Jan Thompson

Dr. Jan R Thompson

  • Morrill Professor


Contact Info

109 Science II

Area of Expertise

  • Forestry
  • Urban Forestry
  • Urban Ecology


  • B.S. Forestry (Forest Soils), Michigan Technological University, 1981
  • M.S. Agronomy (Soil Morphology & Genesis), Iowa State University, 1984
  • Ph.D. Forestry (Forest Biology), Iowa State University, 1991


My research integrates social and biophysical dynamics of land use in urban landscapes, ecology and restoration of remnant forests in urban and rural settings, and targeted stewardship practices for water quality protection in urban environments. New areas of my research focus on urban sustainability through integration of food-energy-water systems, the role of trees in supporting resiliency in urban environments, and on planning for conservation of biological diversity in rapidly growing urban areas. I am also active in research on cooperative and collaborative learning and learning and leadership development for students.



Stewart, T., J. Thompson, K. Tank, with M. Buck, A. Drahos, and B. White. 2023. Is leaf litter just "yard waste?"  A field ecology investigation of the relationship between habitat abundance and biodiversity. Green Teacher 137:4-7.

Brighenti, T., P. Gassman, J. Arnold, and J. Thompson. 2023. Comparison of two tile-drain methods in SWAT via temporal and spatial testing for an Iowa watershed.  Journal of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers 66. https://doi.org/10.13031/ja.15534.

Dorneich, M., C. Krejci, N. Schwab, T. Stone, E. Huckins, J. Thompson, and U. Passe. 2023. Producer and consumer perspectives on supporting and diversifying local food systems in Central Iowa. Agriculture and Human Values. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-023-10504-9.

Stone, T., L. Dickey, H. Summers, J. Thompson, C. Rehmann, E. Zimmerman, and J. Tyndall. 2023. A systematic review of social equity in FEWS analyses. Frontiers in Environmental Science 11:1028306.

Brighenti, T., P. Gassman, W. Gutowski, and J. Thompson. 2023. Assessing the influence of a bias correction method on future climate scenarios using SWAT as an impact model indicator. Water 15: 750.

Stone, T., J. Thompson, K. Rosentrater, and M. Liebman. 2023. Modeling a localized metropolitan food system in the Midwest USA: Life cycle impacts of scenarios for Des Moines, Iowa. Science of the Total Environment 865:161095

Brighenti, T., T. Stone, P. Gassman, and J. Thompson. 2022. Increasing local production of table food in Iowa to improve agricultural sustainability: A food-energy-water systems (FEWS) project case study.  Agricultural Policy Review, Fall 2022.  Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

Brighenti, T., P. Gassman, K. Schilling, R. Srinivasan, M. Liebman, and J. Thompson. 2022. Determination of accurate baseline representation for three central Iowa watersheds within HAWQS-based SWAT analyses.  Science of the Total Environment 839:156302.

Stewart. T.W., J.R. Thompson, K.M. Tank, J.K. Olsen, P.T. Wolter, and M.S. Rentz.  2022.  A course-based research and teaching experience for science majors and preservice educators. Journal of College Science Teaching 52(1):22-28.

Stone, T., J. Thompson, K. Rosentrater, and A. Nair. 2021. A life cycle assessment approach for vegetables in large-, mid-, and small-scale food systems in the Midwest US.  Sustainability 13, 11368  (https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011368).

Ghiasi, S., Y. Zhou, J. Thompson, B. Marmur, and U. Passe. 2021. A sensitivity analysis to investigate urban heat island impact on building energy consumption. Proceedings of the Building Simulation Conference, Bruges, Belgium.

Malekpour Koupei, D., U. Passe, and J. Thompson.  2021.  A framework for integrating high-resolution trees in urban energy use models. Proceedings of the Building Simulation Conference, Bruges, Belgium.

Fagubule, O., R. Patel, U. Passe, and J. Thompson. 2021. Utilizing a novel mobile diagnostics lab to validate the impact of vegetative wall coverings in building cooling load reduction. Proceedings of the 8th International Building Physics Conference 2069: 012126 (doi:10.1088/1742-6596/2069/1/012126).

Thompson, J., B. Ganapathysubramanian, W. Chen, M. Dorneich, P. Gassman, C. Krejci, M. Liebman, A. Nair, U. Passe, K. Rosentrater, N. Schwab, T. Stone, Y. Wang, and Y. Zhou. 2021. Iowa Urban FEWS: Integrating social and biophysical models for exploration of urban food, energy, and water systems. Frontiers in Big Data (Climate Change) 4:662186. (doi:10.3389/fdata.2021.662186).

Izbicki, P., E. Stegemoeller, J. Thompson, and J. Compton. 2021.  Dancing for Parkinson's: A gateway for connectedness to peers and retention in research.  Cell Biology Education - Life Sciences Education (June 1, 2021) 20: art 27.

Passe, U., M. Dorneich, C. Krejci, D. Malekpour Koupaei, B. Marmur, L. Shenk, J. Stonewall, J. Thompson, and Y. Zhou.  2020.  An urban modelling framework for climate resilience in low-resource neighbourhoods. Buildings and Cities 1(1):453-474.  doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/bc.17.

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

Passe, U., J. Thompson, and K. Zarecor (eds.) 2020. SUS-RURI: Developing a Convergence Sustainable Urban Systems Agenda for Redesigning the Urban-Rural Interface Along the Mississippi River Watershed. Proceedings of an NSF-Sponsored Workshop Held in Ames, Iowa, August 12–13, 2019. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Digital Press. https://doi.org/10.31274/isudp.35.

Lang, B., M. Widrlechner, P. Dixon, and J. Thompson. 2020.  Can climatic variables improve phenological predictions for butterfly species? Journal of Insect Conservation 24: 375-383.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-019-00212-3.

Lang, B., P. Dixon, R. Klaver, J. Thompson, and M. Widrlechner. 2019.  Characterizing urban butterfly populations: The case for purposive point-count surveys.  Urban Ecosystems 22:1083-1096. DOI: 10.1007/s11252-019-00880-8.

Passe, U., J. Thompson, B. Ganapathysubramanian, B. Gao, and B. Marmur. 2019.  The impact of trees on passive survivability during extreme heat events in warm and humid regions.  In Proceedings of the Comfort at the Extremes (CATE2019) Conference, pp. 119-133.

Stonewall, J., U. Passe, M. Dorneich, L. Shenk, C. Krejci, J. Thompson, B. Ganapathysubramanian, S. Sarkar, and Y. Zhou. 2019.  An approach to incorporating human behaviors, building occupancy characteristics, and near-building climates in decision making to increase resilience of urban neighborhoods.  In Proceedings of a Workshop on Social Justice and Equity in the Engineering of Smart and Connected Cities, University of Washington.

Karnatz, C., J. Thompson, and S. Logsdon. 2019.  Capture of stormwater runoff and pollutants by three types of urban best management practices.  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 74(5):487-499.

Hashemi, F., B. Marmur, U. Passe, and J. Thompson.  2018.  Developing a workflow to integrate tree inventory data into urban energy models.  Pp. 331-336 In Proceedings of the Simulation in Architecture and Urban Development Conference (SimAUD), Society for Modeling & Simulation International.

Hendrich, S., B. Licklider, K. Thompson, J. Thompson, C. Haynes, and J. Wiersema.  2018.  Development of scientific thinking facilitated by reflective self-assessment in a communication-intensive food science and human nutrition course.  Journal of Food Science Education 17: 8-13.

Mabry, C., M.E. Gerken Golay, D. Lock, and J.R. Thompson. 2018.  Validating the use of coefficients of conservatism to assess forest herbaceous layer quality in upland mesic forests.  Natural Areas Journal 38(1):6-14.

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(3): 218-227.

Gerken Golay, M., J. Thompson, and R. Kolka.  2016.  Carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus storage across a growing season by the herbaceous layer in urban and preserved temperate hardwood forests.  Applied Vegetation Science.  doi: 10.1111/avsc.12253.

Haynes, C., J. Thompson, B. Licklider, S. Hendrich, K. Thompson, and J. Wiersema. 2016.  Mindset about intelligence and connections to student effort: Opportunities for learning and action.  Natural Sciences Education 45: Article 4.  doi:10.4195/nse2016.0004.

Olson, A. R., T. Stewart, and J. Thompson.  2016.  Direct and indirect effects of human population density and land use on physical features and invertebrates of Iowa (U.S.A.) streams.  Urban Ecosystems 19:159-180.

Wiersema, J., B. Licklider, J. Thompson, C. Haynes. S. Hendrich, and K. Thompson.  2015.  Mindset about intelligence and meaningful and mindful effort:  It's not my hardest class any more!  Learning Communities Research and Practice 3(2): Article 3. 
Available online at: https://wacenter.evergreen.edu/journal

Dixon, P., J. Thompson, M. Widrlechner, and E. Kapler.  2015.  The effectiveness of a single regional model in predicting non-native woody plant naturalization in five areas within the upper Midwest, USA.  Biological Invasions 17(12):3531-3545.  Available online at:  DOI 10.1007/s10530-015-0976-2.

Wu, J., T. W. Stewart, J. Thompson, R. Kolka, and K. Franz. 2015. Watershed features and stream water quality: Gaining insight through path analysis in a Midwest urban landscape, U.S.A.. Landscape and Urban Planning 143: 219-229.

Hess, G., C. Moorman, J. Thompson, and C. Larson. 2014 .  Integrating wildlife conservation into urban planning. Pp. 239-278  In R. McCleery et al. (eds.), Urban Wildlife Conservation: Theory and Practice. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.  406 pp.  

Gerken Golay, M., P.M. Bice, and J.R. Thompson. 2014.  Collaborative learning about forest understory restoration and management: Identifying goals and sharing knowledge.  Journal of Forestry 112(4): 327-336.

 Wu, J.W., and J.R. Thompson.  2013.  Quantifying impervious surface changes using time-series planimetric data from 1940 to 2011 in four central Iowa cities, U.S.A.  Landscape and Urban Planning 120: 34-47.

Gerken Golay, M., R. Manatt, C. Mabry, J. Thompson, and R. Kolka. 2013.  Restoration of herbaceous woodland plants: persistence, growth, and reproductive success of local and non-local propagules. Ecological Restoration 31(4): 378-387.

Gerken Golay, M., J. Thompson, C. Mabry, and R. Kolka, 2013.  An investigation of water nutrient levels associated with forest vegetation in highly altered landscapes.  Journal of Soil and Water Conservation  68(5): 361-371.

Wu, J., J. Thompson, R. Kolka, K. Franz, and T. Stewart. 2013.  Using the Storm Water Management Model to predict urban headwater stream hydrological response to climate and land cover change.  Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 17: 4743-4758.

Widrlechner, M., E. Kapler, P. Dixon, and J. Thompson.  2013.  The importance of geographic and biological variables in predicting the naturalization of non-native woody plants in the upper Midwest.  Journal of Environmental Horticulture 31(2): 124-131.

Bowman, T., J. Thompson, and J. Tyndall. 2012.  Resident, developer, and city staff perceptions of LID and CSD subdivision design approaches. Landscape and Urban Planning 107: 43-54.

Bowman, T., J. Tyndall, J. Thompson, J. Kliebenstein, and J. Colletti. 2012.  Multiple approaches to valuation of conservation design and low-impact development features in residential subdivisions. Journal of Environmental Management 104:101-113.

Kapler, E., J. Thompson, and M. Widrlechner.  2012.  Assessing stakeholder perspectives on invasive plants to inform risk analysis.  Invasive Plant Science and Management 5(2): 194-208.

Kapler, E., M. Widrlechner, P.Dixon, and J. Thompson. 2012.  Performance of five models to predict the naturalization of non-native woody plants in Iowa. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 30(1): 35-41.

Bowman, T., J. Thompson, J. Tyndall, and P. Anderson. 2012.  Land cover analysis for urban foresters and municipal planners: Examples from Iowa. Journal of Forestry 110: 25-33.

Thompson, J., and B. Licklider. 2011.  Visualizing urban forestry: Using concept maps to assess student performance in a learning-centered classroom. Journal of Forestry 109(7):402-408.

Herringshaw, C., T. Stewart, J. Thompson, and P. Anderson.  2011.  Land use, stream habitat, and benthic invertebrate assemblages in a highly altered Iowa watershed.  American Midland Naturalist 165:274-293.

Herringshaw, C., J. Thompson, and T. Stewart.  2010.  Learning about restoration of urban ecosystems:  A case study integrating public participation, stormwater management, and ecological research. Urban Ecosystems 13:535-562.

Licklider, B., S. Hendrich, J. Wiersema, J. Thompson, and C. Haynes.  2010. Developing responsible learners:  Ask more than you tell.  Journal of Learning Communities Research 5 (1) 77-88.

Gerken, M.,  J. Thompson, and C. Mabry.  2010.  Restoring nutrient capture in forest herbaceous layers of the midwest.  Ecological Restoration 28 (1): 14-17.

Widrlechner, M., J. Thompson, E. Kapler, K. Kordecki, P. Dixon, and G. Gates.  2009.  A test of four models to predict the risk of naturalization of non-native woody plants in the Chicago region.  Journal of Environmental Horticulture 27(4):241-250.

Bowman, T. and J. Thompson.  2009.   Barriers to implementation of low-impact and conservation subdivision design:  Developer perceptions and resident demand.   Landscape and Urban Planning 92:96-105.

Thompson, J,  G. Hess, T. Bowman, H. Magnusdottir, C. Stubbs-Gipson, M. Groom, J. Miller, and D. Stokes.  2009. Collaborative graduate education across multiple campuses. Journal of Natural Resource and Life Science Education 38: 16-26.

Bowman, T., J. Thompson, and J. Colletti. 2009. Valuation of open spaces and conservation features in residential subdivisions. Journal of Environmental Management 90:321-330.

Miller, J. R., M. Groom, G.R. Hess, D.L. Stokes, T. Steelman, J. Thompson, T. Bowman, L. Fricke, B. King, and R. Marquardt.  2009.  Where is biodiversity conservation in local planning?  Conservation Biology 23(1):53-63.

Adrizal, A., P. Patterson, R. Hulet, R. Bates, D. Despot, E. Wheeler, P. Topper, D. Anderson, and J. Thompson.  2008.  The potential for plants to trap emissions from farms with laying hens:  Ammonia and dust.  Journal of Applied Poultry Research 17:398-411.

Mabry, C., M. Gerken, and J. Thompson.  2008.  Seasonal storage of nutrients by perennial herbaceous species in undisturbed versus disturbed deciduous hardwood forests.   Applied Vegetation Science 11:35-42.

Adrizal, A., P. Patterson, R. Hulet, R. Bates, C. Mayers, G. Martin, R. Shockey, M. Van Der Grinten, D. Anderson, and J. Thompson. 2008. Vegetative buffers for fan emissions from poultry farms, 2: Ammonia, dust, and foliar nitrogen. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part B 43:1-8.

Schmid, A., J. Thompson, and D. Bengston. 2007. The public discourse about land use and water quality: Themes in newspapers in the upper Mississippi River basin. Applied Environmental Education and Communication 6:187-196.

Cleveland, L.V., and J.R. Thompson. 2007. Extension education and volunteer service: Assessing motivation and action. Journal of Extension [On-line], 45(1). Available at: https://archives.joe.org/joe/2007february/rb1.php.

Thompson, J., W. Elmendorf, M. McDonough, and L. Burban. 2005. Participation and conflict: Lessons learned from community forestry. Journal of Forestry 103(4): 174-178.

Widrlechner, M.P., J.R. Thompson, J.K. Iles, and P.M. Dixon. 2004. Models for predicting the risk of naturalization of non-native woody plants in Iowa. Journal of Environmental Horticulture 22(1):23-31.

Thompson, J.R., D.J. Nowak, D.E. Crane, and J.A. Hunkins. 2004. Iowa, U.S. communities benefit from a tree-planting program: Characteristics of recently planted trees. Journal of Arboriculture 30(1): 1-10.

Thompson, J., J. Colletti, and S. Jungst. 2004. Modeling interactive skills: Addressing student learning outcomes and pre-professional development in forestry. Proceedings of the 5th Biennial University Education in Natural Resources Conference, March 2004, Flagstaff AZ.

Thompson, J., J. Colletti, S. Jungst, and B. Licklider. 2003. Preparing tomorrow’s foresters: Embedding professional interactive skills in a technical discipline. Journal of Forestry 101(7): 8-13.

Thompson, J., S. Jungst, J. Colletti, B. Licklider, and J. Benna. 2003. Experiences in developing a learning-centered natural resources curriculum. Journal of Natural Resource and Life Science Education 32: 23-31.

Jungst, S., J. Thompson, and G. Atchison. 2003. Academic controversy: Fostering constructive conflict in the classroom. Journal of Natural Resource and Life Science Education 32:36-42.

Thompson, J., B. Licklider, and S. Jungst. 2003. Learner-centered teaching: Postsecondary strategies that promote “Thinking like a professional”. Theory Into Practice 42:133-141.

Iakovoglou, V., J. Thompson, and L. Burras. 2002. Characteristics of trees according to community population level and by land use in the midwest, U.S.A. J. Arb. 28(2): 59-69.

Iakovoglou, V., J. Thompson, L. Burras, and R. Kipper. 2001. Factors related to urban tree growth in the Midwest, U.S.A. Urban Ecosystems 5:71-85.

Feeley, C.J., E.R. Hart, J.R. Thompson, and T.C. Harrington. 2001. Occurrence, associated symptoms, and potential insect vectors of the ash yellows phytoplasma in Iowa. J. Arb. 27(6): 331-339.

Vitosh, M. A. and J. R. Thompson. 2000. Iowa communities benefit from an externally-funded tree-planting program. J. Arb. 26(2): 114-119.

Jungst, S.E., J. R. Thompson, and J. Colletti. 2000. Using student-centered learning techniques in forestry classes at Iowa State University. Proc. 3rd Biennial Conference on Higher Education in Natural Resources, Columbia. MO., March 23-28.

Thompson, J. R. 1998. Urban and community forestry education at Iowa State University. Proc. SAF National conference, Traverse City, MI., Sept. 20-23.

Schultz, R.C., and J.R. Thompson. 1997. Effect of density control and undercutting on root morphology of 1+0 bareroot hardwood seedlings: five-year field performance of root-graded stock in the central USA. New Forests 13:301-314.

Thompson, J. R. 1997. Success begins below ground. American Nurseryman, 1-15-97, pp. 45-49.

Schultz, R. C. and J. R. Thompson, 1996. Tree shelters for plantation establishment of bareroot red oak and black walnut in 5 midwestern states. U.S.D.A. Forest Service Gen. Tech. Report NE-221, pp. 29-36.

Thompson, J. R., and R. C. Schultz. 1995. Root system morphology of Quercus rubra L. planting stock and 3-year field performance in Iowa. New Forests 9:225-236.

Thompson, J. R. 1992. Prairies, Forests, and Wetlands: The Restoration of Natural Landscape Communities in Iowa. University of Iowa Press, Iowa City, IA. 139 pp.