Areas of Expertise
Research: Biometry, Community Ecology, Ecology of coastal communities, food web dynamics, insect ecology, coastal biology, butterflies and other interesting insect facts
Teaching: General Biology I & 2, Biometry, Community Ecology, Comparative Invertebrate Zoology
B.A. (Biology) Binghamton University (1993)
M.S. (Zoology) University of South Florida (1996)
Ph.D. (Biology) University of South Florida (2001)
Research in my lab centers on the ecology of coastal and upland communities such as salt marshes, wetlands, coastal dunes, and upland hammocks. I am primarily interested in how variation in environmental factors influences community dynamics such as plant and insect species diversity and abundance, and the relative importance of food sources versus predation and parasitism on herbivores.
A main focus of my research has been investigating the influence of nitrogen availability and salinity levels on the interactions among plants, herbivorous insects and their predators in salt marshes. Changes in these fundamentally important, but highly variable, environmental factors influence both plants and animals in an astounding array of direct and indirect ways. For example, increasing levels of environmental stress in the form of salinity can have a negative direct effect on herbivores by decreasing food quality, but a positive indirect effect by decreasing frequency of attack by predators and parasites.
The studies on coastal communities that my students and I conduct are important both theoretically and practically. We have applied our findings to evaluating current theories and models of community ecology, as well as to habitat restoration and species conservation. Current projects include examining the effects of elevated CO2 levels on a scrub oak forest ecosystem, investigating food web structure and species diversity in constructed wetlands, and studying the interplay between environmental stress levels and intraguild predation in salt marsh communities.
Publications & Presentations
Stiling, P., Moon, D.C., Rossi, A.M., Hungate, B.A., and Drake, B. 2011. Plant-insect interactions: The effects of, and recovery from, long-term elevated CO2. In: Drake, B. (ed.) Understanding Global Change: Effects of Long-term Elevated CO2 on a Native Oak Ecosystem. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington DC, in press.
Flynn, K.E., J. Moon, and D.C. Moon. 2011. Examining the factors influencing keystone interactions. Trends in Ecology, in press.
Flynn, K.E. and Moon, D.C. 2011. Effects of habitat complexity, prey type and abundance on intraguild predation between larval odonates. Hydrobiologia, in press.
Meyer, R.C., A.M. Rossi, D. Moon, and K. Stokes*. 2011. Restoration and plant composition in former pine tree farms restoration and plant composition in former pine tree farms. Southeastern Naturalist in press.
Moon, D.C. and J. Moon. 2011. Environmentally-mediated direct and indirect effects. Nature Knowledge 2(1):9-15.
Moon, D.C., A. Keagy, and J. Moon. 2010. Direct and indirect interactions. Nature Knowledge 1(11):9-12.
Moon, D.C. and J. Moon. 2010. Effects of environmental stress cascade up through four trophic levels in a salt marsh study system. Ecological Entomology 35(6):721-726.
Rossi, A.M., D.C. Moon, D. Casamatta, K. Smith, C. Bentzien, J. McGregor, A. Norwich, E. Perkerson, R. Perkerson, J. Savinon, K. Stokes and D. Dobberfuhl. 2010. Pilot study on the effects of partially restored riparian plant communities on habitat quality and biodiversity along first-order tributaries of the lower St. Johns River. Journal of Water Resource and Protection 2:771-782.
Moon, D.C., A.M. Rossi, J. Depaz, S. Elias, L. McKelvey, E. Wheeler, and J. Moon. 2010. Ants provide nutritional and defensive benefits to the carnivorous plant Sarracenia minor. Oecologia 164:185-192.
Younginger, B., J. Barnouti, and D.C. Moon. 2009. Interactive effects of mycorrhizal fungi, salt stress, and exploitative competition on the herbivores of Baccharis halimifolia. Ecological Entomology 34:580-587.
Stiling, P., Moon, D.C., Rossi, A., Hungate, B.A., Drake, B. 2009. Seeing the forest for the trees: long term exposure to elevated CO2 may increase herbivore densities. Global Change Biology 15:1895-1902.
Moon, D.C., A. M. Rossi, K. Stokes, and J. Moon. 2008. Effects of the pitcher plant mining moth Exyra semicrocea on the hooded pitcher plant Sarracenia minor. American Midland Naturalist 159(2):321-326.
Moon, D.C. and P. Stiling. 2006. Trade-off in oviposition strategy: choosing poor quality host plants reduces mortality from natural enemies for a salt marsh planthopper. Ecological Entomology 31:1-6.
Rossi, A.M., M. Murray, K. Hughes, M. Kotowski, D.C. Moon. 2006. Non-random distribution among a guild of parasitoids: implications for community structure and host survival. Ecological Entomology 31:743-750.
Hall, M.C., P. Stiling, D.C. Moon, B.G. Drake, and M.D. Hunter. 2006. Effects of insect herbivores on litter quality under elevated CO2. Global Change Biology 12:568-577.
Moon, D.C. and P. Stiling. 2005. Effects of nutrients and parasitism suppressed by within-trophic-level interactions. Ecological Entomology 30:642-649.Stiling, P. and D.C. Moon. 2005. Are trophodynamic models worth their salt? The relative roles of top-down and bottom-up forces along a salinity gradient in a Florida salt marsh. Ecology 86:1730-1736.
Hall, C., P. Stiling, D.C. Moon, B. Drake, and M.D. Hunter. 2005. The influence of elevated CO2 on host plant defensive chemistry and insect herbivore population densities. Journal of Chemical Ecology 31:267-286.
Stiling, P. and D.C. Moon. 2005. Quality or quantity: the direct and indirect effects of host plants on herbivores and their natural enemies. Oecologia 142: 413-420.
Moon, D.C. and P. Stiling. 2004. The relative importance of top-down and bottom-up forces in coastal versus upland tritrophic complexes. Ecology 85(9): 2709-2716.
Stiling, P., D.C. Moon, and D. Gordon. 2004. Endangered cactus restoration: mitigating the non-target effects of a biological control agent (Cactoblastis cactorum) in Florida. Restoration Ecology 12(4): 604-609.
Rossi, A. M., P. Stiling, D. C. Moon, M. V. Cattell, and B. G. Drake. 2004. Induced defensive response of myrtle oak to foliar insect herbivory in ambient and elevated CO2. Journal of Chemical Ecology 30:1143-1152.
Moon, D.C. and P. Stiling. 2003. The influence of legacy effects and recovery from perturbations in a tritrophic salt marsh complex. Ecological Entomology 28:457-466.
Stiling, P., D.C. Moon, M.D. Hunter, J.C. Colson, A.M. Rossi, G. Hymus, and B.G. Drake. 2002. Elevated CO2 lowers relative and absolute herbivore density across all species of a scrub oak forest. Oecologia 134:82-87.
Moon, D. C. and P. Stiling. 2002. The Effects of herbivore feeding mode on top-down effects in a salt marsh ecosystem. Oecologia 133(2): 243-253.
Moon, D. C. and P. Stiling. 2002. Top-down, bottom-up, or side to side? Within-trophic-level interactions modify trophic dynamics of a salt marsh herbivore. Oikos 98:480-490.
Moon, D. C. and P. Stiling. 2002. The effects of salinity and nutrients on a tritrophic salt marsh system. Ecology 83(9): 2465-2476.