The unifying theme behind my research is the interactions of plants with their mycorrhizal fungi and the environment and how these interactions affect plant distribution and ecology.

I currently have ongoing projects on mycorrhizal interactions and plant molecular ecology, with a special interest in orchid ecology and mycoheterotrophic plants.

My ongoing projects include two major projects on how mycorrhizal ecology is altered by abundant invasive earthworms. In these projects we are examining how mycorrhizal associations and the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil change in response to abundant invasive earthworms. I also have two ongoing projects on orchid ecology in which I am examining the effects of environmental conditions and the distribution of mycorrhizal fungi as drivers of orchid flowering and distribution.

I have also just completed a plant molecular ecology project funded by U.S. EPA and NOAA in collaboration with Denice Wardrop (Pennsylvania State University), Karin Kettenring (Utah State University), Dennis Whigham, and other SERC researchers. In this project I used microsatellite analysis to determine the mode of spread (rhizomes or seeds) of the invasive grass Phragmites australis in estuaries of the Chesapeake Bay and to examine factors that affect the production of viable seeds in developed and forested watersheds.

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Melissa K. McCormick, Ph.D.

Research Scientist

Smithsonian Environmental
Research Center
P.O. Box 28
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
Phone: 443-482-2433
Fax: 443-482-2380

Curriculum Vitae (pdf) 
Publications (pdf)

B.S. Trinity University (Biology)

Ph.D. Michigan State University
(Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior, 1999)