Dr. Ryan Utz is an aquatic ecologist who focuses on urban streams, salmonids, ecological restoration, and detecting environmental trends at broad spatio-temporal scales. Prior to joining Chatham, Dr. Utz served for four years as an aquatic ecologist at the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Past research projects have included an assessment of river enhancement to improve habitat for Chinook salmon in California’s Central Valley, comparing how effects of urbanization on streams differ between ecoregions of Maryland, and exploring bioenergetic patterns of brook trout in West Virginia.

Utz CV


The students that work on the research projects at the Falk School of Sustainability make everything possible: they represent the essential workhorses of all efforts we successfully pull off. I hire both graduate and undergraduate students to participate on, and often lead, the research efforts conducted within the lab. If you are a current or prospective Chatham student, feel free to contact me and inquire about current happenings and if any positions are open.




Ian Hart (BSc 22)

Post-Chatham position(s): Doctoral student, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Nick Leo (BSUS 22)

Post-Chatham position(s): Environmental Field Technician, CESO Inc.

Samantha Bidlack (MSUS 21)

Post-Chatham position(s): Sustainability consultant, 3R Sustainability

Thesis: Quantifying the importance of urbanization as a driver of freshwater salinization in the northeastern United States

Silvia Nuñez (MSUS 21)

Thesis: White-tailed deer prefer nonnative shrubs over native vegetation in a northeastern deciduous forest with abundant invasive shrubs

Eli Morrow (MSUS 21)

Thesis: Invasive plant species competition is not a significant cause of reduced native plant species : fitness and recruitment in a northeastern deciduous forest with abundant invasive shrubs

Fabiana Licata (MSUS 19)

Thesis: Spatially explicit patterns of dissolved oxygen in two headwater streams with contrasting land use

Hannah Rosche (MSUS 19)

Post-Chatham position(s): GIS field technician lead, UDC, Inc.; staff, Restoration Environmental Solutions

Thesis: Assessing the influence of Berberis thunbergii invasion on small mammal density and antipredator behavior in Pennsylvania forests

Hannah Blinn (MSUS 19)

Post-Chatham position(s): project manager, Kuntz Instruments; research fellow and environmental health educator, Environmental Health Project (southwest Pennsylvania)

Thesis: Exposure assessment of individuals living near unconventional oil and natural gas development and reported health symptoms in southwest Pennsylvania, USA

Mel Fetsko (BSUS 19)

Post-Chatham position(s): Outdoor educator, Venture Outdoors; Staff, Texas Conservation Corps

Capstone: Salamander assemblages in association with heavy cover of an invasive plant, Berberis thunbergii, in western Pennsylvanian suburban forests

Cierra Snyder (BSUS 19)

Capstone:  Short-term impact of managing an invasive shrub, Berberis thunbergii, on understory flora communities in an eastern North American deciduous forest

Joseph Mannino (MSUS 18)

Post-Chatham position(s):  collections assistant, Naples Botanical Garden

Thesis: An herbarium for Eden Hall creating a vascular plant reference collection to help with ecological management of the Eden Hall campus for Chatham

Bethany Bookout (BSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s): Youth outreach coordinator, New River Land Trust; Research technician, Caelyn Carey Laboratory at the Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Arthur Link (MSUS 17)

Thesis: Testing the mechanisms of native tree recruitment suppression by an invasive species of shrub, Berberis thunbergii

Valerie Skinner (MSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s):  Senior Associate ESG & Climate Advisory, KPMG; Sustainability reporting manager, MGM International Resorts, Las Vegas Nevada

Thesis: Rising concentrations of key chemicals in U.S. streams with consequences for industrial applications

Kee Won Song (MSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s): IBM Analytics; internship at the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; internship at the  Environmental Health Project (southwest Pennsylvania)

Thesis: Automated modeling and data visualization tools for monitoring air quality surrounding unconventional natural gas development activity

Catherine Giles (MSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s): assistant curator of invertebrates, Carnegie Museum of Natural History; intern, Operation Wallacea (Honduras)

Thesis: Long-term Lepidoptera monitoring in southwestern Pennsylvania: protocol and first year of data

Sarah Daugherty (BSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s):  botanical technician, National Park Service

Capstone: Elevated presence of mycorrhizal colonization and root tip density in native forest tree roots heavily invaded by Berberis thunbergii

Alison Molnar (BSUS 17)

Post-Chatham position(s): systems analyst, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center; clinical content analyst, Via Oncology/Elsevier; disease vector technician, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Capstone: Quantifying the impact of an invading shrub (Berberis thunbergii) on arthropod assemblages in forested environments of the northeastern U.S.