EEB Home | Collections | George Safford Torrey Herbarium
Robert S. Capers, Plant collections manager (Ph.D., UConn)

Office: Biology Physics Building, Room 125

Tel: 860-486-1889

Fax: 860-486-6364


Postal Address:
The University of Connecticut
75 N. Eagleville Road, Unit 3043
Storrs, CT 06269-3043


I study plant community structure and dynamics - what plants occur in particular areas (and why others do not) and how (and why) that changes over time. I do this research in temperate marshes and lakes, focusing on the relatively simple communities of submerged aquatic plants, and in tropical forests, focusing on the hyperdiverse communities of tree seedlings, which represent the future of the forest. Most recently, I have begun to study alpine and subalpine plant communities of the Northeast. Here we are looking for evidence of changes in species composition that might be related to warming, nitrogen deposition or changes in precipitation.

   On Bondcliff mountain in New Hampshire                     Bigelow Mountain in western Maine

   Below are several plants that occur only in the arctic and in alpine habitat. These were photographed on Mount
   Washington in New Hampshire, which has the largest expanse of alpine habitat in the eastern United States.


Capers, R.S., and N. Slack. 2016. A baseline study of alpine snowbed and rill communities on Mount Washington, N.H. Rhodora 118:345-381. Download pdf

Capers, R.S., and D. W. Taylor. 2014. Slow recovery in a Mount Washington, New Hampshire, alpine plant community four years after disturbance. Rhodora 116:1-24.Download pdf

Capers, R.S., K.D. Kimball, K.P. McFarland, M.T. Jones, A.H. Lloyd, J.S. Munroe, G. Fortin, C. Mattrick, J. Goren, D.D. Sperduto and R. Paradis. 2013. Establishing alpine research priorities in northeastern North America. Northeastern Naturalist 20:559-577. Download pdf

Dreyer, G., C. Jones, R. Capers, P. Sweeney, N. Barrett, P. Sharp, C. Ultee, L. Brown, S. Saulys, E. Corrigan, J. Barrett and N. Murray. 2013. Native and Naturalized Vascular Plants of Connecticut Checklist. Connecticut Botanical Society, New Haven.

Les, D.H. and R.S. Capers. Glossostigma treatment. In press with Flora of North America. Vol. 17.

Capers, R.S., and A.D. Stone. 2011. After 33 years, trees more frequent and shrubs more abundant in Northeast U.S. alpine community. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 43: 495-502. Download pdf

Capers, R.S. 2011. Thoreau specimens discovered in UConn herbarium. Newsletter of the Connecticut Botanical Society 38: 1-8.

Capers, R.S. 2011. Alpine ecosystems workshop brings scientists together. The Alpine Steward, newsletter of the Waterman Fund 10:14.

Chazdon, R.L., B. Finegan, R.S. Capers, B. Salgado-Negret, F. Casanoves, V. Boukili, and N. Norden. 2010. Composition and dynamics of functional groups of trees during tropical forest succession in Northeastern Costa Rica. Biotropica 42:31-40. Download pdf

Capers, R.S., R. Selsky, and G.J. Bugbee. 2009. The relative importance of local conditions and regional processes in structuring aquatic plant communities. Freshwater Biology. Download pdf

Capers, R.S., R. Selsky, G.J. Bugbee and J. White. 2009. Species richness of native and invasive aquatic plants responds to abiotic environmental variables, human activity. Botany 87:306-314.Download pdf

Capers, R. S. 2008. Review of Flora of the Northeast: A Manual of the Vascular Flora of New England and Adjacent New York, D.W. Magee and H.E. Ahles, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst. Plant Science Bulletin 54: 172-173.

Capers. R. S. 2008. Glossostigma cleistanthum text and photographs. Maine Field Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants. Maine Center for Invasive Aquatic Plants.

Capers, R.S., R. Selsky, G.J. Bugbee and J. White. 2007. Aquatic plant community invasibility and
scale-dependent patterns in native and invasive species richness. Ecology 88:3135-3143.Download pdf

Les, D. H., R. S. Capers, and N. P. Tippery. 2006. Introduction of Glossostigma (Phrymaceae) to North America: a taxonomic and ecological overview. American Journal of Botany 93:927-939.Download pdf

Capers, R.S., and D. H. Les. 2005. Plant community structure in a freshwater tidal wetland. Rhodora 107:386-407.Download pdf

Capers, R.S., R.L. Chazdon, A. Redondo B. and B. Vilchez A. 2005. Successional dynamics of woody seedling communities in wet tropical secondary forests. Journal of Ecology 93:1071-1084.Download pdf.

Capers, R.S., G.J. Bugbee, R. Selsky and J.C. White. 2005. A guide to the invasive aquatic plants of Connecticut. Bulletin No. 997, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven. 26 pp.Download pdf.

Capers, R.S., R. Selsky, G.J. Bugbee and J. White. 2005. Aquatic plants among most destructive invasives. Frontiers of Plant Science 55:7-9.

Capers, R.S., and R.L. Chazdon. 2004. Rapid assessment of understory light availability in a wet tropical forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 123:177-185.

Capers, R.S. 2003. Macrophyte colonization in a freshwater tidal wetland (Lyme, CT, USA) Aquatic Botany 77:325-338.Download pdf.

Capers, R.S. 2003. Six years of submerged plant community dynamics in a freshwater tidal wetland. Freshwater Biology 48:1640-1651.Download pdf.

Capers, R.S., and D.H. Les. 2001. An unusual population of Podostemum ceratophyllum (Podostemaceae) in a tidal Connecticut river. Rhodora 103:219-223.

Capers, R.S. 2000. A comparison of two sampling techniques in the study of submerged macrophyte richness and abundance. Aquatic Botany 68:87-92. Download pdf.

Les, D.H., and R.S. Capers. 1999. Limnobium spongia (Hydrocharitaceae) discovered in New England. Rhodora 101:419-423.

Click here to download a CV.