Rebecca J Howard , Ph.D.



Ph.D., Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University

M.S., Wildlife Biology (Minor: Botany) University of Massachusetts, Amherst

B.S., Wildlife Biology (Minor: Botany), State University of New York--College of Environmental Science and Forestry


Rebecca Howard  directs a research program on wetland plant community dynamics, including the effects of stressors and disturbances on plant community structure and function.  She also conducts research on seed bank ecology, wetland restoration ecology, and plant response to factors associated with climate change. 

Her research program centers on plant community dynamics in coastal wetlands of the northern Gulf of Mexico and inland wetlands of the southeastern U.S.  The major goals of Howard's research are to: (1) determine how wetland plants respond to physicochemical stressors and disturbance, (2) develop an understanding of how biotic and abiotic factors affect plant community structure and composition, and (3) determine the mechanisms responsible for spatial and temporal variation in plant communities.  Specific studies have included determining the effects of increased flooding and salinity on the growth of common perennial marsh macrophytes in field and greenhouse experiments, detailing vegetation succession patterns and seed bank characteristics on exposed soils of a large freshwater reservoir, describing soil and plant community response to disturbance associated with oil and gas exploration, and identifying intraspecific variation in stress tolerance of wetland plant species with the goal of identifying plants for use in restoration projects.  Howard's current projects include studying the influence of a hydrological restoration project in the Florida Everglades region on mangrove forest expansion into marsh habitat. 

Professional Positions

Research Ecologist, USGS National Wetlands Research Center / Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (1995 – present)

Ecologist, USFWS National Wetlands Research Center (1984 – 1995)

Wildife Biologist, USFWS National Coastal Ecosystems Team (1982 - 1984)