• Long-term field-based investigation of post-fire regeneration of Atlantic white cedar (AWC). Survivorship, growth, competition and browse on planted seedlings in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia (2008 – present). The study began as a two-year field-based investigation of AWC regeneration and recovery following a fire in 2008. The study was designed to collect ecological information and help refuge managers attain supplementary information in order to further develop AWC recovery efforts. A second three-year study was developed in order to assess the success of supplemental planting efforts of two AWC planting types (Arborgen rooted cuttings and seedlings from the NCFS) in comparison to naturally regenerating seedlings. Tree survivorship, growth and ecological variables such as soil and tissue nutrients, competition from herbaceous vegetation, and deer browse were quantified annually until interrupted by the Lateral West fire, which began in August 2011. Hydrology is being used as an explanatory variable for tree growth and survival, via 32 water monitoring wells. Project collaborators include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Conference presentations based on these two studies include:
  • Weiser, J., J.D. Roquemore, and R.B. Atkinson. 2010. Two-year comparison of post-fire Atlantic White Cedar (AWC) regeneration in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (GDSNWR). MARCUS. Justin Weiser Sweetbriar, VA.
  • Achtemeier, L., J.D. Roquemore, and R.B. Atkinson. 2010 Post-burn herbaceous vegetation in the Great Dismal Swamp. MARCUS. Sweetbriar, VA.
  • Cook, J.B., H. Hudson, and R.B. Atkinson. 2010. Hydrologic analysis of Atlantic White Cedar restoration efforts within the Great Dismal Swamp. Paidea Research Conference, Newport News, VA.
  • Wurst, S.J., B. Poovey, and R.B. Atkinson. 2010. Effects of burn intensity on regeneration of Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Paidea Research Conference, Newport News, VA.
  • Foster, E.M., J.B. Cook, C. Lavagnino, J.D. Roquemore, and R.B. Atkinson. 2009. Post-Fire Regeneration of Atlantic White Cedar in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Sigma Xi 2010

In the News:

"Fire threatens Dismal Swamp Atlantic white cedar ecosystem" from Reuters

"Dismal Swamp wildfire may help cedar restoration" from the Daily Press

  • Long-term field-based investigation of tree survival and growth in created wetlands in Loudoun County, Virginia (2009 – present)  This seven-year field-based investigation of seven wetland tree species with three initial planting types was designed to critically evaluate and improve upon the planting of woody vegetation in created forested headwater wetlands in the Piedmont Province, Virginia.  Tree survivorship, growth and ecological variables, such as soil characteristics and competition from herbaceous vegetation, are quantified at the end of the growing seasons. Project funding is provided by the Peterson Foundation and project collaborators include Wetland Studies and Solutions Inc. and the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences.  Presentations of this project include:
  • Wurst, S.J., J.D. Roquemore, H.W. Hudson, III, J.M. Campo and R.B. Atkinson. 2010. Tree survival and growth in created wetland mitigation sites in Virginia: a field validation study. Society of Wetland Scientists Joint Regional Meeting, Reston, VA.
  • Knight, I., H. Huson, and R. Atkinson. Growth of seven wetland tree species in three compensatory wetlands in Northern Virginia.  MARCUS. Sweetbriar, VA. 
  • Mertz, N., H. Husdon, R. Atkinson. 2009. First-year survivorship of seven wetland tree species in three non-tidal freshwater wetland compensation sites in Loudoun County, Virginia. MARCUS. Sweetbriar, VA.  
  • Heeter, F., T. Brubach, J. Coley, H. Hudson III, I. Knight, D. Riedl, J. D. Roquemore, K. Sweet, S. Wurst, and R. B. Atkinson. 2009. Evaluation of planted tree morphometry within three wetland compensation sites in the Piedmont region of Virginia. Paidiea Research Conference, Newport News, VA. 
    • Connecting to the Bay: Preparing secondary teachers and facilitating Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) for teachers and students in Newport News, Virginia (2010 – present) The Connecting to the Bay team (including Primary Investigator, Dr. Robert Atkinson; Project Manager, Jackie Roquemore; Public School Liaison and Teacher Advisory Group (TAG) Leader, John Gulick; and Project Evaluator, Dr. Marsha Sprague) along with Newport News secondary school teachers, CNU graduate and undergraduate students, and collaborators from conservation organizations and community groups provide professional development, materials and support for middle and high school science teachers in Newport News. MWEEs for Newport News students grades 6-12 are also facilitated with the goal of increasing thoughtful stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay. Project funding is provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other project collaborators include Newport News Public Schools, Newport News Parks and Recreation, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the Peninsula Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalists.  Presentations of this project include:
    • Levenson, C., J. Campo, J. Roquemore, and R. Atkinson. 2010. Connecting to the Bay: preparing secondary teachers and facilitating Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for teachers and students in Newport News, Virginia. Sigma Xi, Newport News, VA.