Principal Investigator

Ryan W. McEwan, PhD

Associate Professor

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 Borth, MS Student


Eric was an Undergraduate Project Leader and Honors Student in the lab, graduating with a BS in Biology in 2017.  As an undergraduate 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 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:


Sarah Frankenberg, MS Student



Sarah Frankenberg was an undergraduate project leader in the lab, graduating with a BS in Biology in 2015.  She worked full time in the lab as a technician that summer and then launched a cross country Ecological Odyssey.  She worked as a technician in the laboratory of Dr. Kelly Dorgan at Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Then worked as a Biological Science Technician focused on vegetation at Yellowstone National Park.  Finally, she made her way to Lake Mead where she worked at Song Dog Native Plant nursery.   Sarah made a triumphant return to the lab as a graduate student in Summer of 2018!  Her MS 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.


Michaela Woods, PhD Student


Michaela Woods completed her BS in Biological Sciences at Wright State University in 2016 and her MS in Biological Sciences (December 2018) also at Wright State University.  During her MS Michaela focused on soil ecology in relationship to Amur honeysuckle invasion in Dr. Megan Rua’s lab.  As a PhD student in the McEwan Lab Michaela is aiming to investigate the interconnections between soil biology, plant invasion and ecological restoration in Midwestern Forests.  She is particularly interested in collaboration with the Five Rivers Metroparks which manages 14,000+ acres of natural areas in the Dayton Area.


Undergraduate Project Leaders



Katie is an Undergraduate Project Leader in the lab who is has experience working with the Five Rivers Metroparks and is interested in forest ecology.   She is working on a project that assesses the efficacy of reforestation as part of ecological restoration in Sugar Creek Metropark.    


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.  



Natalie Merline


Natalie is an Undergraduate Project Leader in the lab who is doing an Honors Thesis focused on successional processes in deciduous forests.  In particular, she is interested in how invasive species influence long-term processes and is using Bill Yeck Park (LINK) in the Centerville-Washington Township Parks as a model system.  


Celia Montemurri

Celia is an 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 senior 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 in Bill Yeck Park.


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