Tom in the field


Dr. Thomas R. Wentworth - Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor


Plant Community Ecology, Multivariate Analysis of Community Data, Classification of Natural Communities


Research Interests

My principal research interest is the description, classification, and study of environmental relationships of natural vegetation, with special emphases on conservation ecology and biodiversity. This broad interest has taken many directions, including studies of distributional consequences of plant biochemical differences, plant water relations, and plant mineral nutrition. Much of my work involves use of mathematical/statistical approaches to analysis of community data (numerical classification and gradient analysis). My dissertation research was a comparison of vegetation patterns on limestone and more acidic rocks in the mountains of southeastern Arizona, and I continue to have an interest in contrasts in vegetation found on varied substrates. A large part of my current research effort is focused on characterization of vegetation in the mountain and coastal plain regions of North Carolina. I am a co-founder and principal investigator of the Carolina Vegetation Survey, which has as its goal the thorough characterization of the natural vegetation of North and South Carolina using quantitative data on vegetation and environment from a statewide network of permanent plots.

Other research interests include population biology, competitive interactions, and molecular ecology of plants. I have worked frequently in the area of applied research and collaborate frequently with faculty in other departments at NC State University, such as Forestry and Horticulture. Through efforts of the Carolina Vegetation Survey, I have assisted state and federal agencies interested in restoration of degraded ecosystems. Other applied projects have included development of criteria for the use of vegetation in the designation of wetlands, studies of the effects of commercial logging and site preparation practices on regrowth of natural vegetation, and analysis of the impacts of pinestraw raking on natural vegetation in longleaf pine forests.


Selected Publications

  • Wentworth, T.R. 2013. Robert H. Whittaker. Oxford Bibliographies (forthcoming).

  • Peet, R.K., M.T. Lee, M.F. Boyle, T.R. Wentworth, M.P. Schafale, and A.S. Weakley. 2012. Vegetation plot database of the Carolina Vegetation Survey. In Vegetation databases for the 21st century. Edited by Dengler, J., Oldeland, J., Jansen, F., Chytrý, M., Ewald, J., Finckh, M., Glöckler, F., Lopez-Gonzalez, G., Peet, R.K., Schaminée, J.H.J. Biodiversity & Ecology 4:243–253. DOI: 10.7809/b-e.00081.

  • Wall, W.A., W.A. Hoffmann, T.R. Wentworth, J.B. Gray, and M.G. Hohmann. 2012. Demographic effects of fire on two endemic plant species in the longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem. Plant Ecology 213(7):1093-1104.

  • Douglas, N.A., W.A. Wall, Q-Y. Xiang, W.A. Hoffmann, T.R. Wentworth, J.B. Gray, and M.G. Hohmann. 2011. Recent vicariance and the origin of the rare, edaphically specialized Sandhills lily, Lilium pyrophilum (Liliaceae): evidence from phylogenetic and coalescent analyses. Molecular Ecology 20(14):2901-2915.

  • Wall, W.A., N.A. Douglas, Q-Y. Xiang, W.A. Hoffmann, T.R. Wentworth, and M.G. Hohmann. 2011. Evidence for range stasis during the latter Pleistocene for the Atlantic Coastal Plain endemic genus, Pyxidanthera Michaux. Molecular Ecology 19(19):4302-4314.

  • Wall, W.A., J.L. Hilton, T.R. Wentworth, J.B. Gray, M.G. Hohmann, and W.A. Hoffmann. 2010. Effects of light and temperature on germination of Pyxidanthera brevifolia Wells (Diapensiaceae). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 137(4):348-354.

  • Wall, W.A., N.A. Douglas, Q-Y. Xiang, W.A. Hoffmann, T.R. Wentworth, and M.G. Hohmann. 2010. Evidence for range stasis during the latter Pleistocene for the Atlantic Coastal Plain endemic genus, Pyxidanthera Michaux. Molecular Ecology 19(19):4302-4314.

  • Jeffries, S.B., T.R. Wentworth, and H.L. Allen. 2010. Long-term effects of establishment practices on plant communities across successive rotations in a loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation. Forest Ecology and Management 260(9):1548-1556.

  • Dimick, B.P., J.M. Stucky, W. Wall, M.J. Vepraskas, T.R. Wentworth, and C. Arellano. 2010. Plant-soil-hydrology relationships in three Carolina bays in Bladen County, North Carolina. Castanea 75(4):407-420.

  • Rothenberger, M.B., J.M. Burkholder, and T.R. Wentworth. 2009. Use of long-term data and multivariate ordination techniques to identify environmental factors governing estuarine phytoplankton species dynamics. Limnology and Oceanography 54(6):2107-2127.

  • Kelly, L.A., and T.R. Wentworth. 2009. Effects of mechanized pine straw raking on population densities of longleaf pine seedlings. Forest Ecology and Management 259:1-7.

  • Elam, C.E., J.M. Stucky, T.R. Wentworth, and J.D. Gregory. 2009. Vascular flora, plant communities, and soils of a significant natural area in the middle Atlantic coastal plain (Craven County, North Carolina). Castanea 74(1):53-77

  • Jackson, B.C., J.D. Pittillo, H.L. Allen, T.R. Wentworth, B.P. Bullock, and D.L. Loftis. 2009. Species diversity and composition in old growth and second growth rich coves of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Castanea 74(1):27-38.

  • Knebel, L., D.J. Robison, T.R. Wentworth, and K.D. Klepzig. 2008. Resin flow responses to fertilization, wounding and fungal inoculation in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) in North Carolina. Tree Physiology 28:847-853.

  • Knebel, L., and T.R. Wentworth. 2007. Influence of fire and southern pine beetle on pine-dominated forests in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, North Carolina. Castanea 72(4): 214-225.

  • Inman, F.M., T.R. Wentworth, M. Groom, C. Brownie, and R. Lea. 2007. Using artificial canopy gaps to restore Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) habitat in tropical timber plantations. Forest Ecology and Management 243(2-3):169-177.

  • Wyer, M., D. Murphy-Medley, E.I. Damschen, K.M. Rosenfeld, and T.R. Wentworth. 2007. No quick fixes: adding content about women to ecology course materials. Psychology of Women Quarterly 31(1):96-102.

  • Munishi, P.K.T., T.H. Shear, T. Wentworth, and R.P.C. Temu. 2007. Compositional gradients of plant communities in submontane rainforests of eastern Tanzania. Journal of Tropical Forest Science 19(1):33-45.

  • Vidra, R.L., T.H. Shear, and T.R. Wentworth. 2006. Testing the paradigms of exotic species invasion in urban riparian forests. Natural Areas Journal 26(4):339-350.

  • Franklin, M., J.M. Stucky, T.R. Wentworth, C. Brownie, and T. Roulston. 2006. Limitations to fruit and seed production by Lysimachia asperulifolia Poir. (Primulaceae), a rare plant species of the Carolinas. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133(3):403-411.

  • Damschen, E.I., K.M. Rosenfeld, M. Wyer, D. Murphy-Medley, T.R. Wentworth, and N.M. Haddad. 2005. Visibility matters:  Increasing student knowledge of women’s contributions to ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3:212-219.

  • Shelingoski, S., R.J. LeBlond, J.M. Stucky, and T.R. Wentworth. 2005. Flora and soils of Wells Savannah, an example of a unique savanna type. Castanea 70(2):101-114.

  • Fridley, J.D., R.K. Peet, T.R. Wentworth, and P.S. White. 2005. Connecting fine- and broad-scale patterns of species diversity: species-area relationships of the southeastern US flora. Ecology 68(5):1172-1177.

  • Gray, J.B., T.R. Wentworth, and C. Brownie. 2003. Extinction, colonization, and persistence of rare vascular flora in the longleaf pine – wiregrass ecosystem: Responses to fire frequency and population size.  Natural Areas Journal 23:210-219.

  • Kelly, L.A., T.R. Wentworth, and C. Brownie. 2002. Scaling species dynamics in Pinus palustris communities: Effects of pine straw raking. Journal of Vegetation Science 13:755-764.

  • Kelly, L.A., T.R. Wentworth, and C. Brownie. 2000. Short-term effects of pine straw raking on plant species richness and composition of longleaf pine communities. Forest Ecology and Management 127:233-247.

  • Clark, C.M., T.R. Wentworth, and D.M. O’Malley. 2000. Genetic discontinuity revealed by chloroplast microsatellites in eastern North American Abies (Pinaceae). American Journal of Botany 87:774-782.

  • Peet, R.K., T.R. Wentworth, and P.S. White. 1998. A flexible, multipurpose method for recording vegetation composition and structure.  Castanea 63:262-274.