Dennis  Albert


Dennis Albert
Assistant Professor (Senior Research), Landscape and Wetland Ecologist

Research Interests

  1. Development of regional landscape ecosystem classifications based on abiotic factors to aid in the inventory, study, and management of biota.
  2. The use of landscape approaches to understand natural processes and disturbance regimes, as well as land-management, restoration, and resource utilization.
  3. Research on biomechanical and ecological limitations of wetland plants.
  4. Horticultural propagation of wetland plants for restoration of native wetlands.


OSU Campus
Department of Horticulture
Environmental Science
OSU Campus
4017 Agricultural and Life Sciences Building
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States
(541) 737-7557


My research focus began with the development of a state-wide ecoregional classification for Michigan, and then expanded to multi-state collaboration with state and federal agencies in MN and WI to develop a three-state regional map and classification.  More localized Landtype-Association mapping was also conducted with federal and state agencies in MN and WI.

As part of the ecoregional mapping of Michigan, I investigated the original land survey notes of the state and my staff and I created a set of digital and paper maps of Michigan's original vegetation (1816-1856), which provide the basis for conducting broad-scale land-use and vegetation change analyses.  These maps were republished as a Michigan road atlas to provide broader availability to the public.

As lead ecologist for the Michigan Heritage program, I developed state-wide plant community classifications and conducted state-wide inventories of the state's plant communities, including savannas, wet prairies, old-growth forests, dunes, Great Lakes bedrock shorelines, and Great Lakes wetlands.  The information from these studies were used for conservation, restoration, and acquisition purposes, and a focal interest was to convert these studies into books and pamplets aimed at Michigan's general public.

Another area of focus of my research was coastal Great Lakes wetlands, which we began studying in Michigan and eventually continued throughout the US Great Lakes, and then expanded in collaboration with Environment Canada.  These studies have led to the development of a widely used hydrogeomorphic classification, digital mapping of all Great Lakes wetland, creation of plant and animal metrics for evaluating wetland quality, and ongoing baseline wetland monitoring.  A related ongoing research interest is regional wetland study, including involvement in restoration efforts in MI and OR.

A recent focus of my research has been exploring alternative uses of invasive wetland plants, especially along the Great Lakes shorelines.  These studies have led to experimental harvest of hybrid cattail, documenting the response of native plants to the harvest. These studies have expanded to include sites along the St. Marys River, northern Lake Huron, and Saginaw Bay, involving diverse partners, including US Fish and Wildlife Refuges, Cheboygan City government, the Michgan Department of Natural Resources, and biologists from the Sault Ste. Marie tribe.

Research has also involved collaborations with the Oregon Flora Project, including participation in creating APPS for learning to identify Oregon plants, writing the Ecological Overview for the new (2015) Oregon Flora, and investigating the creation of better markets for Oregon native plant growers by providing educational materials for professional landscapers, retailer nurseries, and home gardeners.

Ongoing Projects

2014-2015 Collaboration between native plant growers and Oregon Flora Project.  A collaborative project with Linda Hardison of Botany and Plant Pathology’s Oregon Flora Project, funded by an Oregon Department of Agriculture Block Grant. 

2010-2013 Restoring invaded wetlands to promote biodiversity and energy: Cattails to methane, a USEPA-funded project in collaboration with Loyola University, Chicago.

2010-2015 Implementing Great Lakes Coastal Monitoring, a USEPA-funded project in collaboration with 9 other Canadian and US universities from the Great Lakes region.



2014-2013: Lecturer, University of Michigan Biological Station. Rivers, Lakes, and Wetlands (EEB 320)

2013-2012: Lecturer, University of Michigan Biological Station. Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands (EEB 405)

2011-2006: Lecturer, University of Michigan Biological Station. Forest Ecosystems (EEB 348).

2011: Field training of students from OSU, Central Michigan U, U of Wisconsin Superior and Milwaukee, Loyola U Chicago, and SUNY Brockport in wetland plant sampling protocols (USEPA) and identification of aquatic macrophytes.

2009-2011: Hort 507 (Seminar Series and Graduate Seminars), Hort 512 (Graduate Seminar).

2005-2002: Adjunct Professor in Zoology and Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University.

2005-1997: Field training of Michigan State University students in identification of aquatic macrophytes.

2005: Training for Trainers, Sea Grant Great Lakes wetland training module.

2005-2001: Ecology field training for Wildlife and Forestry staff, MI DNR.

2004-2003: Wetland training module development and field training for MI DEQ and MDOT wetland permit staff.

2003-1999: Field training of McMasters University students in identification of aquatic macrophytes.

1984-1998: Lecturer, University of Michigan. Forest Ecology (NR 435).



Ph.D. Forest Ecology, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, 1990.
M.S. Forest Ecology, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources, 1983.
B.S. Botany, University of Michigan, Department of Evolutionary Ecology and Biology, 1981.

Professional Experience

Assistant Professor/Senior Research-Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University, 2009-present.

Senior Research Ecologist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI); MIchigan State University Extension 2008-2005.

Director/Ecologist, Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center (ORNHIC), Oregon State University 2005-2004.

Interim Director, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, 2003.

Senior Ecologist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory of The Nature Conservancy, 2000-1987.

Associate Program Ecologist, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, 1987-1986.

Teaching Assistant, School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, 1983-1982.

Graduate Research Assistant, School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, 1981-1986.

I accept graduate students for Horticulture
I can serve on graduate committees


*Lemein, T., D.T. Cox, D.A. Albert, N. Mori. 2015. Accuracy of image analysis compared to field methodologies for measuring emergent vegetation morphology. (accepted).

Lishawa, S.C., B.A. Lawrence,D.A. Albert, N.C. Tuchman. 2015. Biomass harvest of invasive Typha promotes plant diversity in a Great Lakes coastal wetland. Restoration Ecology (electronically available).

Cohen, J. G, M. A. Kost, B. S. Slaughter, and D. A. Albert.  2014.  A Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, MI.

Albert, D. A., D. T. Cox, T. Lemein, and H. Yoon. 2013. Characterization of Schoenoplectus pungens in a Great Lakes coastal wetland and a Pacific Northwestern Estuary. Wetlands: 33(3) 445-458.

Lishawa, S.C., Albert, D.A., Tuchman, N.C. 2010. Natural water level decline drives invasive species establishment and vegetation change in Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Wetlands: 30(6) 1085-1097

Marr, J.K., Penskar, M.R., and D.A. Albert. 2009. Rare plant species and plant community types of Manitou Island and Gull Rock, Keweenaw County, MI. Michigan Botanist: 48: 97-120.

Burton, T. M., D. G. Uzarski, and D. A. Albert. 2009. Ecology and Bioassessment of Michigan’s Inland Wetlands. A Manual for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Uzarski, D. G., T. M. Burton, and D. A. Albert. 2009. A Manual for Bioassessment of Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands. Manual for Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

Albert, D. A., and P. J. Comer. 2008. Atlas of Early Michigan’s Forests, Grasslands, and Wetlands: An interpretation of the 1816-1856 General Land Office Surveys. Michigan State University Press. East Lansing, MI.

Albert, D. A., Tepley, A. J., and L. D. Minc. 2007. Plants as indicators for Lake Michigan’s Great Lakes coastal drowned river wetland health. In Thomas P. Simon and Paul M. Stewart (Eds.), Coastal Wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: Heath, Habitat, and Indicators, Authorhouse Press, Bloomington, IN.

Detenbeck, N. E., Moffett, M. F., Pearson, M., Simon, T. P., and D. A. Albert. 2007. Flow and nutrient-based classification of Lake Michigan coastal riverine wetlands. In Thomas P. Simon and Paul M. Stewart (Eds.), Coastal Wetlands of the Laurentian Great Lakes: Health, Habitat, and Indicators, Authorhouse Press, Bloomington, IN.


Outreach and Extension

In 2011-2012, I began working with learning and physically disabled clients of Cornerstone Associates and Colorwheel Gardens to investigate propagation of mosses for green roofs and ornamental purposes.

In 2013 and 2014, I participated in activities to broaden understanding of Great Lakes coastal wetland ecosystems. These activities included providing copies of my book “Between Land and Lake”, which describes Great Lakes coastal wetlands, and maps of Michigan’s original vegetation to high schools in several coastal communities along Lakes Michigan, Huron, Superior, and Erie.  I also working with a Cedarville High School teacher interested in developing a locally based environmental institute to engage high school students and community members.  I also met with Emmet County’s (MI) Parks and Outdoor Recreation Department to develop a conservation plan for ecologically sensitive Great Lakes coastal wetlands and dunes.

In the spring of 2014, I began collaboration with research biologists of Sault Ste. Marie tribe and Native American faculty on tribal restoration of bulrush beds along the St. Marys River, MI. This collaboration is ongoing and restoration began during the summer of 2015, with pre-treatment plant measurement and harvest of  several acres of hybrid cattail. As part of this a summer short course on Great Lakes coastal wetlands was offered for Native American students at Bay Mills Community College.

Since the fall of 2014, I participated in planning calls with the USFWS Refuge at St. Charles, MI to explore harvesting of invasive Typha x glauca (hybrid cattail) for conversion to alternative products, including biofuels, incorporation into commercial compost, or utilization as soil amendments on nearby blueberry farms.  Several Saginaw Basin blueberry and fruit farmers, as well as a local compost producer have expressed interest in participation in the project, and harvest is now slated to begin in the summer of 2016 with funding from a WIN watershed enhancement grant. The Nature Conservancy has also expressed interest to incorporate the invasive plant harvests into their Saginaw basin-wide effort to reduce phosphorus enrichment of Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron.

In June 2015, our "Team Typha" invasive plant harvest team met with other researchers from Manitoba, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Ohio who are experimenting with harvest of invasive plants for energy production or nutrient extraction, with a follow conference scheduled for February 2016 in Manitoba. Later in the summer we harvested several acres of both hybrid cattail and tall reed with a Softrak near Cleveland, Ohio, several sites in northern Michigan, and at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and began experiments with wet and dry anaerobic digestion to produce biogas, compaction and drying to produce heating pellets, and composting with manure from a dairy farm.

We have also begun meeting with Oregon's native plant growers, retail nurseries, and Master Gardeners to improve the marketing of native plants and to provide more information to home gardeners.  The information, which will be housed on the Oregon Flora Project's website, will include habitat, germination and propagation tips, and retail-nursery availability for Oregon's most readily available native plants.  Workshops are beginning in early 2016.

Fun Fact

plays flute and contra dances