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Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. W. John Hayden


Invasive exotic species are organisms artificially introduced from their natural geographic range into a new area where they expand both their population and distribution range and significantly alter the structure and function of the new system (Cronk, 2001). They may pose lasting and pervasive threats by establishing self-­ sustaining populations in otherwise natural environments and competing with indigenous species for essential resources. If left unchecked, invasion by exotics may severely alter the ecological and economic value of infested areas (McNeely, 2001). Invasive exotics are thought by many to have one of the most detrimental impacts on natural biodiversity globally, second only to habitat loss, which is why their presence on the University of Richmond campus is of great interest (Luken, 1997).

This research is intended to inventory the myriad invasive exotic plant species at the University of Richmond, and its immediate vicinity, in order to provide baseline data useful in determining how the problem develops and modifies vegetation on campus. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (http:/ / lists nearly two-hundred species of invasive exotic plant species known to be in Virginia. This state-wide list was narrowed down to roughly eighty species that could potentially be on campus based on climate, terrain, and prior knowledge. The eighty plant species were extensively researched using various botanical manuals and then located on campus and nearby areas based on their preferred habitat information. Documentation of each plant species included the following elements: the location where the species originated; a brief physical description; its geographic range within the United States as well as its preferred habitat; where it may be found on campus; its threats to ecological systems; its degree of invasiveness; and one or more photographs. This website was completed by Bethany K. Shewmaker and guided by Dr. W. John Hayden, Professor of Biology at the University of Richmond.