Ohio University | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Environmental and Plant Biology

Porter Hall 315 | Athens OH 45701 | Tel 740 593 1126 | Fax 740 593 1130

Brian C. McCarthy


Associate Dean, Arts and Sciences

Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1989

Forest Ecology

Porter Hall 416

740 593 1615

Other Websites

McCarthy Lab & Graduate Students
An Introduction to R (tutorials)
Lab Protocols for Forest Soil Testing
Introduction to Dendrochronology
Amer. Chestnut Foundation, OH Chpt.
Torrey Botanical Society

Faculty Research Focus Areas

Eastern Deciduous Forest Ecology


PBIO 3150/5150 (Statistical Methods in Plant Biology)
PBIO 4360/5360 (Plant Community Ecology)
PBIO 8700 (Biostatistics-II, Multivariate Methods)

Departmental Service

Dysart Woods Laboratory, Director

Professional Service

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
Editorial Board, International Journal of Forestry Research
Editorial Board, Forests
Webmaster, Torrey Botanical Society
President, Ohio Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation
Board of Directors, The American Chestnut Foundation
Program Chair, 2012 Annual ESA Meeting

Research Program Summary

My lab employs a combination of experimental and observational studies to understand the population dynamics and community ecology of eastern hardwood forests.

There are several focal areas within the lab:

1) Ecological and life-history attributes associated with hardwood regeneration. Important factors include seed production, dispersal, predation, germination, seedling recruitment, survival, and growth.
2) Disturbance ecology and community impacts. Dendrochchronological methods are frequently used to evaluate forest disturbance history. Experimental studies are employed to evaluate how fire, gaps, and soils affect the forest community.
3) Forest herb community structure and diversity. Emphasis on understanding the factors impacting forest understory diversity at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. Also studies of human harvesting and cultivation of medicinally important herbs.
4) Ecology, habitat susceptibility, and control methods for non-native invasive species. Recent species of interest include: garlic mustard, Japanese stiltgrass, Amur honeysuckle, royal paulownia, and tree of heaven.
5) Forest restoration and mine-land reclamation. Different technologies are being explored to reclaim abandoned strip mines and restore them to hardwood forest. Special emphasis on the ecology and restoration of the American chestnut.

Selected References


Gilland, K.E., C.H. Keiffer, and B.C. McCarthy. 2012. Seed production of mature forest-grown American chestnut (Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(3): In press.

Chapman, J.I., P.D. Cantino, and B.C. McCarthy. 2012. Seed production in garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata)prevented by some methods of manual removal. Natural Areas Journal 32(3): 305-309.

Murphy, S.J. and B.C. McCarthy. 2012. Evidence for topographic control of tree spatial patterning in old-growth, mixed mesophytic forest in southeastern Ohio, USA. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(2): 181-193.

Albrecht, M.A. and B.C. McCarthy. 2011. Variation in dormancy and germination in three co-occurring perennial forest herbs. Plant Ecology 212: 1465-1477,

Beasley, R.R. and B.C. McCarthy. 2011. Effects of Microstegium vimineum on native hardwood survival and growth: Implications for restoration. Natural Areas Journal 31: 246-255.

DeForest, J. and B.C. McCarthy. 2011. Diminished Soil Quality in an Old-Growth, Mixed Mesophytic Forest Following Chronic Acid Deposition. Northeastern Naturalist 18: 177-184.

Larrimer, A.K. and B.C. McCarthy. 2010. Biological diversity associated with bigtooth aspen patches in a mixed oak landscape. Castanea 72: 211-225.

McCarthy, B.C., K.E. Gilland, J.M. Bauman, and C.H. Keiffer. 2010. Factors affecting performance of artificially regenerated American chestnut on reclaimed mine sites. Pages 582-597 in R.I. Barnhisel (Ed.), Bridging Reclamation, Science, and Community. Proceedings of the National Meeting of the American Society of Mining Reclamation, Pittsburgh, PA, June 5-11, 2010.

Pai, A. and B.C. McCarthy. 2010. The influence of environmental factors on the germination of Acorus calamus seeds. Seed Science & Technology 38: 390-398.

Pai, A. and B.C. McCarthy. 2010. Suitability of the medicinal plant, Acorus calamus L., for wetland restoration. Natural Areas Journal 30: 380-386.

Small, C.J. and B.C. McCarthy. 2010. Seed bank variation under contrasting site quality conditions in mixed oak forests of southeastern Ohio, USA. International Journal of Forestry Research 2010: 1-13.

Albrecht, M.A. and B.C. McCarthy. 2009. Seedling establishment shapes the distribution of shade-adapted forest herbs across a topographical moisture gradient. Journal of Ecology 97: 1037-1049.

Joesting, H.M., B.C. McCarthy, and K.J. Brown. 2009. Determining the shade tolerance of American chestnut using morphological and physiological leaf parameters. Forest Ecology and Management 257: 280-286.

Current and Recent Research Projects

Long-term vegetation dynamics at Dysart Woods, an old-growth forest of southeastern Ohio.
Spatial heterogeneity and scale factors impacting forest understory communities.
Effects of fire and thinning on forest productivity.
Effects of fire and thinning on oak mast production and seed predation.
Effects of fire and thinning on moss community diversity in mixed oak forests.
Ecology of Paulownia tomentosa.
Strip mine reclamation using American chestnut.
Restoration ecology of mixed oak forests: reintroduction experiments with Castanea dentata.
Composition, structure, and diversity of a remnant stand of Castanea dentata in southwestern Wisconsin.

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