Coastal Plant Ecology
Donald Young received his Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming in 1982. Professor Young's research has focused on environmental and biotic factors affecting the distribution of barrier island plants, successional processes in coastal environments, invasive species and plant characteristics that facilitate growth and survival in coastal environments. Current investigations are directed toward understanding biotic mechanisms that facilitate the establishment of trees and shrubs in coastal areas that were previously dominated by grasses. In addition, his laboratory is documenting the physiological ecology and ecological effects of the invasive grass, Phragmites australis.
Professor Young was appointed chair for VCU Biology in 2009. In 2016, he was appointed associate dean for finance and administration to the College of Humanities and Sciences and, in 2017, senior associate dean for finance and administration. He served as interim dean for the College of Humanities and Sciences for Academic Year 2020.