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Jonathan Lyon, Ph.D.



I have conducted research and been involved in conservation efforts in the northeastern United States as well as in Belize, Mexico, Madagascar and Russia through my work with Community Conservation. I am also an active member of Sustainable Merrimack.


B.S., Biology, Beloit College
Ph.D., Interdisciplinary Program in Ecology, Pennsylvania State University


  • Principles of Biology II
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science
  • Conservation and Restoration Biology
  • Aquatic and Coastal Ecology
  • Global Field Studies in Belize
  • Directed Study/Research I and II


My broad research interests are in applying ecological approaches to help understand, predict and ultimately solve real-world problems. I have active research interests in plant community ecology, the character of ecotones between communities and across landscapes, the impacts of human disturbance on plant community structure and dynamics, conservation biology and environmental management. I also have interest in freshwater, aquatic plant communities.

Riparian systems are of particular interest because of their species richness and variability in space and time, their impact on water quality, their importance as wildlife habitat, and the development and human utilization pressures on these systems. My primary focus is on elucidating patterns of plant diversity in relation to flooding regimes, topography, soils, physical characteristics of the landscape, and human disturbance. Much of this research has incorporated use of geographic information systems (GIS), multivariate statistics and spatial modeling in efforts to identify key environmental gradients and human impacts that are influencing these systems.

Current and Recent Research
I am currently working on several research projects, including the following current and recently funded projects:

  • Developing a Management Plan for the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Belize (2012-2013) download here as a pdf file
  • An EPA 319 NonPoint Source Pollution Remediation Grant entitled the North Reading Stormwater Infiltration Project: Reaching Out to Address Runoff (2010-2012)
  • An EPA/Mass DEP 604(b) Grant entitled Stormwater Remediation in the Upper Ipswich Watershed Project (2010-2011)
  • An EPA/DEP 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Control grant entitled the Martins Pond Shoreline Restoration and Sediment Reduction Project (DEP Project #02-12/319).  In addition to mapping of existing shoreline conditions and habitats, we are working to restore shoreline habitat on numerous properties around Martins Pond. (2007-2010)
  • A purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) biological control project using Galerucella spp. beetles.  The beetles are reared in the Merrimack College and released and monitored at several sites in Essex and Middlesex Counties. (2002-2010) 
  • Aquatic plant surveys of Martins Pond and other shallow, freshwater ponds and lakes in northeastern Massachusetts. (2002-2012)

Selected Publications

* denotes undergraduate researcher

Horwich, R.H., J. Lyon, A. Bose and C. Jones. 2012. Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Catalyzing Conservation Contagion.  In, Deforestation Around the World (ed. P. Moutinho), Chapter 14.  ISBN 978-953-51-0417-9, In-Tech, Open Access Publication.

Horwich, R.H., J. Lyon and A. Bose. 2011. What Belize can teach us about grassroots conservation. Solutions 2(3): 51-58.

Horwich, R.H., R. Islari, A. Bose, B. Dey, M. Moshahary, N. Kanti Dey. R. Das and J. Lyon. 2010. Community protection of the Manas Biosphere Reserve in Assam, India, and the Endangered golden langur Trachypithecus geei.  Oryx 44(2): 252-260.

Lyon, J. 2010. Grassroots success in controlling purple loosestrife.  Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners (MACC) 40(2): 4-5.

Horwich, R.H. and J. Lyon. 2007. Community Conservation: practitioners’ answers to critics. Oryx 41(3): 376-385.

Lyon, J. 2007. Diagnostic/Feasibility Study for the Martins Pond Watershed. Merrimack College Environmental Science Program submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 232 pp.

Lyon, J. and *T. Eastman. 2006. Macrophyte species assemblages and distribution in a shallow, eutrophic lake.Northeastern Naturalist 13(3): 443-453.

Lyon, J. and *N.M. Gross. 2005. Patterns of plant diversity and plant-environmental relationships across three riparian corridors. Forest Ecology and Management 204: 267-278

Lyon, J. and W.E. Sharpe. 2003. Impacts of hay-scented fern on the nutrition of northern red oak seedlings. Journal of Plant Nutrition 26(3): 487-502.

Lyon, J. and C.S. Sagers. 2002. Correspondence analysis of functional groups in a riparian landscape. Plant Ecology 164: 171-183.

Lyon, J. and *C.A. Annen. 1999. Relationships between herbaceous vegetation and environmental factors along a restored prairie-oak opening ecotone. Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences 87:37-50.

Lyon, J. and W.E. Sharpe. 1999. An assessment of the Ca:Al ratios of selected Pennsylvania forest soils. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 109: 53-65.

Sharpe, W.E., J. Lyon, and J.R. Drohan. 1999. Acidification status assessment of sensitive Pennsylvania forest soils. pp. 73-86. In W.E. Sharpe and J.R. Drohan (eds.), The Effects of Acidic Deposition on Pennsylvania’s Forest. Environmental Resources Research Institute, University Park, PA.

Horwich, R.H. and J. Lyon. 1999. Rural ecotourism as a conservation tool. pp. 102-119. In T.V. Singh and S. Singh (eds.), Tourism Development in Critical Environments. Cognizant Communication Corporation, New York.

Lyon, J. and C.S. Sagers. 1998. Structure of herbaceous plant assemblages in a forested riparian landscape. Plant Ecology138(1): 1-16.

Horwich, R.H. and J. Lyon. 1998. Community-based development as a conservation tool: the community baboon sanctuary and the Gales Point Manatee Project. pp. 343-363. In R.B. Primack, D.B. Bray, H.A. Galletti, and I. Ponciano (eds.), Timber, Tourists, and Temples: Conservation and development in the Maya Forest of Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico. Island Press.

Sagers, C.S. and J. Lyon. 1997. Gradient analysis in a riparian landscape: contrasts among forest layers. Forest Ecology and Management 96: 13-26.

Lyon, J. and W.E. Sharpe. 1996. Hay-scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula [Michx.] Moore) interference with the root and shoot growth of northern red oak (Quercus rubra L) seedlings.Tree Physiology 16: 923-932.

Lyon, J. and W.E. Sharpe. 1996. Effects of acidic deposition on forests. pp. 243-266. In S.K. Majumdar et al. (ed.) Forests - A Global Perspective. The Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences, Philadelphia.

Lyon, J. and R.H. Horwich. 1996. Modification of tropical forest patches for wildlife protection and community conservation in Belize. pp. 205-230. In J. Schelhas and R. Greenburg (ed.), Forest Patches in Tropical Landscapes. Island Press.




268 Mendel Hall