Some examples of previous and ongoing projects in the lab

Ongoing Projects 

Long-term Dynamics of the Eastern Deciduous Forest of North America


Dr. McEwan has been involved in a constellation of research activities that revolve around the idea of understanding how temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America are changing over the long-term.

Current research projects include (a) long-term monitoring in old-growth forests and (b) using dendrochronology to document processes such as gap dynamics and fire in various forests.

Two sites where we have focused significant attention are Lilley Cornett Woods and Drew Woods (see below “past projects” for more information). Recently, Hueston Woods has become as a unique study site for an ongoing project investigating long-term forest dynamics in a permanent plot first established in 1981.


Fire and ecosystem dynamics in the Siberian Arctic

Dr. McEwan is co-PI on a grant from the National Science Foundation (OPP:1708309) to study fire and ecosystem dynamics in the Siberian arctic.  The dominant woody plant in this systems is larch (Larix cajanderi) which has a strong effect on carbon storage.  The project focuses on regeneration dynamics of this species in relationship to fire, which is a significant ecosystem disturbance that is increasing in severity through time.

Collaborators on the project include:

Dr. Heather Alexander, Mississippi State University (PI): LINK

Dr. Jennie DeMarco, Western State Colorado University (Co-PI): LINK

Dr. Jeremy Lichstein, University of Florida (Co-PI): LINK

Dr. Michael Loranty, Colgate University (Co-PI): LINK

Dr. Michelle Mack, Northern Arizona University (Co-PI): LINK


Project Images:  LINK


Abstract for the Project

Past Projects

Ecological Invasion of Amur honeysuckle


Overview page is found here:  LINK


Conservation biology and habitat management in Bill Yeck Park, Ohio

Dr. McEwan is PI on a grant from the Centerville-Washington Township Park District to develop a habitat management plant for a fascinating property in southwestern Ohio.  Bill Yeck Park is approximately 200 acres and contains a wide variety of habitats including meadow, marsh, wetland, riparian forest and upland forest.  The goal of the project is to identify habitats of particular  interest and provide information towards developing a long-term management plan that will address invasive species, aquatic habitats, and conservation within the context of multi-use management.


Project Images: LINK


Link to the Park District Website:  LINK


The Urban Watershed Collaborative: Experiential and cross-cultural learning and river biology in urban Dayton, Ohio

Dr. McEwan is PI on a grant from the City of Dayton (Ohio) to establish a measurement protocol for the effects of urban stormflow on the biology of freshwater rivers within the city.  This is an exciting project that aligns our scientific activity directly with objectives of the city in which we are located.  In this project we have established a training platform for students and created a long-term partnership between the lab and the city.  The summer of 2018 will mark the 4th year of the partnership which now includes Leslie King from the University of Dayton Rivers Institute and a new collaborator from UD Civil Engineering- Denise Taylor.


Project Images: LINK


Biodiversity, carbon storage, and typhoon impacts in subtropical forests of Taiwan

The lab is engaged in a long-term collaborative project to explore the ecology of subtropical forests in Taiwan.  Dr. McEwan was PI on a grant through the Smithsonian Institute Center for Tropical Forest Science which helped launch this collaboration.  The overall goal is to understand how biodiversity and ecosystem function are related in the high diversity subtropical broadleaved forests of Taiwan.  Two great things about research in Taiwan are (a) the infrastructure for research is outstanding, and (b) some of the forests are heavily typhoon impacted, which acts as an interesting “ecological filter” on which species can persist.  This project is part of a long-term, ongoing, collaboration with Dr. Jyh-min Chiang at Tunghai University in Taiwan.


Project Images: 2010 | 2014



Long-term Dynamics of Old-Growth Eastern Deciduous Forests of North America 

Long-term Dynamics of Lilley Cornett Woods


Project Images:

Coarse woody debris survey (Jessica Davis):  LINK

Vegetation survey (Julia Chapman): LINK


Website for Lilley Cornett Woods:  LINK

Lilley Cornett Woods McEwan Lab Data Archive:  LINK

Bibliography of McEwan Lab Lilley Cornett Woods publications:  LINK

Long-term Dynamics of Drew Woods

Project Images: LINK


Drew Woods McEwan Lab Data Archive:  LINK

Bibliography of McEwan Lab Drew Woods publications:

Chapman, J.I., A.L. Myers, A. J. Burky and *R.W. McEwan. 2015. Edge effects, invasion, and the spatial pattern of herb-layer biodiversity in an old-growth deciduous forest fragment. Natural Areas Journal 35: 439-451.

Goins, S.M., J.I. Chapman and *R.W. McEwan. 2013. Dynamics and disturbance in an old-growth forest remnant in western Ohio. Natural Areas Journal. 33: 384-394.