lilleskov EA, Liu L, Lynch JA, Nadelhoffer K, Perakis SS, Robin-Abbott MJ, Stoddard JL, Weathers KC. 2011. Synthesis, Chapter 19. In: Pardo LH, Robin-Abbott MJ, Driscoll CT, eds. Assessment of Nitrogen deposition effects and empirical critical loads of Nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-80. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 229-284.
Gilliam FS, Goodale CL, Pardo LH, Geiser LH, and Lilleskov, EA. 2011. Eastern temperate forests, Chapter 10. In: Pardo LH, Robin-Abbott MJ, Driscoll, CT, eds. Assessment of Nitrogen deposition effects and empirical critical loads of Nitrogen for ecoregions of the United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-80. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 99-116.
Adams, MB, DR DeWalle, WT Peterjohn, FS Gilliam, WE Sharpe, and KWY Williard. 2006. Soil chemical response to experimental acidification treatments. Chapter 3 pp. 41-69, In: MB Adams, DR DeWalle, and J Hom, editors. The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study, Series: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 11, New York, NY: Springer.
DeWalle, DR, JN Kochenderfer, MB Adams, GW Miller, FS Gilliam, F Wood, SS Odenwald-Clemens, and WE Sharpe. 2006. Vegetation and acidification. Chapter 5 pp. 137-188, In: MB Adams, DR DeWalle, and J Hom, editors. The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study, Series: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 11, New York, NY: Springer.
Adams, MB, WT Peterjohn, and FS Gilliam. 2006. Acidification and nutrient cycling. Chapter 7 pp. 207-236, In: MB Adams, DR DeWalle, and J Hom, editors. The Fernow Watershed Acidification Study, Series: Environmental Pollution, Vol. 11, New York, NY: Springer.
Gilliam FS and MR Roberts. 2003. Introduction: conceptual framework for studies of the herbaceous layer. Chapter 1 pp. 3-11, In: FS Gilliam and MR Roberts, editors. The herbaceous layer in forests of Eastern North America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Gilliam FS and MR Roberts. 2003. Interactions between the herbaceous layer and overstory canopy of eastern forests: a mechanism for linkage. Chapter 8 pp. 198-223, In: FS Gilliam and MR Roberts, editors. The herbaceous layer in forests of Eastern North America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Christensen NL and FS Gilliam. 2003. Temporal and spatial patterns of herbaceous layer communities on the North Carolina Piedmont. Chapter 9 pp. 224-237, In: FS Gilliam and MR Roberts, editors. The herbaceous layer in forests of Eastern North America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Roberts MR and FS Gilliam. 2003. Response of the herbaceous layer to disturbance in eastern forests. Chapter 13 pp. 302-320, In: FS Gilliam and MR Roberts, editors. The herbaceous layer in forests of Eastern North America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Gilliam FS and MR Roberts. 2003. The dynamic nature of the herbaceous layer: synthesis and future directions for research. Chapter 14 pp. 323-337, In: FS Gilliam and MR Roberts, editors. The herbaceous layer in forests of Eastern North America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, Inc.
Gilliam FS and MB Adams. 1999. Effects of harvesting on soil nitrogen (N) dynamics in a N-saturated hardwood forest. pp. 29-36, In: JW Stringer and DL Loftis, editors. Proceedings, 12th Annual Central Hardwoods Conference. 28 February-2 March 1999, Lexington, KY. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-24. Asheville, NC: USDA, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 293 p.
Gilliam FS and MB Adams. 1995. Plant and soil nutrients in young versus mature central Appalachian hardwood stands. pp. 109-118. In: KW Gottschalk, editor. Proceedings, 10th Central Hardwood Forest Conference. 5-8 March 1995, Morgantown, WV. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-197. Radnor, PA: USDA, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 577 p.
Gilliam FS. 1995. Changes in soil physical and chemical characteristics. Chapter 5, pp. 55-69, In: DK Evans and HA Allen, editors. Mitigation wetland restoration: environmental effects at Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, West Virginia. Technical Report WRP-RE-10, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.
Gilliam FS and MA Fisher. 1995. Nitrogen transformations. Chapter 6, pp. 70-76, In: DK Evans and HA Allen, editors. Mitigation wetland restoration: environmental effects at Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, West Virginia. Technical Report WRP-RE-10, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS.
Gilliam FS. 1991. Ecosystem-level significance of acid forest soils. pp 187-195. In: RJ Wright, VC Baligar, and RP Murrmann, editors. Plant-soil interactions at low pH. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 1104 pp.
Gilliam FS. 1991. The significance of fire in an oligotrophic forest ecosystem. pp 113-122. In: SC Nodvin and TA Waldrop, editors. Fire and the environment: ecological and cultural perspectives: Proceedings of an international symposium. Gen. Tech. Rep. SE-69. Ashville, NC: USDA, Forest Service, Southeastern Forest Experiment Station. 429 pp.
I have been a member of the Ecological Society of America since 1982.
I primarily teach three courses here in the Department of Biological Sciences at Marshall University:
Principles of Biology (BSC 121):
Principles of Ecology (BSC 320): Formatting references
Note that I teach this in the Fall semester with Dr. Jeff May. Here is the link to his web page: http://www.science.marshall.edu/may/
Plant Ecology (BSC 430/530):
Writing is a very important part of the scientific process. I stress writing in my classes. In this section, one will find useful links/items that should be helpful when writing scientific papers/reports.
Here is a very useful paper as a general reference on how to write scientific papers (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED): Carraway (2006)
Here is a link for the classic writing manual, Elements of Style, by Strunk and White: Elements of Style
Click here (http://libguides.marshall.edu/bsc320) to go to a useful webpage (webpage prepared by Ron Titus, Electronic Services Librarian & Biology Subject Specialist) for using on-line resources through Drinko Library.
I serve as faculty advisor for the Biology Club. Please follow this link to go the web page: Biology Club. If you are a biology major at Marshall University, or just a student who is interested in biology in general, please consider joining us.
Outside of my professional interests in science, biology in general and plant ecology in particular, I am interested in several enjoyable activities, including tennis, wine, basketball, reading, and photography. More important than any of these professional or personal activities and interests is the honor I have of being the father of two great children--22-yr old Rachel and 19-yr old Ian.
Ian Stuart Gilliam Rachel MacKenzie Gilliam
I am also the grateful husband of a wonderful woman, Laura.
Laura Pleasants Gilliam
Laura holds the position of Executive Director of the United Way of the River Cities, Inc..
...and our sweet dog Jesse!
I am an Elder at Enslow Park Presbyterian Church.
Click on the photo of EPPC to visit its web site.
Click on the photo for a sermon I was invited to give for the 2008 Christmas Eve service.
One of my more passionate "hobbies" is NCAA basketball--two teams in particular. As a result of growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, I am a big fan of the University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team.
Also, as a graduate of Duke University (see above), I am equally as big a fan of the Duke University Blue Devil basketball team.