Catherine Mabry McMullen

Dr. Catherine M McMullen

  • Adjunct Associate Professor


Social Media and Websites

Area of Expertise

  • Forestry
  • Restoration Ecology


  • B.A. Biology, Drake University, 1981
  • M.A. Biology, Drake University, 1984
  • M.T.S. (Master of Theological Studies), Harvard Divinity School, 1990
  • Ph.D. Botany, Iowa State University, 2000


My general interests are forestry and restoration ecology. Prospective students please note: I am no longer accepting new graduate students.

My research focuses on forest herbaceous plant species management and restoration ( Areas of specific interest include plant community composition in response to natural and human disturbance, nutrient uptake capacity of woodland herbaceous species, plant functional traits, assessing restoration success, genetic variation among source populations of woodland herbaceous species for use in restoration, and animal use of restored habitats.

Peer Reviewed Publications

ISU Digital Repository


Mabry, C.M. Limits to local sourcing in herbaceous plant restoration. Ecological Restoration, in press.

Altrichter, E.A. Mabry, C.M., and J.R. Thompson. 2020. Genetic differentiation and phenotypic plasticity of forest herbaceous species in Iowa, central United States. Ecological Restoration 38(3) 160-168.

Mabry, C.M., and T.M. Harms. 2020. Impact of delayed mowing on grassland birds of conservation concern. Ecological Restoration 38(2) 77-82.

Mabry, C.M., Gerken Golay, M., Lock, D. Thompson, J.A.  2018. Validating the use of coefficients of conservatism to assess forest herbaceous layer quality. Natural Areas Journal 38(1) 6-14.

Mabry, C.M. 2017. Regional genetic differences in forest herbaceous layer species. Ecological Restoration 35(4) 291-296.

Altrichter, E.A., J.R. Thompson, and C.M. Mabry. 2017. Stakeholders’ perceptions of native plants and local ecotypes in ecological restoration. Ecological Restoration 35:218-227.

Gerken Golay, M., C. Mabry, R. Manatt, J. Thompson, and R. Kolka. 2013. Targeted restoration of herbaceous woodland plants: survival, growth, and reproductive success of local and non-local propagules. Ecological Restoration 31:378-387.

Gerken, M.E., Thompson, J.R., Mabry, C.M. and R.K. Kolka. 2013. An investigation of water nutrient levels associated with forest vegetation in highly altered landscapes. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 68:361-371.

Hirsh, S., Mabry, C.M., Schulte, L.A., and J. Liebman. 2013. Diversifying agricultural catchments by incorporating prairie buffer strips. Ecological Restoration 31:202-211.

Mabry, C.M. 2012. Optimizing shrub density in Midwest, USA, savannah restoration. Ecological Restoration 31:63-68.

Mabry, C.M. 2011. The signs of the times: The state of the question among ecologists, pp. 19-36 In, Winright, T. ed. Green Discipleship: Catholic Theological Ethics and the Environment. St. Mary’s Press, Winona, MN.

Mabry, C.M. 2011. Population trends in Penstemon tubiflorus, a rare Midwestern prairie species: recruitment, survival, reproductive output and transplant success. Western North American Naturalist 71:17-24.

Lin, T.C., Hamburg, S.P., Lin, K.C., Wang, L.J. Chang, C.T., Hsia, Y.J., Vadeboncoeur. M.A., Mabry, C.M. and C.P. Liu. 2011. Typhoon disturbance and forest dynamics: lessons from northwest Pacific subtropical forest. Ecosystems 14:127-143.

Mabry, C.M. 2011. Population trends in Penstemon tubiflorus, a rare Midwestern prairie species: recruitment, survival, reproductive output and transplant success. Western North American Naturalist, 71(1):17-24.

Brudvig, L.A., Mabry, C.M. and L. Mottl. 2011. Dispersal, not establishment, limits Iowa woodland understory restoration. Restoration Ecology 19: 24-31.

Mabry, C.M. and C.L. Dettman. 2010. Odonata richness and abundance in relation to vegetation structure as an indicator of wetland quality in a in Prairie Pothole Region, USA, wetland complex. Ecological Restoration 28(4):475-484.

Mabry, C.M., Brudvig, L.A. and R.C. Atwell. 2010. The confluence of landscape matrix and site-level management in determining Midwestern oak savanna and woodland breeding bird communities. Forest Ecology and Management, 260:42-51.

Knight, K.W. Schultz, D., Mabry, C.M., and T. Isenhart. 2010 Natural riparian forests with and without planted grass filters as buffers of concentrated flow from row crop fields. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 46:311-322.

Gerken, M.E., Thompson, J.R. Mabry, C.M. 2010 Herbaceous species with potential for restoring nutrient capture in riparian forests of the Midwest. Ecological Restoration 28 (1): 14-17.

Dettman, C.L., Mabry, C.M., and L. Shulte. 2009. Midwestern U.S. Savannas: one size does not fit all. Restoration Ecology, in press, early view online July 2008.

Mabry, C.M. Henry, C. and C. Dettman. 2009. Population trends in northern monkshood, Aconitum noveboracense, at four sample intervals. Natural Areas Journal 29: 146-156.

Mabry, C.M. and J.M. Fraterrigo. 2009. Species traits as generalized predictors of forest community response to human disturbance. Forest Ecology & Management 257:723-730.

Dettman, C.L. and Mabry, C.M. 2008. Lessons leaned about research and management: a case study from a Midwest lowland savanna. Restoration Ecology 16(4): 1-10.

Brudvig, L. and C.M. Mabry. 2008. A trait-based analysis of species lists to guide restoration of Midwestern oak savannas. Restoration Ecology 16(2): 290-304.

Mabry, C.M. Gerken, M.E. and J.R. Thompson. 2008. Nutrient uptake by the herbaceous layer in disturbed and intact forests in central Iowa, USA. Applied Vegetation Science 11: 35-42.

Brudvig, L., C.M. Mabry, J.R. Miller, and T.A. Walker. 2007. Evaluation of central North American prairie management using species diversity, life-form, and individual species metrics. Conservation Biology 21(3): 864-874.

Mabry, C.M., and C.M. Caruso. 2006. Evidence for genetic differentiation of Iowa and Minnesota populations of two forest herbs: implications for restoration. Ecological Restoration 24: 191-192.

Mottl, L.M., C.M. Mabry, and D.R. Farrar. 2006. Seven-year survival of perennial herbaceous transplants in temperate woodland restoration. Restoration Ecology. 14: 330-338.

Mabry, C.M. 2005. Establishing native shade tolerant perennials in highly degraded woodlands (Iowa). Ecological Restoration 23: 198-199.

Asbjornsen, H., L.A. Brudvig, C.M. Mabry, C.W. Evans, and H.M. Karnitz. 2005. Defining reference information for restoring ecologically rare tallgrass oak savannas in the Midwest. Journal of Forestry 103: 345-350

Mabry, C.M. 2004. The number and size of seeds in common versus restricted woodland herbaceous species in central Iowa, USA. Oikos 107: 497-504.

Mabry, C.M. 2002. Effect of cattle grazing on woodlands in central Iowa. Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science  109:53-60.

Mabry, C.M., D.D. Ackerly, and F. Gerhardt. 2000. Landscape and species-level distribution of morphological and life history traits in a temperate woodland flora. Journal of Vegetation Science  11:213-224.

Mabry, C.M., and T. Korsgren. 1998. A permanent plot study of vegetation and vegetation-site factors fifty-three years following hurricane disturbance. EcoScience  5:232-40.

Mabry, C.M., S. Hamburg, T.C. Lin, F.W. Horng, H.B. King, and Y.J. Hsia. 1998.  Typhoon disturbance and stand-level damage patterns at Fu-Shan Experimental Forest, Taiwan. Biotropica  30:238-250.

Mabry, C.M., and P.W. Wayne. 1997. Defoliation of the annual herb Abutilon theophrasti:  mechanisms underlying reproductive compensation. Oecologia  111:225-232.

Mabry, C.M., M. Jasienski, J.S. Coleman, and F.A. Bazzaz. 1997. Genotypic variation in Polygonum pensylvanicum:  nutrient effects on plant growth and aphid colonization. Canadian Journal of Botany  75:546-551.

Mabry, C.M., and J.L. Christiansen. 1991. The activity and breeding cycle of Scaphiopus bombifrons Cope in Iowa. Journal of Herpetology  25:116-119.

Christiansen, J.L., and C.M. Mabry. 1985. The amphibians and reptiles of Iowa's loess hills. The Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science 92:159-163.