Rebecca Sharitz
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia
Aiken, South Carolina

Dr. Rebecca Sharitz, professor and senior research ecologist at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, is the leading expert on the ecology of southeastern floodplain forests and Carolina bays—isolated, depressional wetlands. Dr. Sharitz has authored or co-authored more than 160 peer-reviewed papers or chapters and co-edited three books. She has received over 40 significant research grants, has trained more than 30 graduate students, 13 postdoctoral fellows, and more than 100 volunteers. She also has been invited to serve on four National Academy of Science committees. Her research was the first to show a link between flooding characteristics and forest regeneration, an important finding in understanding how southeastern floodplain forests react after experiencing hurricanes, alteration from dams, and discharge of thermally hot waters from nuclear reactors. Her research on the Carolina bays has shown that they have the greatest variety of plant seeds in the soil of any wetland type and that passive restoration—blocking drainage ditches—has proven to be an effective method to restore their natural hydrology and wetland vegetation.