Dr. Rebecca A. Urban
Director of Environmental Science & Professor of Biology
Academic Areas of Expertise:
- Ecology and Environmental Science
Courses Taught at LVC
BIO 312 Ecology
BIO 203 Conservation Biology
BIO 302 Plant Diversity
COE 244NS Naturalist Studies of Pennsylvania
ENVI 130 Introduction to Geosystems
BIO 112 | General Biology II
I am an invasive species biologist who primarily studies invasive aquatic plants in the Adirondacks of New York State. Much of my previous work has focused on investigating how a rootless carnivorous plant (Utricularia inflata) causes declines to native species, with cascading changes to sediment and water column chemistry. I continue to conduct research with undergraduate students at LVC to investigate what traits make this plant a successful invasive species. I am also an active member in the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN), an organization that facilitates faculty at predominately undergraduate institutions across the country to conduct joint field studies in the classroom and with undergraduate research students.
Positions and Awards
- 2018 PERC Campus Sustainability Champion (2018). The Campus Sustainability Champion title is awarded to students, faculty, administrators, and staff of Pennsylvania colleges and universities who have made meaningful contributions benefiting social, economic and/or environmental sustainability on their campus, in their community, or in society at large.
- Arnold Grant (2018). Does road salt facilitate the invasion of an aquatic plant?
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2018). The impact of water quality on an invasive aquatic plant.
- Exemplary Teaching Award (2017). Awarded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
- Arnold Grant (2017). An investigation on the parameters that influence the success of an invasive plant.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2017). Field studies on invasive plants in an Adirondack Mountain Lake.
- DEP Environmental Education Grant (2016). Invasive plant management within Lebanon Valley College's natural areas.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2016). Invasive macrophyte biology in Raquette Lake.
- Center for Municipal and Corporate Sustainability Course Development Grant (2016) – Conservation Biology.
- Arnold Grant (2015). Environmental change on submersed aquatic vegetation communities.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2015). Environmental change on submersed aquatic plant.
- President’s Innovation Fund Grant (2014). DNA barcoding to enhance ID of benthic macroinvertebrates. Co-PI with Dr. Robert Carey.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2014). Comparative Utricularia ecology.
- Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid (2013) to student Cameron Venable. The effects of coarse woody debris on small mammal populations.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant (2013). An investigation of traits that facilitate Utricularia inflata invasion.
- Lebanon Valley College Faculty Research Grant. The carnivore cometh: the spread of an invasive bladderwort.
- Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve Research Grant (2010). How do functional groups of aquatic macrophytes influence sediment chemistry?
- Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid (2009) to student Colbey Freeman. Sediment oxidation capabilities of four aquatic macrophytes.
- Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Teaching (2008). Binghamton University.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship (2006-2008). Accumulation of an invasive plant and its impact on Adirondack lake ecosystems.
- Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid (2006). The influence of an invasive plant on water chemistry.
- Raymond Szymanski Travel Grant (2006)
- Biological Sciences Graduate Scholars Fellowship (2005)
- Raymond Szymanski Travel Grant (2004)
- E.W. Heier Memorial Scholarship
- International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society Grant (2003). The effects of an introduced species (Utricularia inflata) on native Eriocaulon.
- Student Travel Grant (2003) Northeast Algal Society (NEAS).
- Binghamton University Undergraduate Research Award (2001; $200).
Bowne DR, Bloch C, Druchenbrod D, Fredricksen T, Garneau D, Genet K, Kish P, Kolozsvary MB, Kuserk F, Lindquist E, Muir T, Murray G, Simmons J, Urban RA, Zimmerman C (2018). Effects of urbanization on the population structure of freshwater turtles across the United States. Conservation Biology 32:1150-1161.
Urban, RA, ME Dwyer* (2016). Asexual reproduction and its potential influence on the distribution of an invasive macrophyte. Northeast Naturalist 23:408-419.
Titus JE, RA Urban (2013). Invasion in progress: Utricularia inflata in Adirondack submersed macrophyte communities. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 140:506-516.
Urban RA, JE Titus, H Hansen (2013). Positive feedback favors invasion by a submersed freshwater plant. Oecologia 172:515-523.
Freeman C*, RA Urban (2012). Sediment oxidation capabilities of four aquatic macrophytes. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 27:259-271.
Urban RA, JE Titus (2010). Exposure provides refuge from a rootless invasive macrophyte. Aquatic Botany 92:265-272.
Titus JE, RA Urban (2009). Aquatic Plants: A General Introduction. In Encyclopedia of Inland Waters. G.E. Likens, Ed. Oxford: Elsevier. pp. 43-51.
Urban RA, JE Titus, WZ Zhu (2009). Shading by an invasive macrophyte has cascading effects on sediment chemistry. Biological Invasions 11:265.
Stamp N, DA Robinson, RA Urban (2007). The Everglades Power-of-story-5E Teaching Unit. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 89:61-73.
Urban RA, JE Titus, WX Zhu (2006). An invasive macrophyte alters sediment chemistry due to suppression of a native isoetid. Oecologia 148:455-463.
Ghimirey, A*, R Beidler*, A Stoler, and R Urban (2018) Does road salt facilitate the invasion of a carnivorous aquatic plant? Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore, PA. (2nd place award)
Wagner, H*, and R Urban (2018) Effect of organic matter on an isoetid's ability to change sediment redox potential. Mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America Annual Conference. Rutgers University—Newark. (Honorable Mention)
McMullen, P*, Beidler R*, R.A. Urban (2017) The effects of common chickweed on garlic mustard growth. Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore, PA.
Betz, B*, P Riddle*, RA Urban (2016). Benthic macroinvertebrates used as a biomonitoring tool to determine Quittapahilla Creek water quality. Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore, PA.
RA Urban, M Dwyer* (2015). Asexual reproduction and distribution of Adirondack bladderworts. 100th Ecological Society of America Annual National Meeting, Baltimore, PA.
McDonald C*, RA Urban, R Carey (2015). DNA barcoding to enhance ID of benthic macroinvertebrates. 91st Pennsylvania Academy of Science meeting, Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA.
Urban, RA (2013). Invasion in progress: ecological roles, dispersal, and spread of the submersed macrophyte Utricularia inflata. McKinley Seminar Series at Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology associated through the University of Pittsburg. Linesville, PA
Kulp A*, A Jenkins*, L Carl*, C Straka*, AL Marsh, RA Urban (2012). The effect of zinc sulfide nanoparticles on Spirodela polyrhiza. Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Allentown, PA. (Honorable Mention)
Freeman C* and RA Urban (2011). Sediment oxidation capabilities of four aquatic macrophytes. Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Altoona, PA.
Urban RA, JE Titus, and H Natel (2010). Positive feedback favors invasive macrophyte (2010). Ecological Society of America Annual National Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA.