Emeritus Professor

Mailing Address 
2083 Lawrence Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Mary  Leck


  • 1966 Ph.D.Botany, University of Colorado, Boulder CO
  • 1962 B.S. Botany, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA

Research Interests

My current research studies involve seed, seed bank, and seedling ecology. I work in a local tidal freshwater wetland, known as the Hamilton – Trenton – Bordentown Marsh, where it has been possible to compare vegetation of a reference site with a constructed wetland.

My most recent project, with Bob Simpson and Tom Parker, has been developing a multi-authored book on seedlings due to be published by Cambridge University Press in early 2008. This grew out our work with seeds and seed bank ecology. Over the years, it became apparent that while seed production and seed bank dynamics are critical stages, what happens to seedlings is also fundamental in explaining field observations of vegetation dynamics and recruitment.

Selected Publications

  • Leck, M.A. and R.L. Simpson. 1995. Ten year seed bank and vegetation dynamics of a tidal freshwater wetland. American J. Botany. 82:1547-1557.
  • Leck, M.A. 1996. Germination of macrophytes from a Delaware River wetland. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 123:48-67.
  • Leck, M.A. and C.F. Leck. 1998. A ten-year seed bank study of old field succession in central New Jersey. J. Torrey Bot. Soc.125:11-32.
  • Leck, M.A. and M.A. Brock. 2000. Ecological and evolutinary trends in wetlands: evidence from seeds and seed banks in New South Wales, Australia and New Jersey, USA. Plant Species Biology. 15:97-112.
  • Leck. M.A. 2003. Seed-bank and vegetation development in a created tidal freshwater wetland on the Delaware River, Trenton, New Jersey, USA. Wetlands 23: 310-343.
  • Leck, M.A. 2004. Seeds, seed banks, and wetlands. (a personal view, invited). Seed Science Research 14: 259-266.
  • Leck, M.A. and C.F. Leck. 2005. Vascular plants of a Delaware River tidal freshwater wetland and adjacent terrestrial areas: seed bank and vegetation comparisons of reference and constructed marshes and annotated species list. Journal Torrey Botanical Society 132: 323-354.
  • AnchorLeck , M.A. and W. Schütz. 2005. Regeneration of Cyperaceae, with particular reference to seed ecology and seed banks. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 7:95-133.
  • Leck, M.A. and C.M. Crain. 2008 (anticipated). Northeastern North American case studies (Chap. 13). In: A. Barendregt, D.F. Whigham, and A.H. Baldwin (eds.), Tidal Freshwater Wetlands. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Leck, M.A., A.H. Baldwin, V.T. Parker, L. Schile, and D.F. Whigham. 2008 (anticipated). Plant communities of North American TFW: continental USA and adjacent Canada (Chap. 4). In: A. Barendregt, D.F. Whigham, and A.H. Baldwin (eds.), Tidal Freshwater Wetlands. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Leck, M.A., V.T. Parker, and R.L. Simpson (eds.). 2008. Seedling Ecology & Evolution. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.


  • Leck, M.A., V.T. Parker, and R.L. Simpson. 2008. Why seedlings? (Chap. 1).
  • Leck, M.A. and H.A Outred. 2008. Seedling natural history (Chap. 2).
  • Parker, V.T., R.L. Simpson, and M.A. Leck. 2008. The seedling in an ecological and evolutionary context (Chap. 18).