Principal Investigator


Ryan W. McEwan, PhD

Professor & Schuellein Endowed Chair

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

Office phone: 1.937.229.2558

 Graduate Students

Michaela Woods (BS, MS) – PhD Student


Michaela 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 16,000+ acres of natural areas in the Dayton Area.

Michaela’s Publications:  LINK

Grace Attea – MS Student


Grace completed her degree in Environmental Biology here at the University of Dayton in 2019 and also worked in the McEwan Lab as a postbac researcher.  She made a triumphant return to the lab in the summer of 2021 and is pursuing a thesis focused on long-term forest dynamics in Hueston Woods State Nature Preserve. 

Peter Butterfield – MS Student


Peter is a student enrolled in the Bachelor’s plus Master’s Program in the Department of Biology.  This means that Peter completed his degree in Environmental Biology (BS) in 2021 while also launching a research based Master’s project. His MS research focuses on long-term oak forest dynamics in relationship to disturbance processes including wildfire.  

Valerie Thurston – MS Student


Valerie obtained her BS in Environmental Biology in 2022 from the University of Dayton. She briefly worked as a lab tech before beginning her Master’s Program in the fall of 2022. She is now researching old-field succession with a particular interest in native and invasive plant species. 

Madelaine Gregory – MS Student


Madelaine completed her Environmental Biology degree in 2022 at the University of Dayton. As an undergraduate, she worked as a lab technician and a project leader for a study on mycorrhizal colonization in bur oak seedlings. Using this project as a starting point, Madelaine will be focusing on forest succession in a post agricultural field, with a particular interest in studying the interactions between the oak seedlings, microbial community, and soil composition.


Cait Lloyd – Lab Manager

IMG_1803 (2)

Cait graduated from the University of Dayton with her BS in Environmental Biology in 2019. After graduating, she joined the lab as a postbac researcher before returning again in the fall of 2021 as a full-time laboratory technician. She enjoys working closely with the grad students, assisting with any field and lab work, and managing all of the undergrad lab members. 

Undergraduate Student Project Leaders

Anna Pallone

Anna field pic

Anna is a junior Environmental Biology major and project leader for an ongoing NSF funded project looking at long-term patterns of Larch tree establishment in post-fire environments in Siberia. After receiving the Dean’s Summer Fellowship in 2022, Anna spent her summer on campus dating wood samples from a historic log cabin in Carillon Park, practicing dendrochronological techniques.

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