The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Ecology Faculty and Research

Faculty associated with the Ecology Intercollege Graduate Degree Program at Penn State, and a summary of their research interests


Faculty are listed in alphabetical order by last name. To see more information about a faculty member, click on his/her name.


Marc Abrams
Professor of Forest Ecology and Physiology

Community, historical and physiological ecology of tree species; global change biology.

Paul Bartell
Associate Professor of Avian Biology

The regulation of biological clocks in birds at the systems level.

Iliana Baums
Associate Professor of Biology

Molecular ecology and evolution of reef invertebrates.

Terrence H. Bell
Assistant Professor of Phytobiomes

Douglas Bird
Associate Professor of Anthropology

Rebecca Bliege Bird
Professor of Anthropology

Ottar Bjørnstad
Distinguished Professor of Entomology and Biology
Adjunct Professor in Statistics

Population ecology and population dynamics with particular emphasis on mathematical and computational aspects

Elizabeth Weeks Boyer
Associate Professor of Water Resource
Director, Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center
Assistant Director, Penn State Institutes of Energy & Environment

Hydrology, Biogeochemistry, Water Quality, and Atmospheric Deposition

Victoria Braithwaite
Professor of Fisheries and Biology
Co-Director, the Center for Brain, Behavior and Cognition

Brain and behavior responses to stressors during different stages of development. How these promote or inhibit neurogenesis and support increased behavioral resilience

Margaret Brittingham
Professor of Wildlife Resources

Avian ecology; avian response to oil and gas exploration and development; effects of habitat fragmentation on bird populations; managing wildlife on private land

Robert Brooks
Professor of Geography and Ecology
Director, Riparia (formerly the Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center)

Ecology, management, and restoration of wetland and riparian ecosystems.

Mary Ann Bruns
Associate Professor of Soil Science/Microbial Ecology

Understanding soil microbial responses to anthropogenic disturbance and roles of microbes in mitigating disturbance effects; biological nitrogen fixation; ecological restoration

Tomas Carlo
Associate Professor of Biology

Seed dispersal processes; bird behavior; plant invasions; tropical ecology; parasitic plants

Isabella Cattadori
Associate Professor of Biology

immuno-epidemiology of co-infection, how host immunity modulates parasite interactions and transmission and how host molecular processes explain the dynamics of infection at the population level

C. Andrew Cole
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Ecology

Ecosystem ecology: wetlands, hydrology, restoration, seed banks, plant communities, historical ecology.

Duane Diefenbach
Adjunct Professor, Wildlife Ecology
Leader, PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit

Wildlife ecology, estimation of population parameters, and harvest management of game populations.

Patrick Drohan
Associate Professor of Pedology

Soil formation and biogeochemistry due to land use and ecosystem change; soil and water degradation, and the remediation of soil physical and chemical properties in urban environments.

David Eissenstat
Professor of Woody Plant Physiology, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management
Chair, Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology

Plant physiological ecology, ecosystem ecology, climate change biology, root and soil ecology.

Matthew Ferrari
Associate Professor of Biology

Population/Community Ecology, Epidemiology, Statistical, Computational and Mathematical Biology

Charles Fisher
Professor of Biology

Physiological and community ecology of deep sea hydrothermal vent and cold seep fauna.

Sarah Goslee
Research Associate

Landscape diversity in agricultural areas; Taxonomic and functional diversity and grassland management; Multivariate and spatial analysis for ecological data.

Christina M Grozinger
Professor of Entomology

Genomics of social behavior and health in bees

Peter Hudson
Director, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences
Willaman Professor of Biology

Population dynamics of infectious diseases in wildlife and the dynamics of parasite community structure.

David Hughes
Assistant Professor of Entomology and Biology

Parasite manipulation of host behavior

Jason Kaye
Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry

Ecosystem ecology; global change biology; biogeochemistry of nitrogen and carbon cycling in managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

Margot Kaye
Associate Professor of Forest Ecology

Vegetation dynamics; global change ecology; interactions among vegetation, climate and human land use; dendrochronology; disturbance history; environmental change

Armen Kemanian
Associate Professor of Production Systems and Modeling

Agricultural Systems, Agricultural and Natural Systems Modeling, Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling, Bioenergy Systems, Coupled Hydrologic and Nutrient Modeling, and Plant Competition

Todd LaJeunesse
Associate Professor of Biology

Microbial Ecology and Evolution

Tracy Langkilde
Associate Professor of Biology

Population and community ecology: how the nature of interactions between species can shift over time, in response to changes in the environment and corresponding selection pressures.

Jesse Lasky
Assistant Professor of Biology

Laura Leites
Assistant Professor of Quantitative Forest Ecology

Modeling forest ecosystem responses to climatic change. Quantification and modeling of forest ecosystem attributes and processes. Development of decision support tools for adaptive forest management and conservation.

Margarita Lopez-Uribe
Assistant Professor of Entomology

Jennifer Macalady
Associate Professor of Geosciences

Microbial ecology; microbial role in weathering and soil processes; controls on microbial diversity; ecological interactions in microbially dominated systems (ancient earth analogs).

Carolyn Mahan
Professor of Biology

The study of biodiversity in threatened ecosystems; the effects of human-modified landscapes on wildlife; behavioral ecology of squirrels.

James Marden
Professor of Biology
Director of Operations, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Physiological ecology, functional genomics, evolutionary ecology, and behavior.

David Miller
Assistant Professor of Wildlife Population Ecology

Population ecology, quantitative ecology, avian and amphibian ecology, conservation decision analysis, life-history evolution

David Mortensen
Professor of Weed Ecology / Biology

Studies the ecology (dispersal and establishment) and management of weedy and invasive plants. The group conducts research and develops policy on sustainable approaches to invasive plantmanagement in forested and agroecosystems.

George Perry
Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Biology

Human and non-human primate evolutionary ecology and genomics.

Eric Post
Professor of Biology

Climate change and its effects on life history traits and population and community dynamics.

Katriona Shea
Professor of Biology

Ecological theory in population management; invasion ecology, epidemiology, conservation and harvesting

Michael Sheriff
Assistant Professor Mammalogy & Ecology

Physiological mechanisms by which ecological interactions (predation, competition, climate, etc.) alter behavior and cause changes in reproduction, survival, population demography and community structure

Erica Smithwick
Assistant Professor of Geography

Landscape and ecosystem ecology. Disturbance ecology & disturbance synergies. Ecosystem simulation models. Climate change and ecosystem carbon storage. Fire and soil nitrogen. Microbial community composition and function. Spatial statistics.

Kim Steiner
Professor of Forest Biology
Director, The Arboretum at Penn State

The ecology, genecology, and physiological ecology of forest regeneration following disturbance.

Andrew Stephenson
Distinguished Professor of Biology

Ken Tamminga
Professor of Landscape Architecture

Ecological restoration and design; climate change adaptation in marginalized social-ecological systems; urban ecology.

Alan Taylor
Professor of Geography

Vegetation dynamics; fire and climate variation on community development; environmental conservation.

Matthew Thomas
Professor of Entomology

The ecology and evolution of enemy-victim interactions

John Tooker
Assistant Professor

Plant-insect interactions, tritrophic interactions, chemical ecology, plant defenses, population and community ecology, agroecosystems, natural-enemy ecology, ecology of gall-inducing insects

James Tumlinson
Ralph O. Mumma Professor of Entomology
Director, Center for Chemical Ecology

Insect chemical ecology. Plant-insect interactions. Insect attractants.

Tyler Wagner
Adjunct Associate Professor of Fisheries Ecology

Fisheries ecology; hierarchical modeling; macrosystems ecology; ecological stressors; species of management concern; monitoring and assessments

W. David Walter
Assistant Unit Leader
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology U.S. Geological Survey Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit Pennsylvania State University

Applied spatial ecology; animal disease epidemiology; stable isotope ecology

Denice Wardrop
Senior Research Associate
Associate Professor of Geography and Ecology

Impacts of human disturbance on wetlands; plant community dynamics; theoretical applied ecology; landscape analysis.