Stephen M. Smith, Ph.D.

Stephen Smith working in salt marsh die-back area.

Name: Stephen M. Smith

Official Title: Plant Ecologist

Phone: 508-487-3262; 0508



B.S. Biology (minor in Chemistry), Florida State University, 1989

M.S. Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 1992

Ph.D. Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 1997

View Stephen Smith's full CV


Research Interests and Lab Responsibilities

Stephen Smith is a Plant Ecologist at the Cape Cod National Seashore, with expertise in plant physiology and plant community ecology.Stephen received a B.S. degree from Florida State University and an M.S and a Ph.D. from the University of Miami. After spending 5 years working on the restoration of the Florida Everglades, he assumed his current position with the National Park Service in 2002. Stephen's current activities are focused on understanding the dynamics of spatial and temporal variability within plant communities in all the different ecosystems (forests, heathlands, dune grasslands, vernal ponds, lakes, salt marshes, lagoons, nearshore marine systems) within the Seashore. A large part of this work involves assessments of salt marsh ecosystem structure and function in response to tidal restoration and causes and consequences of salt marsh dieback.Other responsibilities include exotic and rare plant management.


  • Smith, S.M., M.C. Tyrrell, K. Medeiros, S. Fox, M. Adams, C. Mejia, A. Dijkstra, S. Janson, and M. Tanis. In prep. Hypsometry of Cape Cod Salt Marshes (Massachusetts, USA) and Predictions of Marsh Vegetation Changes in Response to Sea Level Rise. Journal of Coastal Research
  • Smith, S.M., and C.W. Green. 2015. Sediment Suspension and Elevation Loss Triggered by Atlantic Mud Fiddler Crab (Uca pugnax) Bioturbation in Salt Marsh Dieback Areas of Southern New England. Journal of Coastal Research 31:88-94.
  • Smith, S.M. 2015. Does dieback of salt marsh vegetation induced by a native grapsid crab improve habitat suitability for the Atlantic mud fiddler? Journal of Crustacean Biology (in press)
  • Smith, S.M., A.R. Thime, B. Zilla, and K. Lee. 2015. Responses of Typha angustifolia L. (Narrowleaf Cattail) to combinations of salinity and nutrient additions: implications for coastal marsh restoration. Ecological restoration (in press)
  • Smith, S.M. and K. Lee. 2015. The influence of prolonged flooding on the growth of Spartina alterniflora in Cape Cod (Massachusetts, USA) salt marshes. Aquatic Botany (in review)
  • Smith, S.M. 2015. Vegetation change in salt marshes of Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts, USA) between 1984 and 2013. Wetlands 35:127-136.
  • Thiet, R. K., Kidd, E., Wennemer, J. M., & Smith, S. M. 2014. Molluscan Community Recovery in a New England Back-Barrier Salt Marsh Lagoon 10 Years after Partial Restoration. Restoration Ecology 22:447-455.
  • Thiet, R.K., A. Doshas, and S.M. Smith. In press. Effects of algal crusts and moss and lichen mats on soil moisture and productivity of key successional dune plants Deschampsia flexuosa and Morella pensylvanica on Cape Cod, MA, USA. Plant and Soil (DOI 10.1007/s11104-013-2002-8)
  • Thiet, R.K., S.M. Smith, Victoria Rubino, Rebecca Clark, Krista Lee, and Judith Oset. 2014. Soft shell clams (Mya arenaria) contribute to macroalgal blooms in a partially-restored Gulf of Maine back-barrier lagoon. Ecological Restoration 32:46-58
  • Smith, S.M., M.C. Tyrell, and M. Congratel. 2013. Palatability of salt marsh forbs and grasses to the purple marsh crab (Sesarma reticulatum) and the potential for re-vegetation of herbivory-induced salt marsh dieback areas in Cape Cod (Massachusetts, USA). Wetlands Ecology and Management 21:263-275.
  • Smith, S.M. 2013. Substrate properties affect the recovery of Spartina alterniflora from drought and herbivory. In: Carlos Busso (ed), From seed germination to young plants: ecology, growth and environmental influences, Chapter 6. Nova Publishers.
  • Timm, B.C., S.M. Smith, and S.E. Greenspan. 2014. Remotely-sensed mapping of Ammophila spp. distribution and density at Cape Cod National Seashore. Journal of Coastal Research 30:862-867.
  • Smith, S.M. and K. Medeiros. 2013. Manipulation of Water Levels to Facilitate Vegetation Change in a Coastal Lagoon Undergoing Partial Tidal Restoration (Cape Cod, Massachusetts). Journal of Coastal Research 29:93-99.
  • Smith, S.M. and K. Lee. 2012. Nitrogen-stimulated growth of algae in surface water samples collected from freshwater kettle ponds of Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts, U.S.A.). Journal of Freshwater Ecology 27: 151-157.
  • Smith, S.M., K.C. Medeiros, and M. Tyrrell. 2012. Hydrology, herbivory, and the decline of Spartina patens (Aiton) Muhl. in outer Cape Cod salt marshes (Massachusetts, USA). Journal of Coastal Research 28: 602-612.
  • Smith, S.M and M.C. Tyrrell. 2012. Effects of mud fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax) on the recruitment of halophyte seedlings in salt marsh dieback areas of Cape Cod (Massachusetts, USA). Ecological Research 27: 233–237
  • Smith, S.M., K.C. Medeiros, and H.K. Bayley. 2012. Water temperature as a limiting factor in the colonization of a partially-restored coastal lagoon by a macroinvertebrate herbivore: implications for macroalgal control. Ecological Restoration 29: 243-251.
  • Smith, S.M. and R.S. Warren. 2012. Vegetation responses to tidal restoration. Chapter 4, pp. 59-80. In: C. Roman and D. Burdick (eds), Restoring Tidal Flow to Salt Marshes: A Synthesis of Science and Management. Island Press: Washington, DC.
  • Smith, S.M., J.A. Leeds, P.V. McCormick, P. Brian Garrett, and M. Darwich. 2009. Sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) responses as early indicators of low level phosphorus enrichment in the Florida Everglades. Wetlands Ecology & Management 17:291-302.
  • Valiela, I., E. Kinney, J. Culbertson, E. Peacock, and S. Smith. 2009. Global losses of mangroves and salt marshes: Magnitudes, causes and consequences. In C. Duarte (ed.) Global Loss of Coastal Habitats: Magnitudes, Causes, and Consequences. Fundacion BBVA. Madrid.
  • Smith, S.M. 2009. Multi-decadal changes in salt marshes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts: a photographic analysis of vegetation loss, species shifts, and geomorphic change. Northeastern Naturalist 16(2):183-208.
  • Smith, S.M., C.T. Roman, M-J. James-Pirri, K. Chapman, J. Portnoy, and E. Gwilliam 2009. Responses of plant communities to incremental hydrologic restoration of a tide-restricted salt marsh in southern New England (Massachusetts, U.S.A.). Restoration Ecology 17: 606-618.
  • Forman, S.L., Z. Sagintayev, M. Sultan, S. Smith, R. Becker, M. Kendall, and L. Marìn. 2008. The 20th century migration of parabolic dunes and wetland formation at Cape Cod National Sea Shore, MA: Landscape response to a legacy of environmental disturbance. The Holocene, Vol. 18, No. 5, 765-774.
  • Smith, S.M., M. Hanley, and K.T. Killingbeck. 2008. Development of vegetation in dune slack wetlands of Cape Cod National Seashore (Massachusetts, USA). Plant Ecology 194: 243-256.
  • Smith, S.M. 2007. Removal of salt-killed vegetation during tidal restoration of a New England salt marsh: effects on wrack movement and the establishment of native halophytes. Ecological Restoration 24:268-273.
  • Smith, S.M. and S. Warren. 2006. Determining ground surface topography in tidal marshes using water marks. Journal of Coastal Research 23: 265-274.
  • Smith, S.M. and K.D. Lee. 2006. Responses of periphyton to artificial nutrient enrichment in freshwater kettle ponds of Cape Cod National Seashore. Hydrobiologia 571:201-211.
  • Leeds, J.A, S. Newman, and S.M. Smith. 2006. Factors affecting seed germination of Eleocharis cellulosa and Rhyncospora tracyi from the northern Everglades. Wetlands 26(2):368-375.
  • Smith, S.M. 2004. Manual control of Phragmites on pondshores of Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, USA. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 43: 50-56.
  • Smith, S.M., R.R. Abed, F.Garcia-Pichel. 2004. Biological soil crusts of sand dunes in Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts, USA. Microbial Ecology 48:200-208.
  • Portnoy, J.W., Roman, C.T., Smith, S.M., and Gwilliam, E. 2003. Estuarine habitat restoration at Cape Cod National Seashore—the Hatches Harbor prototype: Park Science, v. 22, p. 51-58.
  • Smith, S.M., D.E. Gawlik, K. Rutchey, G.E. Crozier, and S. Gray. 2003. Assessing drought-related ecological risk in the Florida Everglades. Journal of Environmental Management 68:355-366.
  • Leeds, J.A., S.M. Smith, P. Brian Garrett, 2002. Seedbanks and their potential role in the vegetation dynamics of a northern Everglades marsh. Florida Scientist: Vol. 65(1): 16–34.
  • Smith, S.M., S. Newman, P.B. Garrett and J.A. Leeds. 2001. Growth of southern cattail (Typha domingensis, Pers.) in response to fire-related soil conditions in a northern Everglades marsh. Wetlands 21(3): 363-369.
  • Smith, S.M., S. Newman, P.B. Garrett and J.A. Leeds. 2001. Differential Effects of Surface and Peat Fire on Soil Constituents in a Degraded Wetland of the Northern Florida Everglades. Journal of Environmental Quality 30: 1998-2005.
  • Smith, S.M., P.V. McCormick, J.A. Leeds, and P.B. Garrett. 2001. Constraints of seedbank species composition and water depth for restoring vegetation in the Florida Everglades, USA. Restoration Ecology 10(1): 138-145.
  • Smith, S.M., P.B. Garrett, J.A. Leeds, J. Brewer, and P.V. McCormick. 2000. Observations on the growth of white vine (Sarcostemma clausum) in the northern Florida Everglades. Florida Scientist 63: 61-72.
  • Smith, S.M., P.B. Garrett, J.A. Leeds, and P.V. McCormick. 1999. Evaluation of a non-destructive field method for estimating live and dead aboveground biomass in monospecific wetland macrophyte stands using a hand-held digital camera. Aquatic Botany 67: 69-77.
  • Smith, S.M. and S.C. Snedaker. 1999. Hypocotyl function in seedling development of the Florida red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle, L. Biotropica 30: 677-685.
  • Smith, S.M. and D.W. Lee. 1999. Effects of light quantity and quality on early seedling development in the Florida red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L. Bulletin of Marine Science 65(3): 795-806.
  • Davenport, T.L. and S.M. Smith. 1997. Evaluation of a Potential Strategy to Delay ‘Keitt’ Mango (Mangifera indica) Flowering in Sub-tropical Latitudes. Plant Growth Regulator Society of America Quarterly 25(3): 114-129 (winner of the Abbott Award for best article published in the PGRSA Quarterly in 1997).
  • Smith, S.M., Y.Y. Yang, Y. Kamiya and S.C. Snedaker. 1996. Effects of environment and gibberellins in the early growth and development of the red mangrove, Rhizophora mangle L. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation 20: 215-223.
  • Smith, S.M. and S.C. Snedaker. 1995. Salinity responses in two populations of viviparous red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) seedlings. Biotropica 27(4): 435-440.
  • Smith, S.M. and S.C. Snedaker. 1995. Developmental responses of established red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle, L.) seedlings to relative levels of photosynthetically active and ultraviolet b radiation. Florida Scientist 58(1): 55-60.
  • Smith, S.M., S.C. Snedaker, and T.L. Davenport. 1995. Observations on the effects of naphthaleneacetic acid and gibberellin on the floating behavior and early development of red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle L.) seedlings. Journal of Tropical Ecology 36(1): 129-135.
  • Smith, S.M. and G.L. Hitchcock. 1995. Nutrient regulation of phytoplankton on the Louisiana Shelf. Estuaries 17(4): 740-753.

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