Alexander Wait is a plant ecologist whose research has examined the effects atmospheric carbon dioxide on plant physiological processes and plant-insect interactions; how fire, precipitation, and seasonal temperatures affect carbon uptake, sequestration and turnover in woodlands; and how engineered nanoparticles and plant microbiomes affect crop species growth.
Alexander holds a M.S. in Environmental Science and Forestry from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry and a Ph.D. from Syracuse University. His M.S. and Ph.D. research carried out at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies examined carbon dioxide, nitrogen and ozone effects on plant chemistry and growth. His postdoctoral research with the University of Maryland and University of Pennsylvania examined how drought affected the physiology and demography of a semi-arid plant species.
Addressing issues related to energy and sustainability have been a focus of Alexander’s service to Missouri State University and Southwest Missouri. He served as the Director the Missouri State University Minor in Sustainability and President of Ozarks New Energy, Inc. The later addressed energy issues in Southwest Missouri from 2007-2012 by sponsoring energy programs and conferences. He was a Missouri State University Public Affairs Provost Fellow from 2008-2013.
Alexander has taught graduate level climate change seminars for over 20 years along with teaching plant physiology and conservation biology. His research at Missouri State University has spanned from small islands in the Gulf of California and Puget Sound to woodlands in Missouri to rain forests in Ecuador. He has supervised 20 MS thesis and mentored over 50 undergraduate student research projects, along with leading study abroad programs in Mexico, Ecuador, Cuba and Belize.