James L. Seago, Jr.

Teaching and Research Interests


  Trapa in Oswego River

A cattail (Typha glauca)
marsh near the southern shore
of Lake Ontario.

Trapa natans, water chestnut,
is an
aggressive aquatic weed
in the Oswego River. 

My emphasis in undergraduate education at Oswego has been to involve students in Biology as science.  All of my students engage in undergraduate research in my lab courses in order to understand and appreciate plant biology as science.  I teach a variety of courses, including The Plant Kingdom, Problems in Biology, Plants & Society (a General Education course), Environmental & Population Biology (General Education courses), and Evolution.  Lab and/or field research can be conducted in The Plant Kingdom and the Problems in Biology courses, and such researches have occasionally resulted in publications or presentations by a few students, in conjunction with me.  I have also published articles on the roles of research in undergraduate education.

            My research centers around two major areas which are also related.  Most of my current research deals with the prominent structural adaptations of flowering plants to wetland environments: air space tissue or aerenchyma within the root cortex, and the two limiting root cortex barriers, the endodermis and exodermis.  My other major area of research is the study of root apical meristems of flowering plants in order to understand the patterns which are present in roots from the earliest to the most recently evolved flowering plants, with an emphasis on wetland plants.

            Along the south shore of Lake Ontario, we have an ideal setting to study wetland plants because there are so many major and important wetlands bordering Lake Ontario and the waterways, like the Oswego River, that flow into Lake Ontario.  Some of the plants my students and I work on are cattails, water lilies, marsh marigolds, water chestnuts, irises, floating hearts, reeds, bur-reeds, arrow leaves, etc.: a variety of native and invasive plants in the marshes, rivers, ponds, fens, ditches, etc. around the upstate Oswego/Lake Ontario region.

            Much of my recent work has been conducted with colleagues at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.  I also take students to Waterloo to conduct some of our studies on wetland plants using a Zeiss Axiophot Epifluorescence microscope and to SUNY ESF to work with Dr. Danilo Fernando and his Leica epifluorescence microscope.  I do not, however, limit my students to just wetland plants, and most students have actually conducted studies on important agricultural plants or plants from local terrestrial ecosystems like forests.   I encourage students to consider working on various kinds of projects of their own design that might involve some of the ecosystems around Lake Ontario.

            I give presentations in symposia or meetings at many international and national conferences, and students sometimes present their research with me at annual meetings of the Botanical Society of America.  The most recent include: the XXVII International Botanical Congress at Vienna, Austria (2005 with Willow Eyres), 7th International Wetlands Conference at Utrecht, Netherlands (2004), 6th International Root Conference at Stará Lesná, Slovakia (2003), Botanical Society of America meetings at Mobile, Alabama (2003 with Jeffrey Stiles), Madison Wisconsin (2002 with Jaime Welch), and Albuquerque, New Mexico (2001), etc.  And, I have also given talks at Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Ontario), University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario), and University of Bristol (Bristol, England).

Willow Eyres
Willow Eyres. 2005.
Poster: A survey of root and shoot adaptations of aquatic and amphibious Angiosperms.
XXVII International Botanical Congress, Vienna, Austria.