Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Vice Provost for Research, Innovation, and Discovery | Executive Director of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute

Professor of Botany


  • PhD - 2009 - Biology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
  • MS - 2004 - Biology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 
  • BS - 2001 - Biology, Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, AR

Research Interests

Biogeography, Community Ecology, Conservation, Evolutionary Ecology, Global Change, International Environmental Policy, Natural History, and Species Invasions

In the Marsico lab we are interested in the causes and consequences of ecological community assembly, species invasions, and how species can be conserved in a world undergoing rapid environmental change.  We focus on how evolutionary history impacts the ecological interactions of native and introduced organisms.  We make and utilize plant collections and deposited vouchers in specimen-based research to answer questions about biodiversity patterns along environmental gradients and invasion, with a goal of improving conservation priorities and land management strategies. Students in the laboratory have studied a range of topics including plant defense ecology and secondary defense compounds elicited by moth herbivory, causes and consequences of Chinese privet invasion in riparian areas, impacts of water quality and land use on swamp diatom communities, tropical epiphyte plant community composition along elevation gradients, floristics in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain and Crowley's Ridge ecoregions, plant community ecology and plant phenology on Mississippi River islands, digitization of natural history collections to make available important resources for the study of evolutionary and ecological questions, traits and factors including evolutionary history to predict high-impact herbivorous insect invasive species, applied invasion ecology of introduced plants including federal noxious weeds at seaports, and genomic complexity and evolutionary potential of invasive cane grasses.


  • Association of Southeastern Biologists (life member)
  • Botanical Society of America

  • Society of Herbarium Curators (life member)

Teaching/Learning Philosophy

Dr. Marsico involves active and project-based learning in his classes.  He encourages students to immerse themselves in subject matter content mastery by reading scientific news articles, peer-reviewed literature, and course-relevant text books and by talking about science with peers and friends.  In short, successful university students are those who are excited by learning for learning’s sake and who view themselves as life-long learners.


Dr. Marsico has been a faculty member at Arkansas State University for over 13 years, where he has an active research program and teaches Collections Curation and Research Design, Dendrology, Global Change Biology, Interdisciplinarity in Environmental Sciences and Molecular Biosciences, Plant Systematics, and Wetland Plant Ecology. At A-State, he curates the herbarium and manages the Laboratory Sciences Greenhouse.