We're proud of our faculty's research.

Ashland University science faculty research programs all involve students, who learn to use lab and field equipment, 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.

Faculty Research Areas



Dr. Soren Brauner plant genetics and evolution, invasive species
Dr. Nigel Brush millennial-scale climate change and climatic proxies, rhythmic patterning in the geologic record, geochronology, catastrophism and mass extinctions, the Ice Age
Dr. Dolly Crawford spatial ecology, biophysical modeling of desert mammals, bird habitat selection
Dr. Douglas A. Dawson chemical mixture toxicity, developmental toxicity, tsructure-activity relationships
Dr. Jenna Dohli environmental microbiology, microbial biodiversity and ecology in aquatic systems, cold adaptation of Antarctic green algae
Dr. Mason Posner ichthyology, evolution and function of the vertebrate eye
Dr. Patricia A. Saunders aquatic food-web dynamics, plankton ecology, dynamics of temporary pool communities in a forested floodplain
Dr. Richard L.Stoffer, Emeritus ecology, animal behavior, prairie restoration, systematics of the Dipteran family Chironomidae
Prof. Merrill Tawse polyploidy in local Ambystomid salamanders, territorial behavior and movement patterns of Virginia rails and Sora rails, foraging behavior of insectivorous bats
Dr. Andrew J. Trimble environmental toxicology, pesticides, contaminant mixtures, aquatic invertebrates
Dr. Jeffrey D. Weidenhamer 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. They are also used regularly by our classes. 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)
  • Canfield (stream)
  • Dayspring (stream and forested ravine)
  • Rupp (restored prairie)
  • Stoffer (old field and mature forest)

Our Facilities and Instrumentation

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:

  • GC/mass spectrometer
  • X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
  • atomic absorbance spectrometers
  • UV/VIS spectrometers
  • gas chromatograph
  • ion chromatograph
  • high performance liquid chromatographs
  • microplate reader (UV/VUS, fluorescence, luminescence)
  • 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