Tuesday, October 28, 2014

PhD student Stephen Via's research is focused on the impact of explosive compounds on vegetation across scales.  In his recently-published paper, "Differential effects of two explosive compounds on seed germination and seedling morphology of a woody shrub, Morella cerifera", Stephen examined the impacts of two common explosives, TNT and RDX, on germination and juvenile growth of a native coastal shrub that is commonly found at former coastal bombing ranges.  His investigation across life stages showed that plants have variable responses to contaminants, concentration, and these effects differ with life stage.  These findings are important as explosive compounds have the potential to act as filters of species establishment and community structure / function.  Stephen will continue his research to quantify the effects of explosives on establishment, physiological functioning, and ultimately community composition.  More exciting results to come! The article can be found at:
or by emailing viasm@vcu.edu.

Morella cerifera growing in different concentrations of RDX.  Photo credit: Stephen Via