Biology Research Series: Dr. Thomas Diggins

Dr. Thomas Diggins is a Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Political Science from Kent State University, a Master’s of Science Degree in Environmental Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a PhD in Biology from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He teaches several classes at YSU like Stream Ecology, Ecology of Lakes, Biometry, Dendrology/Forest Ecology, Ichthyology, Field Ecology, the Senior Capstone course, and he is the Introduction to Biology 2 lab coordinator.

Dr. Diggins also does research outside of his classroom duties. He focuses on ecosystem to regional-scale ecology, mainly concentrating on river, steam, and riparian systems.

“Much of my research is centered on a series of exceptional Lake Erie tributary stream corridors in western New York State,” said Dr. Diggins.

By using these tributary stream corridors, Dr. Diggins has been able to focus his research to find the interplay between hydrology, geology, and riparian forest ecology. He is also focusing on the roles of external disturbances in the environment versus developmental processes of forests and the influences of an organism’s habitat on its community stream organisms.

Dr. Diggins’ research has both “pure science” and applied science aspects. On the pure science aspects side, him and his team seek to better understand the internal and external dynamics of what are some of the most diverse ecosystems in the temperate zone. The applied science aspects him and his team use tend to seek to inform stakeholders involved in management and conservation of such systems.

Dr. Diggins primarily wants to focus on conservation of ecosystems.

“I have been conducting field research in the Zoar Valley Canyon (a New York State-owned parcel of ~3000 acres) of western New York from about 15 years now, and the work of my students and I proved crucial to a long-running and ultimately successful citizen campaign for preservation of >1000 acres of incomparable old-growth forest,” said Dr. Diggins.

To contact Dr. Diggins and learn more about his research, students can email him at or they may stop by his lab or office at any time he is there.