David Kovacic

Professor Emeritus
Department of Landscape Architecture


Research Interests

Research has focused on ecosystem responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances over a wide variety of geographical areas, including the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico, the Colorado Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the eastern deciduous forest, the Southeastern Coastal Plain, and the Illinois prairie region. Work has involved holistic studies of such habitat disturbances as insect outbreaks, fire, logging, waste reduction and farming practices. Recent work focuses on the biogeochemistry of riparian buffer strips and constructed wetlands and their effectiveness in reducing shallow subsurface inputs of nutrients to surface waters in the agricultural Midwest. This work involves the study of: 1) soil inorganic nitrogen losses and cation losses in upland and wetland habitats following environmental disturbances, 2) mineralization potential of soils, and 3) nutrient cycling. The ultimate goal of this work is to develop methodologies to reduce nitrate, phosphorus and pesticide loading in agricultural areas of the Midwest. Research work also includes a recent study to characterize the effects of Army training disturbances on nutrient cycling in Southeastern forests.


1986 Postdoctoral Fellow, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia
1983 Ph.D., Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology/Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University
1975 Master of Science, Zoology Department, Miami University
1972 Bachelor of Science, School of Education (Biology), Miami University

Professional Experience

1995-2011 Associate Professor of Ecology, Departments of Landscape Architecture and Affiliate of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois
1992-1995 Associate Professor of Ecology, Departments of Landscape Architecture and Forestry, University of Illinois
1986-1992 Assistant Professor of Ecology, Department of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois
1983-1986 Postdoctoral Fellow, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
1981-1983 Research Assistant, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico
1977-1981 Ph.D., Research conducted at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

Courses Taught at the University of Illinois

Environmental Site Analysis (LA 250)
Design Workshop (LA 336/438)
     "Green Roof Design" (2009), with Conservation Design Forum (CDF)
     "Green Design for the U of I Convention Center & Signature Building" (2008), with CDF
     "Sustainable South Farm Workshop" (2007), with CDF
     "Bluescape Milwaukee" (2006), with CDF
     "Wetland Design for Judge Weber Park" (2005), with the Urbana Park District
Ecology for Land Restoration (LA 450)
Environmental Impact Assessment (LA 550)

Selected Publications

2009 Graham, J.H., A. J. Krzysik, D. A. Kovacic, J.J. Duda, D. C.Freeman, J. M. Emlen, J. C. Zak, W. R. Long, M. P. Wallace, C. Chamberlin-Graham, J. P. Nutter , and H. E. Balbach. 2008. Species richness, equitability, and abundance of ants in disturbed landscapes. Ecological Indicators 9:866-877. accepted March 2009.
2008 Crumpton, W. G., D. A. Kovacic, D.L. Hey, and J.A. Kostel. Potential of restored and constructed wetlands to reduce nutrient export from agricultural watershed in the corn belt. In Final Report: Gulf Hypoxia and Local Water Quality Concerns Workshop. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
2008 Graham, J.H. , A.J. Krysik, D.A. Kovacic, J.J. Duda, D.C. Freeman, J. Emlen, J.C. Zak, W.R. Long, M.P. Wallace, C.Chamberlin-Grahm, J. Nuter, and H. Balbach. 2008. Ant Community Composition Across a Gradient of Disturbed Military Landscapes at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Southeastern Naturalist 7: 429-448. published September 2008.
2006 Kovacic, D.A., R.M. Twait, M.P. Wallace, J.M. Bowling. Use of created wetlands to improve water
quality in the Midwest--Lake Bloomington case study. Ecol. Eng. 28: 258-270.
2004 Freeman, D.C., M.L. Brown, J.J. Duda, J.H. Graham, J.M. Emlen, A.J. Krzysik, H.E. Balbach, D.A. Kovacic, and J.C. Zak. 2004. Developmental instability in Rhus copallinum L.: Multiple stressors, years, and responses. International Journal of Plant Sciences 165:53-63.
2001 Hoagland, C.R., L.E. Gentry, M.B. David, and D.A. Kovacic. Plant nutrient uptake and biomass accumulation in a constructed wetland. J. Freshwater Ecol. 16: 527-540
2000 Kovacic, D.A., M.B. David, L.E. Gentry, K.M. Starks and R.A. Cooke. The influence of seepage on
constructed wetlands receiving agricultural tile drainage. Ecol. Eng.15:91-104.
2000 Larson, A., L.E. Gentry, M.B. David, R.A. Cooke and D.A. Kovacic. The influence of seepage on
constructed wetlands receiving agricultural tile drainage. Ecol. Eng.15:91-104.
2000 Gentry, L.E., M.B. David, K.M. Starks and D.A. Kovacic. Nitrogen fertilizer and herbicide transport via
preferential flow paths in tile-drained fields. J. Environ. Qual. 29:232-240.
1999 Xue, Y. , D.A. Kovacic, M.B. David, L.E. Gentry, R.L. Mulvaney and C.W.Lindau. In situ measurements
of denitrification in constructed wetlands. J. Environ. Qual. 28:263-269.

Licenses and Affiliations

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Society of Landscape Architects
Association of Southeastern Biologists
Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture
Ecological Society of America
International Association for Landscape Ecology
Soil Science Society of America
Society of Wetland Scientists
Wildlife Society
Xi Sigma Pi