Peter Alpert

Photograph of Peter Alpert


Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-4357
Office: 100A Clark Hall


B.A., Oxford University, 1974
M.A., Harvard University, 1977
Ph.D., Harvard University, 1982

Research Interests

Plant Ecology and Conservation Science

My research has two foci, one basic and one applied. The focus of my basic research is on how the life forms and functions of plants enable them to survive and grow in specific habitats. To address this topic, I have worked on desiccation tolerance, the ability of some organisms to survive unmeasurably low water potentials; on physiological integration between connected plants within clones, including the ability to share resources such as mineral nutrients and photosynthates; and on invasion ecology, particularly environmental controls of invasibility. A current project is testing the combined influence of disturbance, nutrient availability, and relative timing of establishment on the invasion of a coastal grassland by non-native species, and on re-invasion by natives.

The focus of my applied research is on the conservation of natural communities. My applied projects have included fellowships in conservation policy and public science education, and collaborations with conservation organizations on plant community inventory and restoration. During a two-year fellowship at the U.S. Agency for International Development, I concentrated on ways to combine biological conservation with local human community development in sub-Saharan Africa. In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy of California, Massachusetts, and Oregon, I have participated in the identification and inventory of coastal and riparian communities.

Representative Publications

Lin, H.-F., P. Alpert, and F.-H. Yu. Effects of fragment size and water depth on performance of stem fragments of the cultivated, invasive, amphibious, clonal plant Ipomoea aquatica. Aquatic Botany, In press.

Tharayil, N, P. Alpert, P. Bhowmik, and P. Gerard. Phenolic inputs by invasive species could impart seasonal variations in nitrogen pools in the introduced soils: a case study with Polygonum cuspidatum. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, In press.

Zhou, J., Dong,, B.-C., Alpert, P., Li, H.-L., Zhang, M.-X., Lei, G-C, and Yu, F.-H. Effects of soil nutrient heterogeneity on intraspecific competition in the invasive, clonal plant Alternanthera philoxeroides. Annals of Botany, In press.

Dong, B.-C., M.-X. Zhang, P. Alpert, G.-C. Lei, and F.-H. Yu. Effects of orientation on survival and growth of small fragments of the invasive, clonal plant Alternanthera philoxeroides. PLoSOne, In press.

Dong, B.-C., P. Alpert, W. Guo, and F.-H. Yu. 2012. Effects of fragmentation on the survival and growth of the invasive, clonal plant Alternanthera philoxeroides. Biological Invasions, 14: 1101-1110.

Li, J.-M., P. Alpert, and F.-H. Yu. 2012. Multiclonal tussocks in the grass Achnatherum splendens (Trinius) Nevskia (Poaceae). Flora , 207: (in press).

He, W.-M., P. Alpert, F.-H. Yu, L.-L. Zhang, and M. Dong. 2011. Reciprocal and coincident patchiness of multiple resources differentially affect benefits of clonal integration in two perennial plants. Journal of Ecology, 99: 1202-1210.

Alpert, P. 2010. Amending invasion with carbon: after 15 years, a partial success. Rangelands, 32: 12-15.

Aguilera, A., P. Alpert, J. Dukes, and R. Harrington. 2010. Ecosystem impacts of the invasive plant, Fallopia japonica. Biological Invasions, 12: 1243-1252.

Du, J., N. Wang, P. Alpert, M.-J. Yu, F.-H. Yu, and M. Dong. 2010. Clonal integration increases performance of ramets of the fern Diplopterigium glaucum in an evergreen forest in southeastern China. Flora, 205: 399-403.

Karalius, T. and P. Alpert. 2010. High abundance of introduced plants on ancient Native American middens. Biological Invasions, 12: 1125-1132.

Du, J., F.-H. Yu, P. Alpert, and M. Dong. 2009. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi reduce benefits of physiological integration in Trifolium repens. Annals of Botany, 104: 335-344.

Yu, F.-H., N. Wang, P. Alpert, W.-M. He, and M. Dong. 2009. Clonal integration in an introduced, invasive plant increases its spread into experimental communities and promotes their diversity. American Journal of Botany, 96: 183-189.

Tharayil, N., P. Bhowmik, P. Alpert, E. Walker, D. Amarasiriwardena, and B. Xing. 2008. Dual purpose secondary compounds: phytotoxins of Centaurea diffusa also facilitate nutrient uptake. New Phytologist, 181: 424-434.

Alpert, P. 2007. Invasive Species in the Pacific Northwest. Edited by P. D. Boersma, S. H. Reichard, and A. N. Van Buren. Quarterly Review of Biology, 82: 328:302-303 (invited book review).

Proctor, M. C. F., M. J. Oliver, A. J. Wood, P. Alpert, L. R. Stark, N. L. Cleavett, and B. D. Mishler. 2007. Desiccation tolerance in bryophytes: a review. Bryologist, 110: 595-621.

Roiloa, S. R., P. Alpert, N. Tharayil, G. Hancock, and P. Bhowmik. 2007. Capacity for division of labour in clones of Fragaria chiloensis is greater in patchier habitats. Journal of Ecology, 95: 397-405.

Sandler, H. A., P. Alpert and D. Schumaker. 2007. Invasion of natural and agricultural cranberry bogs by introduced and native plants. Plant Ecology, 190: 219-231.

Alpert, P. 2006. The advantages and disadvantages of being introduced. Biological Invasions, 8: 1523-1534.

Alpert, P. 2006. Sweet success: adding carbon to counter invasions by plants. Ecologically Based Invasive Plants Management, 2(1): 2-4, (invited article, not refereed).

Alpert, P. 2006. Constraints of tolerance: why are desiccation-tolerant organisms so small or rare? Journal of Experimental Biology, 209: 1575-1584.

Alpert, P. 2005. The limits and frontiers of desiccation-tolerant life. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 45: 685-695.

Alpert, P. 2005. Sharing the secrets of life without water. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 45: 683-684 (preface).

Alpert, P., S. Miao, M. Dong and X. Han. 2005. Meeting report: the Beijing International Symposium on Biological Invasions, 6-11 June 2004. Acta Phytoecologica Sinica, 29: 520-522.

Alpert, P. 2004. Managing the wild. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2: 494-495. (lead essay for set of essays).

Alpert, P., C. Holzapfel and C. Slominski. 2003. Differences in performance between genotypes with different degrees of resource sharing in Fragaria chiloensis. Journal of Ecology, 91: 27-35.

Alpert, P. and A. Keller. 2003. The ecology-policy interface. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1: 45-46 (lead essay for set of essays).

Holzapfel, C., and P. Alpert. 2003. Root cooperation in a clonal plant: connected strawberries segregate roots. Oecologia, 134: 72-77.

Kolb, A., and P. Alpert. 2003. Effects of salinity and nitrogen on competition between an invasive, non-native grass and a native congener. Biological Invasions, 5: 229-238.

Alpert, P., C. Holzapfel and J.M. Benson. 2002. Hormonal modification of resource sharing in the clonal plant Fragaria chiloensis. Functional Ecology, 16: 191-197.

Alpert, P. and M.J. Oliver. 2002. Drying without dying. Pages 3-43 in: M. Black and H. W. Pritchard (eds.). Desiccation and survival in plants: drying without dying. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.

Alpert, P., and E.L. Simms. 2002. Relative advantages of plasticity and fixity in different environments: when is it good for a plant to adjust? Evolutionary Ecology, 16: 285-297.

Kolb, A., P. Alpert, D. Enters and C. Holzapfel. 2002. Patterns of invasion within a grassland community. Journal of Ecology, 90: 871-881.

Alpert, P. 2001. The concept of stewardship. Pages 481-494 in: S. Levin, ed. Encyclopedia of biodiversity, Vol 5. Academic Press, New York.

Alpert, P. 2000. The discovery, scope, and puzzle of desiccation tolerance in plants. Plant Ecology, 151: 5-17.

Alpert, P. and J.L. Maron. 2000. Carbon addition as a countermeasure against biological invasion by plants. Biological Invasions, 2: 33-40.

Alpert, P. and Z. Tuba, guest eds. 2000. Desiccation tolerance in plants. Plant Ecology, 151(1). (special issue of journal).

Alpert, P. and Z. Tuba. 2000. Editorial: the cactus, the sunflower, and the moss. Plant Ecology 151: 1-4.

Alpert, P., E. Bone and C. Holzapfel. 2000. Invasiveness, invasibility, and the role of environmental stress in preventing the spread of non-native plants. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 3: 52-66.

Alpert, P. 1999. Clonal integration in Fragaria chiloensis differs between populations: ramets from grassland are selfish. Oecologia, 120: 69-76.

Alpert, P. 1999. Effects of clonal integration on plant plasticity in Fragaria chiloensis. Plant Ecology, 141: 99-106.

Alpert, P. and T.F. Colton. 1999. Public unawareness of biological invasions by plants. Wildland Weeds, 2(2): 10-12 (popular article).

Alpert, P., F.T. Griggs, and D.R. Peterson. 1999. Restoring riparian forests along the Sacramento River. Restoration Ecology 7: 360-368.

Murphy, K., P. Alpert, and D. Cosentino. 1999. Local impacts of a rural coal-burning generating station on lichen abundance in a New England forest. Environmental Pollution, 105: 349-354.

Alpert, P. and J. Kagan. 1998. The utility of community types: a practical review of riparian vegetation in the intermountain U.S. Natural Areas Journal, 18: 124-137.

Colton, T.F. and P. Alpert. 1998. Lack of public awareness of biological invasions by plants. Natural Areas Journal 8: 262-266.

Alpert, P. and J.F. Stuefer. 1997. Division of labour in clonal plants. Pages 137-154 in H. de Kroon and J. van Groenendael (eds.). The ecology and physiology of clonal plants. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Lewis, D.M. and P. Alpert. 1997. International trophy hunting and wildlife conservation in Zambia. Conservation Biology, 11: 59-68.

Alpert, P. 1996. Integrated conservation and development projects. Examples from Africa. BioScience, 46: 845-855.

Alpert, P. 1996. Nutrient sharing in natural clonal fragments of Fragaria chiloensis. Journal of Ecology 84: 395-406.

Alpert, P. and H.A. Mooney. 1996. Resource heterogeneity generated by shrubs and topography on coastal sand dunes. Vegetatio 122: 83-93.

Alpert, P. 1995. Does clonal growth increase plant performance in natural communities? Abstracta Botanica, 19: 11-16.

Alpert, P. 1995. Incarnating ecosystem management. Conservation Biology, 8: 952-955.

Alpert, P. 1995. Applications of ecological research to integrated conservation and development projects. Ecological Applications, 5: 857-860.

Alpert, P. 1995. The boulder and the sphere: subjectivity and implicit values in biology. Environmental Values, 4: 3-15.

Alpert, P., J. Lubchenco, and P.G. Risser. 1995. The Sustainable Biosphere Project of SCOPE. Ambio, 24: 133-134.

Alpert, P. 1994. USAID's expanded program to conserve biodiversity in sub-Saharan Africa. Ambio, 23: 167.

Alpert, P. and J.L. Maron. 1994. The M.S./Ph.D in natural resources and biology: a graduate program to link basic science and practical management. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 75: 42-44.

Root, T.L. and P. Alpert. 1994. Volunteers and the NBS. Science, 263: 1205. (letter).

Alpert, P. 1993. Conserving biodiversity in Cameroon. Ambio, 22: 44-49.

Alpert, P. 1993. Support for biodiversity research from the US Agency for International Development. BioScience, 43: 628-631.

Alpert, P., R. Lumaret and F. Di Giusto. 1993. Population structure inferred from allozyme analysis in the clonal herb Fragaria chiloensis (Rosaceae). American Journal of Botany, 80: 1002-1006.

Roy, J., M.L. Navas, L. SoniÈ and P. Alpert. 1992. Invasion of Mediterranean-type regions by annual species of Bromus. Pages 389-393 in J. A. Conesa and J. Recasens (eds.). Actes dei Simposi Internacional de Bot‡nica Pius Font i Quer, 1988. Vol. II. Fanerog‡mia. Institut d'Estudis Ilerdencs, Lleida, Spain.

Alpert, P. 1991. Nitrogen-sharing among ramets increases clonal growth in Fragaria chiloensis. Ecology, 72: 69-80.

Alpert, P., F.R. Warembourg and J. Roy. 1991. Transport of carbon among ramets of Eichhornia crassipes at normal and high levels of CO2. American Journal of Botany, 78: 1459-1466.

Friedman, D. and P. Alpert. 1991. Reciprocal transport between ramets increases growth of Fragaria chiloensis when light and nitrogen occur in separate patches but only if patches are rich. Oecologia, 86: 76-80.

Alpert, P. 1990. Water sharing among ramets in a desert population of Distichlis spicata. American Journal of Botany, 77: 1648-1651.

Alpert, P. 1990. Microtopography as habitat structure for mosses on rocks. Pages 120-140 in E. McCoy, S. A. Bell and H. Mushinsky (eds.). Habitat structure: the physical arrangement of objects in space. Chapman and Hall, London.

MÈthy, M., P. Alpert and J. Roy. 1990. Effects of light quality and quantity on growth of clonal groups of Eichhornia crassipes. Oecologia, 84: 265-271.

Alpert, P. 1989. Translocation in the nonpolytrichaceous moss Grimmia laevigata. American Journal of Botany, 76: 1524-1529.

Alpert, P. 1988. Survival of a desiccation-tolerant plant outside its observed microdistributional range. Journal of Bryology, 15: 219-227.

Alpert, P. and W.C. Oechel. 1987. Comparative patterns of net photosynthesis in an assemblage of mosses with contrasting microdistributions. American Journal of Botany, 74: 1787-1796.

Alpert, P. and H.A. Mooney. 1986. Resource sharing among ramets in the clonal herb, Fragaria chiloensis. Oecologia, 70: 227-233.

Alpert, P. 1985. Distribution quantified by microdistribution in an assemblage of saxicolous mosses. Vegetatio, 64: 131-139.

Alpert, P., E.A. Newell, C. Chu, J. Glyphis, S.L. Gulmon, D.Y. Hollinger, N.D. Johnson, H.A. Mooney and G. Puttick. 1985. Allocation to reproduction in the chaparral shrub, Diplacus aurantiacus. Oecologia, 66: 309-316.

Alpert, P. and W.C. Oechel. 1985. Carbon balance limits microdistribution of Grimmia laevigata, a desiccation-tolerant plant. Ecology 66: 660-669.

Godfrey, P.J. and P. Alpert. 1985. Racing to save the coastal heaths. The Nature Conservancy News 35(4): 10-13 (popular article).

Alpert, P. 1984. Applicability of extraction in DMSO to analysis of chlorophyll content in mosses. Bryologist, 87: 363-365.

Alpert, P. and W.C. Oechel. 1984. Microdistribution and water relations of bryophytes in Alaskan tussock tundra. Holarctic Ecology, 7: 111-118.

Miller, N.G. and P. Alpert. 1984. Plant associations and edaphic features of a high arctic mesotopographic setting. Arctic and Alpine Research 16:11-24.

Alpert, P. and W.C. Oechel. 1982. Bryophyte vegetation and ecology along a topographic gradient in montane tundra in Alaska. Holarctic Ecology, 5: 99-108.

Alpert, P. 1979. Desiccation of desert mosses following a summer rainstorm. Bryologist, 82: 65-71.

Schmid, R. and P. Alpert. 1977. A test of Burck's hypothesis relating anther dehiscence to nectar secretion. New Phytologist, 78: 487-498.

Alpert, P. 1974. Phenotypic variation in Pinus caribaea and P. oocarpa. In: J. Burley and D. C. Nikles (eds.). Tropical provenance and progeny research and international cooperation. Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford.

Technical reports:

Alpert, P., S. Cirillo, R. Haueber, K. Alderman, J. Lubchenco, and P. Risser. 1993. The Sustainable Biosphere Project: science and policy for the sustainable use of ecological systems. Project brief for the Scientific Committee On Problems of the Environment, Paris.

Alpert, P. and A. DeGeorges. 1992. Midterm evaluation of the Zambia Natural Resources Management Project. Report to the U. S. Agency for International Development, Lusaka, Zambia.

Alpert, P. 1992. Revenue sharing at Amboseli National Park. Report to the U. S. Agency for International Development, Nairobi, Kenya.

Alpert, P. 1991. Conservation of tropical forests and biodiversity in Cameroon. Report to the U. S. Agency for International Development, YaoundÈ, Cameroon.

Alpert, P. 1985. Lanphere-Christiansen Dunes. Evaluation for National Natural Landmark status. Report to the Oregon Natural Heritage Program for the U.S. National Park Service, Portland, Oregon.