For Immediate Release                                                                   Contact: Tara Strickland
                                                                                                                  732.987.2291
                                                                                                                  tstrickland@georgian.edu

Invasive Species in Coastal Dunes & Maritime Forests Conference at Georgian Court University

Lakewood, N.J., May 26, 2009—Lakewood, N.J., May 26, 2009—Georgian Court University, the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium/NJ Sea Grant (NJMSC/NJSG), and the Cape May Plant Materials Center present the Invasive Species in Coastal Dunes & Maritime Forests Conference at Georgian Court University July 16–17 at the GCU Lakewood campus. The cost for registration for both days is $125 if registered by June 15, $150 after June 15 until July 7, and $160 after July 7. Options are also available for single-day attendance and for an optional field trip to see New Jersey’s coastal dunes and maritime forests on Wednesday, July 15. For more information on these options and registration materials, please visit the conference Web site at www.georgian.edu/dunes/index.htm.

“Along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, coastal dune and maritime forest habitats have been significantly altered or degraded by human activities,” says GCU biology professor Louise Wootton, Ph.D., who along with Peter Rowe of NJMSC/NJSG organized the conference. “Since many of the plant species found in these habitats are found nowhere else, reduction of these areas is making these species increasingly rare,” she continues. “Exotic and invasive species pose a major threat to ecological function in these dwindling habitats. This conference addresses this urgent situation.”

The conference gives professionals who deal with these ecosystems the opportunity to meet, exchange information, and share expertise. It will bring together interested academics, managers, and environmental professionals and practitioners to share information about effective management strategies and work together to generate recommendations for policies and strategies to effectively combat the spread of these invasive species.

The keynote speaker will be Randy Westbrooks, an invasive species prevention specialist from the U.S. Geological Survey in South Carolina.

In addition to the keynote and other invited speakers, panel discussions, and breakout sessions, there is room for a limited number of submitted presentations, as well as a poster session showcasing work that addresses one or more of the following conference themes:

  • Basic Biology of Invasive Species: Focus on the latest scientific advances (impacts, expansion, genetics, etc.) of key invasive species of dunes (e.g. Carex kobomugi and Vitex rotundifolia) and maritime forests (e.g. Rosa multiflora, Celastrus orbiculata, and Elaeagnus umbellata).
  • Management/Prevention: Focus on case studies, best management practices, and lessons learned with regard to management of invasive species in these habitats.
  • Policy: Focus on challenges and roadblocks in policy that limit response to coastal invasive species and on development of better policies for invasive species management in these unique environments.
  • Public Education: Focus on successful education and outreach programs about best practices for managing existing invasive species and avoiding future introductions in coastal habitats, and use of alternative native plantings, targeted at nurseries and landscape professionals, teachers, and homeowners, etc.

For more information, call Dr. Louise Wootton at 732.987.2349 or woottonL@georgian.edu.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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