Dylan Fischer, Ph.D.

Member of the Faculty (Forest Ecology), The Evergreen State College

Ph.D. Forest Science (Ecosystem Science), Northern Arizona University, 2005

M.S. Forestry (Tree Physiology), Northern Arizona University, 2001

B.S. Environmental Science (Botany), Oregon State University, 1998

PUBLICATIONS:  listed here on Google Scholar, or  here on ResearchGate

Hi there! My research in ecosystem ecology addresses linkages between plant diversity and ecosystem function, and ecosystem responses to disturbance. I focus on community change, riparian forest ecology, soil carbon, nutrient cycling, root dynamics, tree physiology, and forest carbon cycling.  Please feel free to contact me with interest in my research. Also check out the Lab page with links to more research from my lab. 

Here are a few  highlights:

  • I have been especially interested in linkages between tree molecular genetics and ecosystem ecology of riparian forests in the West, and Southwest (USA; see links to the cottonwood system at our lab page). 
  • My work with tree roots has taken me belowground using underground camera technology.
  • Our lab’s work on temperate rainforest carbon balance continues, and we are continually updating our long-term data set on local forest and soil carbon  stores and fluxes (see EEON).
  • My lab runs a project measuring long-term plots examining forest understory plant recovery following the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980

My teaching (Evergreen Faculty member since 2005) allows me to work in an even broader array of ecosystems because my classes often focus on conducting field studies and hands-on ecological science. Recent remote field sites I have worked in include the Skokomish River (WA), Mount Saint Helens (WA), Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (AZ), Grand Canyon (AZ), The Sinlahekin Valley (WA), the Metolius River (OR), and the prairies of the southern Puget Sound lowlands (WA). Some recent classes I’ve taught include Temperate Rainforests: BiogeochemistryField Ecology, Trees, Plant ecology and Physiology, Water in the West: History and Ecology, Field and Laboratory Biology in Southwestern Ecosystems, The Olympic Peninsula, Genes to Ecosystems, Introduction to Environmental Studies, Temperate Rainforests, Plant Ecology and Physiology, and Field Ecology


New paper on tree neighborhood modeling and the potential effects on root growth!

  • Fischer, D.G., Dickson, B.G., Whitham, T.G. and Hart, S.C., 2019. Self-similarity, leaf litter traits, and neighborhood predicting fine root dynamics in a common-garden forest. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 7, p.142.

New Paper on Cottonwood leaf litter decomposition in a hot southwestern riparian forest:

  • LeRoy, C.J. and Fischer, D.G., 2019. Do genetically-specific tree canopy environments feed back to affect genetically specific leaf decomposition rates? Plant and Soil, pp.1-10. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-019-03952-y

New papers on Mount St Helens in Journal of Ecology!

  • Fischer, D.G., Antos, J.A., Biswas, A. and Zobel, D.B., 2019. Understorey succession after burial by tephra from Mount St. Helens. Journal of Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13052
  • Chang, C.C., Halpern, C.B., Antos, J.A., Avolio, M.L., Biswas, A., Cook, J.E., del Moral, R., Fischer, D.G., Holz, A., Pabst, R.J. Swanson, M.E., and D.B. Zobel. 2019. Testing conceptual models of early plant succession across a disturbance gradient. Journal of Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13120
 This article  from JAE was  featured in BES National Tree Week!  cover image


and is the focus of this podcast:

See the links above to see publications from other systems from high to low elevation, young to old ecosystems, prairies to forests, deserts to rainforests, and above- to below-ground!


Contact me for more information! e-mail:   fischerd(at)evergreen.edu Phone: 360 867 6509