Joy Zedler

Joy Buswell Zedler (born 1943)[1] is an American ecologist and professor of botany at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (UW), holding the title of Aldo Leopold Chair of Restoration Ecology. In addition to restoration ecology, she specializes in the ecology of wetlands, rare species, interactions between native and introduced species, and adaptive management.[2]

Joy B. Zedler
Born1943 (age 76–77)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison


After earning a PhD in botany at UW, Zedler in 1969 moved to San Diego, California, as her husband took a job at San Diego State University (SDSU).[3] She became an SDSU faculty member and joined activist Mike McCoy in preventing the Tijuana River Estuary from being developed into a marina.[3][4] She formed SDSU's Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory.[3]

In 1998, Zedler became the Aldo Leopold Professor of Restoration Ecology at UW.[5] Zedler credited Leopold, who also worked at UW, with pioneering restoration ecology.[6]

She also in 1998 became director of research for the UW Arboretum.[5] She served in this capacity for 18 years, launching studies into invasive species, including how native plants are able to defend their ecosystems.[7] She was the co-author of a 2010s plan to restore the Mesopotamian Marshes.[8]

Zedler has said that the most immediate impact of wetland destruction—in which "most losses are due to drainage for agriculture"—is a lower denitrification rate, which may raise the level of nitrates in water over the amount safe for children and pregnant women.[2] She has noted that even after wetland restoration efforts, much of the abundance and biodiversity cannot fully recover from damage.[9]

A fellow of the Society of Wetland Scientists and the Ecological Society of America, Zedler edits the journals Restoration Ecology and Ecosystem Health and Sustainability. She is a former member of the board of directors of The Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Wisconsin State Natural Areas Preservation Council.[3]


Selected publicationsEdit

Journal articles
  • Zedler, Joy B. (October 1, 2000). "Progress in wetland restoration ecology" (PDF). Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 15 (10): 402–407. doi:10.1016/S0169-5347(00)01959-5. PMID 10998517.
  • Zedler, Joy B.; Kercher, Suzanne (September 1, 2004). "Causes and consequences of invasive plants in wetlands: opportunities, opportunists, and outcomes". Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences. Taylor & Francis. 23 (5): 431–452. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/07352680490514673.
  • Zedler, Joy B.; Kercher, Suzanne (November 11, 2005). "Wetland resources: status, trends, ecosystem services, and restorability" (PDF). Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 30: 39–74. doi:10.1146/


  1. ^ "Vegetational response to microtopography on a central Wisconsin drained marsh". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 1968.
  2. ^ a b Heidari, Farnaz (February 6, 2017). "When we can say a wetland is dead?". Tehran Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Expert Q&A: Dr. Joy Zedler". Biohabitats. Biohabitats. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Zaragoza, Barbara (December 10, 2014). "Who is Mike McCoy?". San Diego Free Press. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Meine, Curt (May 29, 2009). "Back to nature at the UW Arboretum". Isthmus. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Tenenbaum, David (June 17, 2009). "Birthplace of ecological restoration celebrates 75 years". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  7. ^ Gordon, Scott (August 17, 2018). "A living legacy of research at the UW Arboretum". Wisconsin State Farmer. Gannett. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Gies, Erica (April 17, 2013). "Restoring Iraq's Garden of Eden". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  9. ^ Kremer, Rick (April 7, 2017). "Wetland Restoration As A Business: Wisconsin's Growing Mitigation Industry". Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "William A. Niering Outstanding Educator Award". Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Scauzillo, Steve (November 7, 2013). "Re-imagining the Los Cerritos Wetlands in Long Beach". Press-Telegram. Retrieved August 18, 2018.