Honors Program

Project Presenters

Alicia De Leon

Title: “Characterization of Forest Fragmentation Structure in Northeastern Indiana”
Major: Biology/ILCS
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jordan Marshall (Biology)
External Reviewer: Dr. Bill DeMott (Biology)
Honors Program Council Liaison: Dr. Christopher Rutkowski (Music)

Alicia De Leon is a double major in Biology and Spanish. During her time at IPFW, she has presented her research in both fields at IPFW and regional conferences, including the IPFW Poster Symposium (two posters), the Indiana Academy of Sciences Conference, and the IPFW Service Learning Showcase. For the past five years, she has been the recipient of the Cornell Scholarship at IPFW. Alicia has played a leadership role in the Honors Student Organization in 2013—2014, and served as a student representative on the Honors Program Council in 2013—2014.


Northeastern Indiana’s geography consists mainly of agricultural fields and small, scattered forests, most of which are privately owned resulting in disjunct management strategies and equally isolated end goals for the forests. The purpose of this study was to identify differences and similarities in forest overstory composition and physical structure within fragments across a regional landscape. By understanding species and structural distributions across the region, forest management strategies to maximize diversity may be developed at the regional scale. Because of similarities across counties in many of the compositional and structural forest characteristics, there may be benefit in management recommendations to land owners that could be applied as a regional strategy. A deeper analysis is needed to fully understand and identify implications of forest size and shape in regards to maximizing species richness and occurrence.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jordan Marshall’s research centers on plant distributions, invasive species, and plant stress responses. He focuses on plant interactions with other species in regards to establishment and growth, as well as shifts and losses within communities as a result of human-induced disturbances. In addition, he is interested in how physical disturbance and microsite characteristics facilitate invasion and intensify impacts of exotic species in natural communities. As a broadly trained ecologist, these interests extend from forest structure and