Skip to main content

About William J Manning

My research area is air pollution biology, principally how plants respond to ozone at the whole plant level, both in the field and in exposure chambers. I am also interested in how ozone and other air pollutants affect plants growing in urban environments, as reflected in changes in mycorrhizae and root disease incidence. Use of native (detector) plant species as bioindicators of ozone is another interest.
We are currently investigating the role of plant morphology and development rate in sensitivity and tolerance of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) cultivars to ozone. The "cost" of ozone tolerance is also being assessed in clover (Trifolium repens) clones and bean cultivars. This cost may include increased incidence of root diseases as photosynthate is diverted away from roots and used to repair foliar ozone injury. The complete picture of ozone sensitivity and tolerance in plants remains to be demonstrated.
My long-term interest is in demonstrating the effects of ambient ozone on plants under truly ambient conditions. We have been able to do this with loblolly pine seedlings (Pinus taeda), bean cultivars, and clover clones by making foliar applications of antioxidants. This type of results helps to answer the question of whether or not ambient ozone levels have adverse effects on plants or not.
Cities and associated areas are the next ecological frontier. Soon most of our population will live in urban areas. Urban plant biology is a growth area. I am beginning work on determining factors that affect plant growth in urban areas. Ozone and other air pollutants may weaken plants and their mycorrhizal relationships, allowing root disease fungi to become aggressive. Selection of plants that can be successful in cities and determining why they are successful is a new research area. Invasive plants are also filling niches in urban areas and I am interested in using plant pathogenic fungi to manage them.
I have worked for more than 10 years in Central and Eastern Europe in the summer surveying the valleys and slopes of the Carpathian Mountain Range for in situ bioindicators of ambient ozone. Similar surveys are made here on the Prescott Peninsula at the Quabbin Reservoir. Integration of bioindicator responses with monitored data for ozone allows identification of areas of concern for ozone pollution.
Extensive facilities are available to carry out research in this area. Specialized greenhouse exposure chambers are available as well as open-top field exposure chambers. Space is available to field plot studies. I have a large lab equipped for work with fungi.


Present Professor of Plant Pathology Department of Plant, Soil & Insect Sciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst


Enter a valid date range.

Enter a valid date range.

Contact Information

Fernald Hall, Room 207
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003


This author has not uploaded works yet.