Ashland University science faculty research programs all involve students, who learn lab tools, do group-work, present project ideas, and go in-depth into active science.
Many directed research students present at professional conferences, meet experts in their field of interest, and co-author published papers. All of our research students gain experience that is valuable to professional development and their future in science and science-related work.
Chemical Ecology, Heavy Metal contamination of Consumer Products
Our students work in five environmental preserves.
Ashland University also manages five environmental preserves that support undergraduate and faculty research and habitat conservation. The Preserve Manager Is Dr. Richard Stoffer. Students may become involved in studies of the biological and physical attributes and processes that characterize these preserves. Each preserve contains unique habitat and wildlife and thus offers a variety of study opportunities.
Black Fork Wetlands (diverse wetlands and upland habitats)
In 1998, with the help of an anonymous donor, Ashland University purchased 38 acres of wetland six miles south of campus on U.S. 42. In 2004, an additional 260 acres was purchased with the support of a matching grant from the Clean Ohio Conservation fund. This preserve has a mix of several habitats, including buttonbush swamp, swamp forest, marsh, riparian corridor, and upland areas. Species observed at the preserve include beaver, trumpeter swans, bald eagles, soras, and sandhill cranes. Wetlands are habitats with high ecological value. Floodplain areas help slow, absorb, and filter water moving downstream during periods of high water and thus provide valuable ecosystem services. They have the highest biological productivity of terrestrial habitats outside of rainforest areas. The inclusion of nearly 300 acres in the Black Fork Wetland Preserve lessens its susceptibility to outside activities that might affect it and also provides many species with the larger habitat areas needed for maintenance of their populations.
In 2002, a one-acre preserve with deciduous forest and a running stream was donated by Mike and Judy Canfield. This preserve, a short drive from campus on U.S. 250 north, provides a cobble-bottom stream habitat not present in the other preserves close to Ashland.
Dayspring (stream and forested ravine)
In 2004, Dr. Lewis Smith (Ashland University'50) and his wife Ardeth (Kline, Ashland University'52) donated 50 acres of land in Coshocton County for use as an Ashland University environmental preserve. This property is located in an unglaciated area of Ohio, and thus contains different habitats and geological formations than are found in the other Ashland University preserves. Features include mature deciduous forest and a deep ravine with a healthy stream that flows across much of the property. In 2012, a grant from the Schooler Foundation allowed for a major renovation of the field station and upgrades to the access bridge.
Rupp (restored prairie)
In 1996, a grant from The Fran and Warren Rupp Foundation of Mansfield, Ohio, enabled Ashland University to purchase a 10-acre preserve three miles north of town on Ohio 511. Three habitats are being managed here: second-growth forest, old field, and two acres of restored prairie. Controlled burns have been done with the help of volunteer students and faculty.
Stoffer (old field and mature forest)
In 1999, Ashland University established the Thomas and Donna Stoffer Environmental Preserve north of Ashland on U.S. 42. Donated by Thomas (Ashland University'44) and Donna Stoffer (Ashland University'43), this preserve contains 10 acres of old fields and 20 acres of deciduous forest with streams.
Our facilities and instrumentation enhance our research.
The Kettering Science Center houses the Department of Biology/Toxicology and the Department of Chemistry/Geology/Physics, which together offer the interdisciplinary Environmental Science Program.
A major addition and renovation of the Kettering Science Center was completed in 2006. A new 2,500-sq.ft. state-of-the-art greenhouse and an additional research lab was completed in 2008. Altogether these facilities include new and renovated lab and teaching space and office suites that house faculty where students can find them, as well as several specialty rooms for specific research tools and facilities (e.g. vivarium, research microscopy, tissue culture).
Kettering teaching and faculty/student research laboratories provide students with access to modern equipment and instrumentation that are used for the analysis of environmental samples:
a variety of microscopes with digital and photographic capabilities (phase, polarizing, and fluorescence), including our research-grade inverted microscope with phase, DIC, and fluorescence optics and digital image capture technologies
a variety of growth chambers and a greenhouse
instrumentation for molecular studies of proteins and DNA
a variety of field-sampling and analytical preparation equipment