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Robert K Swihart

Forestry and Natural Resources 

  • Head/Professor of Forestry & Natural Resources
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 CenterPurdue Interdisciplinary Center for Ecological SustainabilityNatural Resources Leadership Development Institute

Robert K. “Rob” Swihart is Professor and Head of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) at Purdue University. Rob received his B.S. in Wildlife Science from Purdue University in 1979, his M.S. in Wildlife from the University of Minnesota in 1981, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Kansas in 1985. He worked one year as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow and, in 1986 accepted a position as a research ecologist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.  He joined the faculty at Purdue in 1991. Rob has served as Head of FNR since 2004. As Department Head, he is responsible for leadership and oversight of 30 faculty, 37 administrative and professional staff, 11 clerical staff, 255 undergraduate students, and 85 graduate students, and administers a budget of approximately $8.5 million annually.

Rob was the first faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources to be named a University Faculty Scholar. He has published over 120 scholarly works, many of which are widely cited. His research interests include effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife, population and community ecology of mammals, spatial ecology, plant-herbivore interactions, and wildlife damage management. He relies on a combination of mathematical, experimental, and comparative approaches to address the importance of spatial structure for behavioral and ecological processes affecting the conservation and management of vertebrates, with a goal of developing quantitative tools for informing policy makers and stakeholders of the consequences of land-use change for biodiversity and species conservation. 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

(2015) Outstanding New Learning Community Instructor Award. Purdue University.

(2014) Distinguished Service Award. Indiana Arborist Association.

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

(2011) Outstanding Graduate Educator. College of Agriculture.

(2011) Outstanding Graduate Educator. College of Agriculture.

(2008) North-central regional chair. National Association of University Forest Resources Programs.

(2003) Best Paper Award. Indiana Chapter of The Wildlife Society.

(2003) University Faculty Scholar. Purdue University.

Selected Publications

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

Kellner, K., & Swihart, R. (2014). Changes in small mammal microhabitat use following silvicultural disturbance. American Midland Naturalist, 172, 348-358.

Kellner, K., Riegel, J., & Swihart, R. (2014). Effects of silvicultural disturbance on acorn infestation and removal. New Forests, 45, 265-281.

Smyser, T., & Swihart, R. (2014). Husbandry practices for the captive propagation of Allegheny woodrats. Zoo Biology, 33, 29-35.

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.

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.

Dalgleish, H., Shukle, J., & Swihart, R. (2013). Weevil diversity on Chinese, American, and BC3 chestnut in central Indiana. Journal of the American Chestnut Foundation, 27(3), 24-28.

Urban, N., & Swihart, R. (in press). A pre-treatment assessment of small mammals in the Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment. In The Hardwood Ecosystem Experiment: a framework for studying responses to forest management.

Dalgleish, H., & Swihart, R. (2012). American chestnut past and future: implications for resource pulses and consumer populations of eastern U.S. forests. Restoration Ecology, 20, 490-497.