Biology Department


    Rich Niesenbaum

    Name: Rich Niesenbaum

    Department: Biology Department

    General Statement of Expertise:

    I am a plant ecologist who has worked on pollination and fruit set; genetics of inbreeding; mechanisms of non-random mating in plants; sex ratio variation; and herbivory. I am now focused on how abiotic and biotic factors interact to influence interactions between the plant Lindera benzoin and the insect Epimecis hortaria. This includes studies of tri-trophic interactions, associational resistance, and gene-by-environment interactions. In the area of conservation biology and sustainable development, I have collaborated with the International Programs Department at the Rodale Institute on measuring the success of sustainable forestry practice in northern Guatemala, and on developing ways to effectively link social, economic, and ecological indicators in the evaluation of international conservation and development projects. I have also established a long-term, interdisciplinary watershed monitoring project in Abangares, Costa Rica in collaboration with Dr. Tammy Lewis in Sociology. We also work with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in our studies of ecology and conservation.

    Description of role in this project:

    As the Principle Investigator, I am directing the overall research program and managing the project as a whole. As the Ecologist in this interdisciplinary team, my primary focus is on field and laboratory study of: tritrophic interactions, associational resistance, inducible defense, and gene-by-environment interactions. I am also master of the Znose field gas chromatograph.

    Faculty webpage:

    Contact Information:

      Office: Shankwieler 102
      Lab: Shankwieler 305
      Phone: (484) 664-3258
      Fax: (484) 664-3002

      Mailing Address:
      Department of Biology
      Muhlenberg College
      Allentown, PA 18104



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0442049. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.