Au Sable Faculty Research Mentors
Rob Keys, PhD - Cornerstone University
Rob Keys serves as research mentor and teaches our Research Methods II course. He is currently the Associate Professor of Science at Cornerstone University. He received his BA in field biology from Cornerstone, M.Ed in Environmental Education from Gannon University and his PhD in Science Education with an Ecology emphasis from Western Michigan University.
His research interests involve the movements and interactions of wildlife across landscape matrices with emphasis on the impact of white-tailed deer on other animal movements. He also works on developing ecological models for teaching ecology concepts to students and helping undergraduate students with their research.
David Mahan, PhD - Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
Dave Mahan is the Associate Director and Registrar for Au Sable Institute and serves as research program coordinator and lead research faculty for the Boardman River Restoration project. Dave received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Stream Ecology from Michigan State University. Prior to coming to Au Sable, he was a biology professor at Western Michigan University and a Field Representative for the Michigan Field Office of the Nature Conservancy. These educational and occupational experiences helped him acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to teach courses at Au Sable and nurtured his life-long commitment to the conservation and restoration of land and water resources.
Ken Sytsma, PhD - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ken Sytsma serves as lead research faculty for our Grand Traverse Shoreline Restoration project and teaches the Field Botany course. He is currently a Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught since 1985. He served as Acting Director of the University of Wisconsin Herbarium (1993-1997), Acting Director of the Wisconsin State Herbarium (2006-2007), chair of the Botany Department (1998-2001), chair of the Biology major (2004 -2008), and Associate Editor of the Journal of Botany (2008-present). Ken received his B.S. in Biology from Calvin College, M.A. in Botany and Ecology from Western Michigan University, and his Ph.D. in Systematic and Evolutionary Biology from Washington University (St. Louis).
His research interests include the phylogenetics of flowering plants; floristics and biogeography of Great Lakes flora; adaptive radiations of island, tepui, and Andean flora; molecular and morphological evolution of Myrtales, Ericales, Brassicales, Campanulales and commelinoid monocots with emphasis on Onagraceae, Combretaceae, Capparidaceae, Bromeliaceae, Rapateaceae, Lobeliaceae; biogeography of disjunctions; phylogeography of rare or invasive species; pollination biology; and theory of evolution – biological, philosophical, and religious implications.
Ben Van Ee, PhD - Black Hills State University
Ben Van Ee serves as faculty research support in molecular genetics. Ben received his B.S. in Environmental Studies from Dordt College and a Ph.D. in Systematic Botany from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently an Assistant Professor and Herbarium Curator at Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. His research is in plant phylogenetics, taxonomy, and biogeography of both tropical species of the Euphorbiaceae family and plants from the upper midwest of North America.
John Korstad, PhD - Oral Roberts University
John Korstad serves as faculty research support in limnology. John is Professor of Biology at Oral Roberts University, where he has taught since 1980. He attended California Lutheran College at Thousand Oaks where he double majored in biology and geology, earned an M.S. at California State University, and his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His current research is on developing biofuels from algae. Previously, he conducted aquaculture research in Norway as part of a Fulbright grant and Marshall Fund Award.
Fred VanDyke, PhD - Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies
Fred Van Dyke is Au Sable Institute Executive Director. Fred received his Ph.D. in environmental and forest biology from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, State University of New York-Syracuse. He has served as a wildlife biologist for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, a scientific and management consultant to the National Park Service, and an ex officio member of numerous interdisciplinary management teams of the U. S. Forest Service. His studies of wildlife ecology, plant ecology and fire ecology have been published in The Journal of Wildlife Management, The Wildlife Society Bulletin, Journal of Mammalogy, The American Biology Teacher, and in the books, The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Redefining America's Wilderness Heritage (Yale University Press 1991) and The Complete Book of North American Mammals (Smithsonian Institute Press 1998). Fred is author of the widely and internationally used textbook, Conservation Biology: Foundations, Concepts, Applications (Springer 2008).