Biology & Marine Biology

Faculty & Staff

Zachary T. Long, Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2004
M.S., Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolution Program, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1999
B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1994
Friday Hall 2067 | (910) 962-2828 | 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403-5915

I combine theoretical and experimental approaches to investigate how interactions among species allow for or prevent their coexistence, and how the number and identity of coexisting species (i.e., diversity) influences the collective performance or functioning of ecosystems.

Current investigations center on two main questions:

  • Does the size distribution of organisms determine the temporal stability of a food web?
    • Currently, we are incorporating metabolic demands and size based consumption into models of food webs to investigate how consumers influence the stability of lower trophic levels and entire ecosystems, and how generalist versus specialist consumers influence plant production and stability.
  • How does species diversity influence functioning?
    • We are testing whether some of the insights from previous biodiversity - ecosystem functioning research will allow us to more effectively restore coastal dune plant communities.


Long, Z. T. S. R. Fegley, and C. H. Peterson. 2013. Fertilization and plant diversity accelerate the restoration of dune plant communities. Plant Ecology 214: 1419-1429

Long, Z. T. S. R. Fegley, and C. H. Peterson. 2013. Suppressed recovery of plant community composition and biodiversity on dredged fill of a hurricane-induced inlet through a barrier island. Journal of Coastal Conservation 17: 493-501.

Long, Z. T., M I. O'Connor, and J. F. Bruno. 2012 The effect of predation and intraspecific aggregation on prey diversity at multiple spatial scales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 416-417:115-120.

Taggart J. B. and Z. T. Long. 2012. Soil factors in three populations of endangered golden sedge (Carex lutea LeBlond). Castanea 77:136-145.

Long, Z. T., S. J. Leroux, T. Faninger, and M. Loreau. 2012. Interactive effects of enrichment and the manipulation of intermediate hosts by parasites on infection prevalence and food web structure. Ecological Modelling 228: 1-7.

Long, Z. T., J. F. Bruno, and J. E. Duffy. 2011. Food chain length and omnivory determine the stability of a marine subtidal food web. Journal of Animal Ecology 80: 586-594

Hirsh, M. D., Long, Z. T and B. Song. 2011 Anammox bacterial diversity in various aquatic ecosystems based on the detection of hydrazine oxidase genes (hzoA/hzoB) Microbial Ecology 61:264-276

Moran, E. R., Reynolds, P. L., Ladwig, L. M., O'Connor, M. I., Long, Z. T., and Bruno, J. F. 2010. Predation intensity is negatively related to plant species richness in a benthic marine community. Marine Ecology Progress Series 400: 277-282.

Long, Z. T., J. F. Bruno, and J. E. Duffy. 2007. Biodiversity mediates productivity by different mechanisms at adjacent trophic levels. Ecology 88: 2821-2829.

Long, Z. T., T. Pendergast, and W. P. Carson. 2007. Deer influence sapling dynamics by modifying relationships between growth and mortality. Forest Ecology and Management 252: 230-238.

Long, Z. T., O. L. Petchey, and R. D. Holt. 2007. The effects of immigration and environmental variability on the persistence of an inferior competitor. Ecology Letters 10: 574-585.

Long, Z. T., C. F. Steiner, J. A. Krumins, and P. J. Morin. 2006. Species richness and allometric scaling jointly determine biomass in model aquatic food webs. Journal of Animal Ecology 75: 1014-1023.

Bruno, J. F., S. C. Lee, J. S. Kertesz, R. C. Carpenter, Z. T. Long, and J. E. Duffy. 2006. Partitioning the effects of algal species identity and richness on benthic marine primary production. Oikos 115: 170-178.

Krumins, J. A., Z. T. Long, C. F. Steiner, and P. J. Morin. 2006. Indirect effects of food web diversity and productivity on bacterial community function and composition. Functional Ecology 20: 514-521.

Steiner, C. F., Z. T. Long, J. A. Krumins, and P. J. Morin. 2006. Population and community resilience in multitrophic communities. Ecology 87(4): 996-1007.

Long, Z. T., and P. J. Morin. 2005. The effects of organism size and community composition on ecosystem functioning. Ecology Letters 8: 1271-1282.

Steiner, C. F., Z. T. Long, J. A. Krumins, and P. J. Morin. 2005. Temporal stability of aquatic food webs: partitioning the effects of species diversity, species composition and enrichment. Ecology Letters 8(8): 819-828.

Long, Z. T., C. L. Mohler, and W. P. Carson. 2003. Extending the resource concentration hypothesis to plant communities. Ecology 84(3): 652-665.

Long, Z. T. and I. Karel. 2002. Resource specialization determines whether history influences community structure. Oikos 96(1): 62-70.

Long, Z. T., W. P. Carson, and C. J. Peterson. 1998. Can disturbance create refugia from herbivores: an example with hemlock regeneration on treefall mounds. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 125(2):165-168.