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I earned a B.S. in Biology from Eastern Connecticut State University in 1998, where I investigated the foraging behavior of gray squirrels in relation to the nuts of different species of hickory trees.  I then went on to earn a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Connecticut in Storrs in January 2006.  As a graduate student, I investigated how participation in seed dispersal mutualisms regulates the distributions and abundances of participants. In addition to my interests in seed dispersal mutualisms, I have strong and enduring interests in the ecology, the biology and behavior of birds, animal cognition, and how feeding shapes species interactions.   Short-term research projects I have been involved with include an examination of adaptions to regional conditions in woody invasive plants, an investigation of Neotropical migrant birds as indicator species for rapid biological assessment, and a study examining the effects of breeding habitat fragmentation on Neotropical passerine populations. I am currently lecturer at Kean University’s Ocean County College Campus.  

Courses Taught

  • Biology and Ecology of Birds
  • Principles of Genetics
  • Zoology
  • Form and Function
  • Principles of Ecology
  • Principles of Genetics
  • Parasitology
  • Seminar in Integrative Biology


Merow, C., LaFleur, N., Silander, J., and M. Rubega (2011) Developing dynamic, mechanistic species distribution models: predicting bird-mediated spread of invasive plants across northeastern North America. American Naturalist 178: 30-43.

LaFleur, N., Rubega, M. and J. Parent* (2009).  Does frugivory by European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) facilitate germination in invasive plants? The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 136 (3): 332-341.

Ibañez, I., Silander, J., Wilson, A., LaFleur, N., Tanaka, N. and I. Tsuyama (2009).Multi-scale forecasts of potential distributions of invasive plant species. Ecological Applications 19: 359-375.

LaFleur, N., Rubega, M. and C. Elphick (2007).  Invasive fruits, novel foods, and choice: an investigation of frugivory in European starlings and American robins.The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119 (3): 429-438.

LaFleur, N. (2006).  Kudzu Pueraria montana var. lobata.  Pages 66-67 in Invasive species in the Pacific northwest (P. D. Boersma, S. H. Reichard, and A. N. Van Buren, Editors). University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.