Dr. Daneshgar, often known as “Dr. D.,” concentrates his lectures in ecology, botany, and global sustainability, but his teaching stretches outside the walls of his Edison Hall classrooms. To foster more research and hands-on education, he, along with several undergraduate students, also runs the Monmouth University Greenhouse. The project, which is associated with his Terrestrial Ecology Lab, encourages student involvement and helps to support the Monmouth University Community Garden by housing some New Jersey native species.
Dr. Daneshgar’s obvious enthusiasm for learning, both inside and outside the classroom, is contagious.
“Research in my plant ecology lab currently aims to better understand the role of plants in our global world,” said Daneshgar. “We ask questions like, how do plants affect the global carbon cycle, or how do invasive species affect ecosystems?”
Also part of his Terrestrial Ecology Lab is the “MU Vineyard,” a project he created in 2012 in an effort to encourage campus-wide involvement across multiple fields of study. Students planted rows of grape vines on the lawn of the University president’s house. The living laboratory for science students also created opportunities for art majors to design the bottle labels, as well as for marketing students to help sell the bottles.
Outside of the classroom, Daneshgar spends much of his time researching endangered and invasive plant species, as well as their impact on coastal ecosystems and the New Jersey Pine Barrens. When he’s not researching plants, he is acting as the adviser for the student-run a cappella group, the Sea Sharps, which was formed in 2013.
His hands-on, dedicated approach has been inspiring students to succeed since he began teaching at Monmouth in 2010. Before coming to the University, he received a Ph.D. in forest resources and conservation from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in biology from St. Joseph’s University, and a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Delaware.