Dr. Rebecca A. Urban

Rebecca A. Urban

Director of Environmental Science
Professor of Biology

Email: urban@lvc.edu

Phone: 717-867-6471

Office Location: Neidig-Garber 145

B.S., M.S., Ph.D., Binghamton University

Ecology, Botany, Conservation Biology

Research & Practice Areas:
Invasive Plant Ecology, Aquatic Biology

I am an invasive species ecologist with a background in aquatic biology. Much of my previous work has focused on investigating how a rootless carnivorous plant (Utricularia inflata) negatively impacts native species, with cascading changes to sediment and water column chemistry. I especially appreciate conducting research with undergraduate students at LVC and use Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) in most of my classes. I am an active member of 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.

Grants and Awards

  • 2018 PERC Campus Sustainability Champion. 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.
  • Exemplary Teaching Award (2017). Awarded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.
  • DEP Environmental Education Grant (2016). Invasive plant management within Lebanon Valley College’s natural areas.
  • Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid to student Cameron Venable (2013). The effects of coarse woody debris on small mammal populations.
  • Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve Research Grant (2010). How do functional groups of aquatic macrophytes influence sediment chemistry?
  • Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid to student Colbey Freeman (2009). Sediment oxidation capabilities of four aquatic macrophytes.
  • 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.
  • International Waterlily and Water Gardening Society Grant (2003). The effects of an introduced species (Utricularia inflata) on native Eriocaulon.


  • Rodgers, V, LJ Anderson, K Hopfensberger, J Kilgore, S Scanga, D Garneau, K Juneau, MB Kolozsvary, RA Urban, A Aguilera (2022).  Where is garlic mustard? Understanding the context for dense invasion of Alliaria petiolata.  BioScience 72(6): 521-537.  DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biac012
  • Anderson, LJ, JJ Dosch, ES Lindquist, TS McCay, J Machado, K Kuers, TB Gartner, KL Shea, C Mankiewicz, VL Rodgers, PA Saunders, RA Urban, JS Kilgore, AS Powell, BS Ramage, JM Steinweg, JN Straub, SL Bunnell, M Witkovsky-Eldred (2020). Assessment of student learning in undergraduate courses with collaborative projects from the Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN). Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research 4:15-29. DOI:10.18833/spur/4/1/2
  • Bowne, D, B Cosentino, L Anderson, S Cooke, J Dosch, D Garneau, T Fredericksen, MB Kolozscary, E Lindquist, J March, RA Urban, C Zimmerman (2019). A broader approach to understanding urbanization effects on freshwater turtles: a reply to Lambert and Steen (2019). Conservation Biology 33:1197-1199. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.13398
  • 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. DOI 10.1111/cob.13136
  • Urban, RA, ME Dwyer* (2016). Asexual reproduction and its potential influence on the distribution of an invasive macrophyte. Northeast Naturalist 23:408-419.  DOI: 10.1656/045.023.0308. *-undergraduate collaborator
  • 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.  DOI 10.1007/s00442-012-2496-4.
  • Freeman C*, RA Urban (2012).  Sediment oxidation capabilities of four aquatic macrophytes.  Journal of Freshwater Ecology 27:259-271. DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2011.647404. *-undergraduate collaborator
  • 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.
  • BIO 112 General Biology II
  • BIO 203 Conservation Biology
  • BIO 312 Ecology
  • BIO 302 Plant Diversity
  • COE 244CS The Web of Life: Humans in the Environment: Synthesis
  • COE 244NS Naturalist Studies of Pennsylvania
  • ENVI 560 Environmental Research
  • ENVI 130 Introduction to Geosystems