Think Like the Scientist: Rima Lucardi
Meet the Scientist | About the Study


Rima Lucardi, Ecologist
USDA Forest Service scientist


Lucardi with gel solutionI am currently conducting research on the genetics of cogongrass in the South and Southeast regions of the United States. I collect and analyze leaf and rhizome samples to better understand the origins of this weed.

Example of a simple research question I have tried to answer

I set out to answer the question, "What makes a weed a weed?" There are many nonnative plants that we enjoy and value, yet others we classify as weeds. Similarly, there are many native plants that we classify as weeds when they are really an important part of our ecology. I'm interested in using genetics to determine whether specific plants are native, and how they have spread over time.

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?

I can remember sitting in my mother's garden as a child and we would weed it. She would have me pull up some plants but not others. I always wondered how she could tell the difference, and why some plants were more desirable than others. 

Dr. Rima Lucardi, Plant, Molecular, and Invasion Ecologist


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  • Ph.D., Mississippi State University 
  • USDA Forest Service Scientist
  • An ecologist studies low organisms interact with each other and the environment.  I use genetic tools to answer ecological questions related to plants and invasive species.