STEWART A. WARE

Professor of Biology, Emeritus.


Ph.D., Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, 1968
B.S., Biology, Millsaps College, Jackson, MS, 1964
Plant EcologyDistribution and abundance of plant species, and the physical and biotic factors controlling their distribution and their role in plant communities.


Specific Areas of Research Interest:

Forest composition in relation to substrate and other variables. The relative importance of various tree species in plant communities varies according to the their relative competitive abilities in differing conditions of stand age, stand disturbance, geological substrate, soil minerals, soil moisture, direction of exposure, and also depends in part on past geological and climatic events.  Most of the students doing work out of my lab have looked at differences in forest composition in old (but second growth) stands in different physiographic and/or climatic regions and attempted to explain local and regional variations in relative importance of various species in terms of the effects of the factors mentioned above.  See list of publications, presentations at meetings, and manuscripts in preparation for examples of this and other special areas of research interest.

 Factors controlling geographical range and local distribution of rare and common species of rock outcrop communities. In southeastern North America are found several geologically different systems of scattered flatrock exposures surrounded by forest, and each system is characterized by sets of endemic or near-endemic plant species found only on that rock outcrop system or shared with only one other. Species may be very constant, occurring on most outcrops of a system, but yet not be abundant on most outcrops. Others plants may be absent from many outcrops, but abundant where present. Still others may be both rare in occurrence and few in number where present. Many of the endemic species have obvious life history and/or physiological adaptations to the extreme heat and drought of rock outcrops, but it is unclear whether these adaptations might put them at a disadvantage in other habitats. Most of the projects done out of my lab on outcrop plants have been experimental greenhouse and growth chamber studies of adaptation to substrate type and drought, relative competitive abilities, and life history adaptations, but some have involved field studies of successional interactions.

Effect of Hurricane Isabel on a maturing hardwood forest in Virginia.  Two sets of permanent forest plots were sampled just before Hurricane Isabel hit Williamsburg in 2003.  Four studies now underway are dealing with the damage done to these forests and the changes resulting from the opened up canopy.  They are addressing (a) the effect of tree species, tree size, and topography on tree damage; (b) the mosaic nature of the intensity of damage to trees; (c) the invasion of herbaceous plants after the opening of the canopy, and their changes in density with time; and (d) the response of seeds and seedlings of woody plants to the opened canopy; and (e) the interaction between ground layer plant abundance and deer grazing. 


Recent Publications:

Peer Reviewed Articles since 2003:

    (* = undergraduate; ** = graduate student)

  • Kribel**, Jacob R. G., and S. Ware. 2014. Hurricane-caused tree loss on permanent plots in a temperate hardwood forest.  Castanea 79, in press.
  • Ware, S., Susan E. Crow*, and Ben A. Waitman.*  2011. Mode of substrate adaptation in rock outcrop plants: Cyperus aristatus Rottb. and Cyperus granitophilus McVaugh.  Castanea 76: 415-423.
  • Ware, S. 2011.  A new Phemeranthus (Portulacaceae) from the Piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina.  J. Bot. Res. Inst. Tex. 5: 1-8
  • Kribel**, Jacob R. G., Karyn B. Kolman*, and S. Ware.  2011. Rapid change in sapling and seedling layers in an otherwise stable hardwood forest:  An effect of deer browsing.  Castanea 76: 140-148.
  • Ware, S., 2010. Croton monanthogynus and Crotonopsis elliptica (Euphorbiaceae) in Ozark rock outcrop communities:  Abundance, soil depth, and substrate tolerance.  Northeastern Naturalist 17: 659-666.
  • Crow*, Susan E., and S. Ware.   2009.  Soil type tolerance in rock outcrop plant communities: Satureja arkansana (Nutt.) Briq. (Lamiaceae) in the Ozarks.  J. Torrey Botan. Soc. 136: 363-368.
  • Prengaman*, Kathryn, J. R. G. Kribel** and S. Ware.  2008.  Effects of Hurricane Isabel on a maturing hardwood forest in the Virginia Coastal Plain.  J. Torrey Botan. Soc. 135: 360-366.
  • Dale, Edward E., Jr., S. Ware, and B. Waitman.* 2007. Ordination and classification of bottomland forests in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Plain.  Castanea 72:105-115.
  • Crow*, Susan E., and S. Ware. 2007. Soil type tolerance in rock outcrop plants: species of non-calcareous substrates.  Southwestern Naturalist 51: 120-125.
  • Dale, E. E. Jr., and S. Ware. 2004.  Distribution of wetland tree species in relation to a flooding gradient and backwater versus streamside location in ArkansasU.S.A.  J. Torrey Botan. Soc. 131: 177-186.
  • Adams, H. S., S. L. Stephenson, S. Ware, and M. Schnittler. 2003. Forests of the central and southern Appalachians and eastern Virginia having beech as a major component. Castanea 68: 222-231.

Invited and Contributed Talks with Published Abstracts:

Published Abstracts Since 2003 Not Yet Superceded by Published Articles:

  • Carlson-Drexler**, Kjarstin A., and S. Ware.  2008.  Pre- and post-hurricane composition in a hardwood forest.  Virginia J. Sci. 59: 62-63. (Abst.)
  • Carlson-Drexler**, Kjarstin A., and S. Ware. 2007. Wind disturbance in a Virginia forest: Damage assessment and pre-disturbance species reconstruction.  Virginia J. Sci. 58: 75. (Abst.)  "Best Student Paper Award"
  • Kribel**, Jacob R. G. and S. Ware.  2003.  Establishment of permanent plots in Matoaka Woods, College of William and Mary, utilizing the NCVS protocol. Virginia J. Sci. 53: 75. (Abst.)

Manuscripts in Preparation:

  • Toy*, Jennifer, S. A. Ware, Alexandra E. Loudon*, Hope Sanders*, Jared Lawson*, and Stephanie Roussel*. Post-hurricane response of herbaceous and woody ground layer vegetation in a Coastal Plain hardwood forest.

Awards, Editorships, Major Offices in Societies:

  • Elizabeth Anne Bartholomew Award for Service to Botany, 2013. Awarded by the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.
  • Thomas Jefferson Medal for Contributions to Natural Science in Virginia, 2006.  Awarded by Virginia Museum of Natural History.
  • ASB Meritorious Teaching Award, 1987.  Awarded by the Association of Southeastern Biologists
  • Editor-in-Chief, JOURNAL OF THE TORREY BOTANICAL SOCIETY 1993-97.
  • Ecology Editor, CASTANEA, 1986-1989.
  • Editor, VIRGINIA JOURNAL OF SCIENCE, 1979-1984.
  • Editor, JEFFERSONIA, 1970-1973.
  • President, Virginia Academy of Science, 1988-1989.
  • Association of Southeastern Biologists: Executive Committee, 1991-1994
  • Southern Appalachian Botanical Club: Executive Committee, 1986-1989.
  • Virginia Academy of Science: Executive Committee, 1987- 1991


Last updated 2/10/14


College of William and Mary, Department of Biology
saware@wm.edu