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Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park

Research Park Notes
Issue 5, January 23, 2001

Welcome to Research Park Notes! Look for tidbits of information on National Environmental Research Park activities, observations, and users every couple of weeks. To provide newsletter input, request additional information, make comments, or add/delete mailing list names, contact the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Area Manager, Pat Parr.

Note from the Area Manager:  I’m learning that one of the best ways to find out who really reads the “Notes” is to state or type something incorrectly. You’ll see corrections in updates as needed. Don’t hesitate to let me know when you find an error. Thanks, Pat


Invasive Plant Research at FACE Site - Dr. Jake Weltzin, University of Tennessee

Plant invasions and climate change the role of increasing carbon dioxide concentration. Increases in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and invasions by non-native organisms are both predicted to change plant communities and ecosystems in the near future. Because interactions between these two variables may be greater than their individual effects, Jake Weltzin, of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at The University of Tennessee, is investigating the response of non-native, invasive plants to elevated carbon dioxide, or CO2, as part of Rich Norby's ongoing, free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) experiment. The main goal of Jake's project is to determine the response of several common invasive plants, in terms of production and abundance, to potential future CO2. In particular, he is focusing on Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), and Japanese or Nepal grass (Microstegium vimineum) [note these are some of the same species mentioned below as real problems on the reservation.] For example, will fast-growing, invasive woody plants, like honeysuckle, benefit from elevated CO2 more than native woody plants? Or will Japanese grass, a warm-season (C4) grass that has spread like wildfire through the eastern United States, be at a disadvantage relative to cool-season (C3) grasses and herbs more likely to benefit from elevated CO2? In addition, data will be combined with other assessments of above and below ground production at the site to determine total net primary production and total carbon budgets for the entire forest stand. Stay tuned....
Jake’s home page:
More on the FACE research:

Invasive Plant Ranking - Sara Drake, University of Tennessee

Sara Drake, a student of Jake Weltzin at The University of Tennessee, worked during the summer and fall on a project to begin to assess the distribution, abundance, impact, and potential for control of the 18 most abundant non-native invasive plant species on the Oak Ridge Reservation. She used the U.S. Geological Survey’s “Plant Ranking System" to rank the relative importance of these species. Preliminary results indicate that the most widespread invasive plant is Japanese grass (Microstegium vimineum) and that it is the most problematic in terms of its likely impact on native communities. Others in the top six were: Japanese honeysuckle, Chinese privet, kudzu, multiflora rose, and lespedeza. A list of the over 150 non-native invasive plants on the Oak Ridge Reservation is located on the Research Park Web site (

Correction: In Issue 4 we incorrectly stated that Patrice Cole is working on her Ph.D. in Ecology under Dr. Michael Huston, Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL. Patrice's dissertation advisor, however, is Dr. Jake Weltzin, and she is working on her dissertation through the University of Tennessee Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Michael Huston is on her dissertation committee and provided her a stipend during the summer and fall of 2000 to help her conduct her research, which is centered on the Research Park.


Pat Parr and Jack Ranney (leaders of Southern Appalachian Man and Biosphere Initiative on Invasive Plants) met with Kris Johnson and Scott Kichman of the Park Service on January 18 to discuss coordination of exotic plant management efforts among federal agencies and SAMAB and potential directions for the initiative. Also, Scott Kichman demonstrated the Park’s impressive exotic pest plant database. Invasive plant species on the reservation are similar to those in the Smokies, so learning from their experts on what has and has not worked for them in management and control will be useful data for management on the reservation.


Location Change: The Department of Energy's public meeting addressing land use on the Oak Ridge Reservation will be January 30 (Tuesday) at 6 p.m. The meeting location has been changed from the YWCA to the Cumberland Room at the Oak Ridge Mall.


Pat Parr spoke to members of the Kingston Rotary on January 16 about the Biological Resources of the Oak Ridge Reservation. Welcome to members who have joined the distribution list for Research Park Notes.


February 12-16, 2001 – First Karst Interest Group Workshop, St. Petersburg, Florida. Contact Zelda Chapman Bailey ( for more information.

March 21-23, 2001 – Southeast Exotic Pest Plant Council, 2001:  A Weed Odyssey, Athens, Georgia. More info:

March 21-23, 2001 – The North American Lake Management Society's 10th Annual Southeastern Lakes Management Conference will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee. The theme of this year's Conference is "Sustainable Watersheds--Balancing Multiple Needs." More info:

April 4-7, 2001 – Association of Southeastern Biologists Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. More info:

April 25-29, 2001 – The 16th Annual Symposium of the U.S. Regional Chapter of the International Association of Landscape Ecology (US-IALE), Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. More info:

August 5-10, 2001 – The 86th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Madison, Wisconsin. More info:

November 26-28, 2001, Southern Forest Science Conference Contributions of Forest Research to Sustainable Forestry, Atlanta, Georgia. More info: or call 828/257-4302.

Internship Program – The Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Foundation and the Joint Institute for Energy and Environment are sponsoring a ten-week summer internship program to run from June 4 through August 10, 2001. The program is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in public policy and administration, environmental science, planning, natural resource management, business, decision research, and related fields. Selected students will be placed with environmental decision makers around the Southern Appalachian region. Host organizations or mentors will include federal, state, and municipal governments; small and large businesses; and nongovernmental organizations. Interns will develop individualized projects with their host organization around one or more environmental decision issues, observing and studying the decision making process and its context. The interns will gather periodically for seminars on environmental research and decision making, rotating so that each mentor/host organization leads one presentation reflecting their perspective on decision making. For more information, check the SAMAB Web site at

DOE Education Programs – The Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) is now administering the DOE funded programs for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). There are many student and faculty educational opportunities. For more information, check the ORISE site:

The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated by the Department of Energy in 1980 and is one of a network of seven National Environmental Research Parks. It is an Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facility. The Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park was designated an international biosphere reserve in 1989. It is also a unit member of the Southern Appalachian Biosphere Reserve and part of the Southern Appalachian Man and the Biosphere (SAMAB) Cooperative. More information on the Oak Ridge National Environmental Research Park can be found on the website at:

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Last Updated: May 4, 2001
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