Dr. Joe Pollard grew up in Atlanta and did his bachelor's degree in botany at Duke University. He received a Winston Churchill Scholarship to pursue doctoral studies in Cambridge, England, receiving his Ph.D. in botany in 1981. His doctoral research was on the ecology and genetics of variation in Urtica dioica, the stinging nettle. Dr. Pollard spent seven years on the faculty of Oklahoma State University, and then moved to Furman in 1988. He served as chair of Furman's biology department from 2000 to 2010, and in 2008 he was appointed to the Rose J. Forgione professorship in biology. In addition to teaching introductory courses, ecology, research & analysis, and field botany, Dr. Pollard has been involved in many of the department's study away programs. He has more than 20 peer-reviewed publications (many with student co-authors), and is the editor of Chinquapin, the newsletter of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.

Name Title Description


Seminar in Biology

Presentations of current topics in biology by students, faculty, and visiting scientists. Emphasis is on effective oral communication and critical examination of scientific information and ideas.


Biology and the Environment

The basic principles common to living organisms, with emphasis on environmental biology. Designed for non-science majors. Topics include: ecology, evolution, biodiversity, and environmental issues, plus a synopsis of cellular biology, genetics, and physiology.


Foundations of Biology

Introduction to the unifying concepts of biology. Topics include: cell structure and function, metabolism, genetics, evolution, and the diversity of life. Laboratories emphasize an investigative approach. Designed for science majors.


Research and Analysis

Introduction to purposes and methods of scientific inquiry. Topics include: philosophy of science, research design, use of biological literature sources, fundamental laboratory techniques, statistical analysis, and survey of careers in biology. Laboratory includes designing, performing, and reporting on research projects.



The interactions between organisms and their environments, and the consequences of these interactions for population dynamics, community structure, and the flow of energy and matter through ecosystems. Also, consideration of environmental issues and conservation. Laboratories include local field work, experiments, and possibly one or two overnight/weekend field trips.


Tropical Ecology

The composition, structure, and function of tropical ecosystems, communities, and populations. Laboratories focus on ecological sampling methods.


Field Botany

Natural relationships of vascular plants, practice in the use of identification keys, experience in recognizing species in the field, techniques used in collecting and preparing herbarium specimens, and exposure to pertinent literature. Laboratories include field trips.

Dr. Pollard's research is in physiological and evolutionary ecology, with a focus on the interactions between soil chemistry and plant growth, and how these interactions affect herbivores and ecosystems. Recent research in his lab has focused on plants that "hyperaccumulate" heavy metals, i.e. concentrate elements such as zinc or nickel to exceptionally high concentrations in leaf tissues. This is significant in part because these plants could be used as a way to clean up polluted soils. Projects that he and his students and have studied include the extent to which hyperaccumulation is a genetically variable character within species, the adaptive significance of hyperaccumulation and the possibility that it functions as a defense against herbivores, and the extent to which hyperaccumulator plants may facilitate the transfer of metals into food chains. The research has involved field work in England, Spain, Portugal, Puerto Rico, and in the Carolinas.

*Denotes undergraduate coauthor

  • Pollard AJ, Reeves RD, Baker AJM. 2014. Facultative hyperaccumulation of heavy metals and metalloids. Plant Science 217–218:8– 17.
  • Campbell LR*, Stone CO*, Shamsedin NM*, Kolterman DA, Pollard AJ. 2013. Facultative hyperaccumulation of nickel in Psychotria grandis (Rubiaceae). Caribbean Naturalist 1:1-8.
  • van der Ent A, Baker AJM, Reeves RD, Pollard AJ, Schat H. 2013. Hyperaccumulators of metal and metalloid trace elements: facts and fiction. Plant and Soil 362:319–334.
  • Pollard AJ, Stewart HS*, Roberson CB*. 2009. Manganese hyperaccumulation in Phytolacca americana L. from the Southeastern United States. Northeastern Naturalist 16(5):155–162.
  • Peterson LR*, Trivett V, Baker AJM, Aguiar C, Pollard AJ. 2003. Spread of metals through an invertebrate food chain as influenced by a plant that hyperaccumulates nickel. Chemoecology 13:103-108.
  • Pollard AJ, Powell KD*, Harper FA, Smith JAC. 2002. The genetic basis of metal hyperaccumulation in plants. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 21:539-566.
  • Pollard AJ, Dandridge KL*, Jhee EM*. 2000. Ecological genetics and the evolution of trace element hyperaccumulation in plants. In: N Terry and G Banuelos (eds), Phytoremediation of Contaminated Soils and Waters. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Pp. 251-264.
  • Jhee EM*, Dandridge KL*, Christy AM*, Pollard AJ. 1999. Selective herbivory on low-zinc phenotypes of the hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens. Chemoecology 9:93-95.
  • Pollard AJ, Baker AJM. 1997. Zinc hyperaccumulation in Thlaspi caerulescens (Brassicaceae) as a defense against herbivores. New Phytologist 135:655-658.
  • Pollard AJ, Baker AJM. 1996. Quantitative genetics of zinc hyperaccumulation in Thlaspi caerulescens. New Phytologist 132: 113-118.
  • Pollard AJ, Reeves RD, Baker AJM. 2014. Facultative hyperaccumulation of heavy metals and metalloids. Plant Science 217–218:8– 17.
  • Campbell LR*, Stone CO*, Shamsedin NM*, Kolterman DA, Pollard AJ. 2013. Facultative hyperaccumulation of nickel in Psychotria grandis (Rubiaceae). Caribbean Naturalist 1:1-8.
  • Tuberville TD*, Dudley PG*, Pollard AJ. 1996. Responses of invertebrate herbivores to stinging trichomes of Urtica dioica and Laportea canadensis. Oikos 75:83-88.
  • Lookadoo SE*, Pollard AJ. 1991. Chemical contents of stinging trichomes of Cnidoscolus texanus. Journal of Chemical Ecology 17:1909-1916.
University of Cambridge
Duke University

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