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Stephen Via

Dr. Stephen M. Via
Associate Professor of Biology
Office: 315 WSB
Office Phone: (757) 823-3006

Brief Biography
Dr. Stephen Via is a plant physiological ecologist investigating plant stress responses across scales integrating classical physiological metrics and standoff remote detection. Much of Dr. Via’s work has centered around differentiating physiological responses to anthropogenic stress (heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, explosives) from those induced by naturally occurring stressors for environmental and restoration monitoring and munitions detection purposes. Dr. Via has served as the manager of the Norfolk State University Greenhouse for the past five years and is acting representative for NSU on the Sea Grant Research and Education Advisory Committee.

Research Interests

  • Native plant production and culture
  • Quantifying plant physiological responses to anthropogenic stressors
  • Stand-off remote detection of plant health and community composition
  • Cross-Scale plant ecology


  • Via, S. M., & Manley, P. V. (2023). Effects of major munitions compounds on plant health and function. In Plants and their Interaction to Environmental Pollution (pp. 309-332). Elsevier.
  • Via, S. M. (2020). Phytoremediation of Explosives. In B. R. Shmaefsky (Ed.), Phytoremediation: In-situ Applications (pp. 261–284). Springer International Publishing.
  • Zinnert, J. C., Via, S. M., Nettleton, B. P., Tuley, P. A., Moore, L. J., & Stallins, J. A. (2019). Connectivity in coastal systems: Barrier island vegetation influences upland migration in a changing climate. Global Change Biology, 25(7), 2419–2430.
  • Via, S. M., Zinnert, J. C., & Young, D. R. (2017). Multiple metrics quantify and differentiate responses of vegetation to composition B. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 19(1), 56–64.
  • Via, S. M., & Zinnert, J. C. (2016). Impacts of explosive compounds on vegetation: A need for community scale investigations. Environmental Pollution , 208(Pt B), 495–505.
  • Via, S. M., Zinnert, J. C., & Young, D. R. (2016). Legacy effects of explosive contamination on vegetative communities. Open Journal of Ecology, 06(08), 496–508.
  • Zinnert, J. C., Shiflett, S. A., Via, S., Bissett, S., Dows, B., Manley, P., & Young, D. R. (2016). Spatial–temporal dynamics in barrier island upland vegetation: the overlooked coastal landscape. Ecosystems19, 685-697.
  • Via, S. M., Zinnert, J. C., & Young, D. R. (2015). Differential effects of two explosive compounds on seed germination and seedling morphology of a woody shrub, Morella cerifera. Ecotoxicology, 24(1), 194–201.
  • Via, S. M., Zinnert, J. C., Butler, A. D., & Young, D. R. (2014). Comparative physiological responses of Morella cerifera to RDX, TNT, and composition B contaminated soils. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 99, 67–74.
  • Zinnert, J. C., Via, S. M., & Young, D. R. (2013). Distinguishing natural from anthropogenic stress in plants: physiology, fluorescence and hyperspectral reflectance. Plant and Soil, 366(1), 133–141.