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Robert K Swihart

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Professor of Wildlife Science
765.494.3590
765.494.9461
PFEN Room 125B
715 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2061

Dr. Rob Swihart's website

Research Group - Wildlife Science

Facilities - Animal Care FacilityJohn S. Wright CenterWildlife Ecology Lab

Related Centers - Center for the EnvironmentPurdue Climate Change Research CenterNatural Resources Leadership Development Institute

Robert K. “Rob” Swihart is Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Purdue University. Rob received his B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University, his M.S. in Wildlife from the University of Minnesota, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Kansas. He worked as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow and as a research ecologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station before joining the faculty at Purdue. Rob served as Head of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) from 2004-2016. 

Rob was the first faculty member in FNR to be named a University Faculty Scholar. He has published over 170 scholarly works, many of which are widely cited. His research interests include effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife, population and community ecology of mammals, plant-herbivore interactions, restoration ecology, conservation biology, and wildlife management. He relies on a combination of mathematical, experimental, and comparative approaches to address the importance of human activities (principally agriculture and forest management) for behavioral and ecological processes affecting vertebrates. Rob’s research spans levels of biological organization from individuals to communities and spatial scales ranging from microsites to continents. Many of his interests are inherently interdisciplinary, which has led to strong collaborative ties with mathematicians, statisticians, specialists in remote sensing, botanists, parasitologists, endocrinologists, chemists, hydrologists, economists, demographers, and social scientists.

Awards & Honors

(2016) Hoosier Wildlife Award. The Wildlife Society, Indiana Chapter.

(2016) Robert D. Burke Special Award. Indiana Tree Farm Program.

(2016) Learning Community Real-World Experience Award. Purdue University.

(2015) Learning Community Academic Connection Award. Purdue University.

(2015) William L. Hoover Exemplary Faculty Service Award. Department of Forestry and Natural Resources.

(2014) Distinguished Service Award. Indiana Arborist Association.

(2014) Outstanding New Learning Community Instructor Award. Purdue University.

(2011) Outstanding Graduate Educator. College of Agriculture.

(2008) North-central Regional Chair. National Association of University Forest Resources Programs.

(2003) University Faculty Scholar. Purdue University.

Selected Publications

Lichti, N. I., Steele, M. A., & Swihart, R. K. (in press). Seed fate and decision-making processes in scatterhoarding rodents. Biological Reviews.

Kellner, K., & Swihart, R. (2014). Accounting for imperfect detection in ecology: a quantitative review. PLOS ONE, 9(10), e111436.

Swihart, R. K., Sundaram, M., Hook, T. O., DeWoody, J., & Kellner, K. F. (2016). Benchmarks of scholarly performance for faculty in fisheries and wildlife. PLOS ONE, 11(5), e0155097. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0155097

Swihart, R. K., Sundaram, M., Hook, T. O., & DeWoody, J. (2016). Factors affecting scholarly performance by wildlife and fisheries faculty. Journal of Wildlife Management, 80, 563-572.

Kellner, K. F., Lichti, N. I., & Swihart, R. K. (n.d.). Midstory removal reduces effectiveness of oak (Quercus) acorn dispersal by small mammals in the Central Hardwood Forest region. Forest Ecology and Management, 375, 182-190.

Kellner, K. F., Lichti, N. I., & Swihart, R. K. (in press). Timber harvest and drought interact to impact oak seedling growth and survival in the Central Hardwood Forest. Ecosphere.

Swihart, R., Saunders, M., Kalb, R., Haulton, G., & Michler, C. (2013). The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: a framework for studying responses to forest management. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.

Lichti, N., Steele, M., Zhang, H., & Swihart, R. (2014). Mast species composition alters seed fate in North American rodent-dispersed hardwoods. Ecology, 95, 1746-1758.

Govindan, B. N., Feng, Z., DeWoody, Y., & Swihart, R. K. (2015). Intermediate disturbance in experimental landscapes improves persistence of beetle metapopulations. Ecology, 96, 728-736.

Sundaram, M., Willoughby, J., Lichti, N. I., Steele, M. A., & Swihart, R. K. (2015). Segregating the effects of seed traits and common ancestry of hardwood trees on eastern gray squirrel foraging decisions. PLOS ONE, 10(6), e0130942. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130942