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Professor, Water Plant Expertise Recruited by Chinese University

 A pesky invasive species on the Oswego River is causing just as much trouble in its native Asia and connection called for a longtime Oswego professor to observe the problem first hand.

Seago in ChinaProfessor James Seago shared his decade-plus research of water chestnuts and willows this July at Yangtze University, in the Hubei province of China in July.

"I was the first foreign guest lecturer they (the department of horticulture and gardening) had," said Seago, who spent a week visiting the university and surrounding cities.

Yangtze faculty first reached out to Seago via e-mail in 2009, asking for his review of their research on flood plain grasses. He would co-author an article with them, which was published in FLORA, one of the world's oldest botanical journals.

A 43-year member of Oswego's faculty, Seago focuses on the plant's advanced filtration properties that allow it to flourish despite poor water conditions or even exposure to herbicides.

It's an especially big concern in China where the needs of fast-growing cities have drastically altered natural inhibitors, such as annual flooding. Similarly, the water chestnut issues in the Oswego River were fueled by decades of development that changed the river's patterns, Seago contends.

His career-long studies of Great Lakes wetlands previously drew Seago to Charles University in Prague and other international locales. The relationships he's developed over the years have many benefits, Seago said.

"That enables contacts for students," Seago said. Former student Willow Eyres '05 presented with Seago at a conference in Vienna, Austria, he said as an example.

Seago plans to author another article with his newest international contacts at Yangtze University later this year.

— Shane M. Liebler

Cunyu Zhou, far left, and Chaodong Yang, far right, welcomed Professor James Seago and his wife, Marilyn, middle, to Yangtze University. Seago's name is visible on the banner behind them. He was the first foreign lecturer ever brought in by department of horticulture and gardening at Yangtze.

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