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Department of Biology


Claudia L. Jolls


Associate Professor

Area of Study: 

Plant Ecology







Howell S107a


Department of Biology


East Carolina University


Greenville, NC 27858

Claudia Jolls


Postdoctoral scholar, University of Michigan Biological Station, 1981-1984

Ph.D., Dept. of Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 1980

B.S. in Botany, with highest honors, magna cum laude, University of Michigan, 1975

Research Program

Plant ecology and conservation: Our work is focused on how abiotic and biotic factors shape growth and patterns of vascular plant distribution and abundance, and how this scientific knowledge can be applied to preservation and restoration of plant species. Of particularly interest are population biology, including long-term demographic monitoring, population viability analysis and plant reproductive ecology (variation in seed mass and germination, heterocarpy, breeding systems, pollination biology). Model systems include weedy as well as rare taxa of coastal systems, such as federally listed seabeach amaranth of beaches of the Atlantic coast and Pitcher's thistle, Houghton's goldenrod, Lake Huron tansy (Asteraceae) along the freshwater dunes of the upper Great Lakes with colleagues at USGS, Chicago State University, Morton Arboretum and Chicago Botanic Gardens. Collaboration with other ECU Biology faculty asks how biodiversity of communities is structured by disturbance and nutrients, including the response of plants and their herbivores to mowing and fertilization at ECU West Research Campus. Past research includes GIS applications to rare species management, fatty acid analysis, nectar chemistry, nutrient analyses, seed germination ecology, resource allocation along elevational gradients and forest succession.

My other interests include teaching and STEM education reform as well as recruitment and retention in science, particularly of women and under-represented groups.

Courses Taught

BIOL 2250. General Ecology

BIOL 3150. Plant Biology

BIOL 3230/3231. Field Botany

BIOL 4200/4201. Population and Community Ecology

BIOL 7920. Conservation Biology

Select Recent Publications (*student co-author)

Leverett*, L.D., and C.L. Jolls. 2012. Cryptic seed heteromorphism in Packera tomentosa (Asteraceae): differences in seed mass characteristics and germination. Plant Species Biology. in review.

Havens-Young, K., C.L. Jolls, J. E. Marik*, A.K. McEachern and P. Vitt. 2012. Threats from an introduced biocontrol, Larinus planus, to populations of the federally threatened Pitcher's thistle, Cirsium pitcheri. Biological Conservation 115: 202-211.

Goodwillie, C., and C.L. Jolls. 2013. Mating systems and floral biology of the herb layer: a survey of two communities and the state of our knowledge. pp. XXX-XXX in Gilliam, F.S. and M.R. Roberts. The Herbaceous Layer in Forests of Eastern North America, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA. in press.

Jolls, C.L., and D.S. Whigham. 2013. Populations of and threats to rare plants of the herb layer: still more challenges and opportunities for conservation biologists. pp. XXX-XXX in Gilliam, F.S. and M.R. Roberts. The Herbaceous Layer in Forests of Eastern North America, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA. in press.

Jolls, C.L, J.E. Marik*, S.I. Hamzé*, and W. Loope. 2011. Population viability analysis and the effects of light availability and litter on populations of Cirsium pitcheri (Asteraceae), a rare, monocarpic perennial. in review. Botany (formerly Canadian Journal of Botany).

Sellars*, J.D. and C. L. Jolls. 2007. Habitat modeling for Amaranthus pumilus: an application of light detection and ranging (LIDAR) data. Journal of Coastal Resources 23: 1193-1202.

Jolls, C.L. 2006. Ethics in science: cardinal sins and heavenly virtues. Southeastern Biology 53: 383-389.

Jolls, C.L., J.D. Sellars*, S.E. Johnson*, and C.A. Wigent*. 2004. Restore Seabeach Amaranth; A Federally Threatened Species, Habitat Assessment and Restoration of Amaranthus pumilus, (Amaranthaceae) Using Remote Sensing Data. 2001 Natural Resource Presentation Program, RMP Project Statement CAHA-N-018.000, National Park Service, Final Report. 116 pp.

Jolls, C.L. 2003. Populations of and threats to rare plants of the herb layer: More challenges and opportunities for conservation biologists. pp. 105-151 in Gilliam, F. S. and M. R. Roberts. The Herbaceous Layer in Forests of Eastern North America. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Hamzé*, S.I., and C.L. Jolls. 2000. Germination ecology of a federally threatened endemic thistle of the Great Lakes, Cirsium pitcheri. American Midland Naturalist 143: 141-153.

Bock, J.H., C.L. Jolls, and A. Cundiff-Lewis. 1995. Alpine vegetation in the central Rocky Mountains and the central Caucasus. Arctic and Alpine Research 25: 130-136

Jolls, C.L., T.C. Chenier, and C.L. Hatley. 1994. Spectrophotometric analysis of nectar production in Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke (Caryophyllaceae). American Journal of Botany 81: 60-64. (First author's photography of plant also appears on cover.)

Jolls, C.L., and T.C. Chenier. 1989. Gynodioecy in Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke (Caryophyllaceae): Progeny success, experimental design, and maternal effects. American Journal of Botany 76: 1360-1367.

Jolls, C.L., and P.A. Werner. 1989. Seed biomass allocation patterns among five co-occurring species of goldenrods (Solidago: Compositae). American Midland Naturalist 121: 256-264.

Sakai, A.S., M.R. Roberts, and C.L. Jolls. 1985. Successional changes in a mature aspen forest in northern lower Michigan: 1974-1981. American Midland Naturalist 113: 271-282.

Jolls, C.L. 1984. Contrasting resource allocation patterns in Sedum lanceolatum Torr.: Biomass versus energy estimates. Oecologia 63: 57-62.

Jolls, C.L., and J.H. Bock. 1983. Seedling densities and mortality patterns among elevations in Sedum lanceolatum. Arctic and Alpine Research 15: 119-126.

Jolls, C.L. 1982. Plant population biology above timberline: Biotic selective pressures and plant reproductive success. pp. 83-85 in J.C. Halfpenny ed. Ecological Studies in the Colorado Alpine, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research Occasional Paper No. 37.

Talented, hardworking students with interest in plant ecology, conservation biology, statistics and quantitative analyses and GIS applications in ecology and conservation are encouraged to contact me about research opportunities and graduate study.

  Laboratory Personnel: Past and Present


Lindsay Leverett

Lindsay D. Leverett

M.S. in Biology program, May 2010

Ph.D. Program in Ecology,
Duke University, August 2012-present

Julie Marik

Julie E. Marik

M.S. in Biology 2007

Research Specialist

ECU Department of Biology

Sarah Johnson

Sarah E. Johnson

M.S. in Biology 2004

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 2011

Assistant Professor, Northland College, WI

Cass Wignet

Cass A. Wigent

M.S. in Biology 2006

R.N. Greenville, NC

Jon Sellars

Jon D. Sellars

M.S. in Biology 2001

Remote Sensing Engineer

NOAA, Silver Spring, MD

Samara I Hamze

Samara I. Hamzé

M.S. in Biology 1998

Adjunct Instructor of Environmental Studies, Ripon College, WI

Lisa Poole

Lisa G. Poole

M.S. in Biology 1991, BSN, MSN

Certified Nurse Midwife Craven County Health Department


Chelsea Barbour 

Chelsea Barbour

B.S. in Biology,  May 2012

Summer Research Assistant, Dr. David Chalcraft

Monica Burton


Monica Burton

B.S. in Chemistry/Biology minor anticipated May 2013

 Angie Chico


Angelica Chico

B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry, June 2011

ECU Dental School, August 2011-present

Courtney Koch

Courtney Koch

B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Chemistry May 2012

Dr. Robert C. Lamb Scholastic Award, May 2012 

Quality Assurance Technician, Hospira, Rocky Mount, NC

Jason Paxton 


Jason Paxton

B.S. in Biology

anticipated December 2012

Kelli Magaw


Kelli Magaw

B.S. in Biology December 2010

Adkin Arboretum, Ridgely, MD

Meaghan Cutchin


Meaghan D. Cutchin

BS in Biology 2010


Arielle Cooley


Dr. Arielle Cooley


Ph.D., Duke University, 2008

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan, 2009

Anna Williams


Anna T. Williams


Ph.D., University of Michigan

Johnathan Vogel


Dr. Jonathan Vogel


Ph.D., Michigan State University

Dawn Trexel_Kroll


Dawn Trexel-Kroll


M.S. in Biology, Miami University, 2002


Jill Johnston


Dr. Jill E. Johnston


Science Writer, Utah