Dylan Fischer, Ph.D.

I‘m an ecosystem ecologist with a passion for studying plant ecology, forest ecosystems, conservation, and how ecosystems change through time and in response to environmental change. In this work I look at both how small things (like genes) scale up to affect ecosystems, and how big things (like climate change and volcanic eruptions) scale down to affect ecosystems. I both teach and do research. A fundamental part of my teaching philosophy is that these two worlds are not separate. Teaching and research are synergistic, and my classes are a process of discovery for my students and me, every time. Learn more about sciences at Evergreen here!

My research addresses linkages between plant diversity and ecosystem function, and ecosystem responses to disturbance. I focus on riparian forest ecology, forest carbon cycling, community change, nutrient cycling, root dynamics, and whole-tree tree physiology. You can find a link to my publications here, and  my lab page is linked here!

  • I have worked extensively with a collaborative research network – the Cottonwood Ecology Group – to understand linkages between tree molecular genetics and ecosystem ecology of riparian forestsin the West, and the Southwest (USA).
  • My work with tree roots has made extensive use of belowground camera technology and understanding belowground carbon balance.
  • I manage long-term datasets on temperate rainforest carbon dynamics. These projects intersect with training students how to conduct forest carbon stock inventories.
  • I use long-term plots to study forest understory plant community recovery following the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. This project is a continuation of the 40-year study by Dr. Joe Antos (UBC – Victoria) and Dr. Donald Zobel (OSU)
  • My other work in plant community ecology has addressed plant community responses to fire and spatial scale.

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: Biogeochemistry and ManagementTrees, Water in the West: History and Ecology, Introduction to Environmental StudiesForestsPlant Ecology and Physiology, and Field Ecology.

Feel free to contact me about projects, ideas, and classes!