Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Ryan W. McEwan, PhD

Associate Professor of Ecology

Environmental Biology Program Director

Department of Biology
The University of Dayton
300 College Park, Dayton, OH  45469-2320

Office phone: 1.937.229.2558



 Graduate Students

 Eric B. Borth, MS Student

Eric was an Undergraduate Project Leader and Honors Student in the lab.  He worked in the lab full time in the summer for several years ultimately generating a fantastic data set (see below publications!).  Eric has transitioned in the lab to a MS student and is working on a project focused on forest dynamics and fire ecology of in the Siberian Arctic.  Yep, the SIBERIAN ARCTIC!!



E.B. Borth,  K.W. Custer, K.W. and R.W. McEwan. 2018. Lethal effects of the non-native invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) leaf leachate on a model aquatic organism (Hyalella azteca). EcoScience 25: 189–197.

Custer, K.W., E.B. Borth, S.D. Mahoney and R.W. McEwan. 2017. Lethal and sublethal effects of novel terrestrial subsidies from an invasive shrub (Lonicera maackii) on stream macroinvertebrates. Freshwater Science 36: 750-759. Open Access:

Julia Chapman, PhD Student


Julia Chapman (B.S., M.S.) is a PhD student in the lab who came to UD from the Department of Environmental and Plant Biology at Ohio University where she worked with Dr. Phil Cantino on the ecology and control of garlic mustard.   An avid and accomplished botanist, and banisher of invasive species, she was a 2009 winner of the Botanical Society of America’s Young Botanist Award

Her work in the lab centers on understanding the relationship(s) between taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity in forests of North America and Taiwan.

Publications: Google Scholar



Sarah Frankenberg, MS Student


Sarah Frankenberg was an undergraduate project leader in the lab and made a triumphant return to the lab as a graduate student!  Her research focuses on plant-fungal relationships and how they drive plant community dynamics in the Siberian Arctic.  Yep, the SIBERIAN ARCTIC.  This project is part of our funded NSF project and Sarah will be an RA on the project through 2020.




Undergraduate Project Leaders

Jenea Adams

Jenea is an Undergraduate Project Leader in the lab who is working a project that looks at how the invasive shrub Amur honeysuckle is influencing stream macronivertebrates.  She is also the primary leader of a project that revisits lab alumni Nolan Nicaise’s hypothesis that urban forests are spatially distributed based on socioeconomic status.  

Michelle Little


Michelle is an Undergraduate Project Leader in the lab who is doing an Honors Thesis focused on how Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) influences stream macroinvertebrates.  She is also the Environmental Biology Program Intern and a member of the UD Pep Band.  



Celia Montemurri

Celia is a junior Environmental Biology (EVB) major at UD, who is also a river steward and a Sustainability Minor!  Celia worked at a bat conservation organization in Chicago last summer and is currently working on a project related to land conservation and management using GIS as part of our Bill Yeck Park vegetation analysis project.

Taylor Sparbanie


Taylor is a junior Environmental Biology (EVB) major at UD.  In the summer of 2017 she was a Fellow in the lab working on the Bill Yeck project and participated in a host of other research and training activities.  Taylor is an Honors Student whose Thesis will be focused on forest ecology and conservation.


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