Long Center for Plant & Environmental Science

at the Holden Arboretum

Breaking new ground in plant and environmental science.

The scientists at the Ellen Corning Long and T. Dixon Long Center for Plant and Environmental Science take pride in pioneering the science of plants and trees, conducting nationally recognized research while fostering the next generation of leaders in this space. 


Current research endeavors

From global biodiversity to regional ecosystems, the relationships between species to the inner workings of plants, research at the Center for Plant and Environmental Science spans a wide range of study systems and research questions that benefit our local and global communities.

Promoting healthy forests

Holden’s conservation staff developed a rapid upland forest assessment (RUFA) tool to evaluate ecological conditions and apply adaptive management methods to improve ecosystem integrity including native biodiversity, wildlife habitat, water quality, and resilience. And in Working Woods, researchers study the impacts of woodland management practices and share them with landowners.

Saving our native trees

A number of tree species native to our region are under attack by forest pests. Holden is a leader in the study of these forest threats, especially beech leaf disease, beech bark disease, hemlock woolly adelgid, and emerald ash borer, as well as how the forest microbiome interacts with these pathogens. Our breeding programs aim to find and develop trees that are resistant to these pests. Holden is also the headquarters for the Great Lakes Basin Forest Health Collaborative.

Restoring our forests

Restoring forests across northeastern Ohio increases biodiversity and wildlife habitat, mitigates climate through carbon sequestration, and ultimately improves the health and resilience of our communities. Holden’s new seed bank forms the core of new climate-fighting reforestation efforts across the region. And a number of research projects are exploring topics related to tree planting such as the soil ecology of urban environments, the effects of acid rain on forest health, how soil organisms impact forest restoration, and the physiology of urban and rural trees.

Conserving global species

More than 1,400 rhododendrons from around the world are being evaluated and preserved at Holden’s David G. Leach Research Station in Madison, Ohio. Dr. Juliana Medeiros is a leader in research of the genus and is active in raising awareness of its utility as a study system, while rhododendron collections manager Connor Ryan is increasing the representation of species in the collection from both global and local species of concern.

Our Experts


Juliana Medeiros, PhD

Our lab at Holden Arboretum focuses on understanding the complex relationships between plants and their environment, and the evolution of plant physiological adaptations.

Katie Stuble, PhD

My research focuses on two important drivers of global change: invasive species and global climate change. Much of my research centers around how global change affects interactions among species, ultimately shaping the structure and function of ecosystems. 

About me Lab page

Na Wei, PhD

We seek to explain the mechanisms of eco-evolutionary adaptation to environmental change, through the lenses of ecology, genomics, and microbiome.

About me Lab page

David Burke, PhD

The soil ecology lab studies the interactions between plants and the microorganisms that live in the soil like the mycorrhizal fungi that form mutually beneficial relationships with plants.

About me Lab page

View all research staff

Our latest research news

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Get in touch with us!

Media inquiries:
Audriana Carmona
Communications Specialist
[email protected]

General inquiries:
Anna Funk
Science Communications Specialist
[email protected]

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