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Emily Holt

Emily Holt


Biological Sciences
Natural and Health Sciences

Contact Information

Ross Hall 2520
Mailing Address
University of Northern Colorado
Biological Sciences
Campus Box 92
Greeley, CO 80639


Professional/Academic Experience

2016 - present: Associate Professor, University of Northern Colorado

2011 - 2016: Assistant Professor, Utah Valley University

2008 - 2011: Adjunct Assistant Professor/ Lecturer, Utah State University

Research/Areas of Interest

I am a biology education researcher and plant community ecologist. The central theme of my bioeducation research is measuring the learner-centeredness of undergraduate biology classes. I have investigated students’ understanding of plagiarism and how education affects their decisions; classroom alignment and its relative importance in improving students critical thinking through a semester (as compared to the cognitive level of assessments and learning objectives or the learner-centeredness of the classroom); the mechanisms that make a flipped classroom effective or not; and am working to develop a concept inventory for climate change related to biotic impacts and scale.

The core of my ecological research is grounded in disturbance ecology and community response. I use community analyses to uncover gradients in community structure of vascular plants, lichens, and mosses. I have participated in extensive floristic inventories of vascular plants in central Colorado, and lichens and bryophytes of northwestern Alaska and various parts of Utah. I also use secondary compounds exclusive to lichens to help inform community response and develop biochemical protocols.

Publications/Creative Works

Vos*, C., P. McKinney*, C. Pearson*, E. Heiny, G. Gunewardena, E.A. Holt. 2017. In review. The optimal extraction and stability of atranorin from lichens, considering solvent and pH. The Lichenologist.

Victor*, T., G. Garrett*, L.L. St. Clair, M. Schultz, E.A. Holt. 2016. Northward range expansions of several Lichinella Nyl. species (Lichinaceae) in the western United States. Evansia 33:174-182.

Covert*, M., E. Holt, R. Van Buren. 2015. Vegetation patterns associated with abiotic factors and human impacts at the Capitol Reef Field Station. Southwestern Naturalist, 60:193-206.

Holt, E.A., N. Zemp*, M. Van Orman*, J. Perry*, B.T. Williams*, M. Ogden*. 2015. Macrolichen substrate selection: Patterns among aspen, non-aspen hardwood, and conifer-dominated forests in the Wasatch Mountains, Utah. The Bryologist 118:357-366.

Holt, E.A., C. Young*, J. Keetch*, S. Larsen*, B. Mollner*. 2015. The greatest learning return on your pedagogical investment: Alignment, assessment or in-class instruction? PLOS ONE 10(9): e0137446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137446.

Holt, E.A., R. Bradford*, I. Garcia*. 2015. Do lichens show latitudinal patterns of diversity? Fungal Ecology 15:63-72.

Ebert-May, D., E. Holt. 2014. Seeing the forest and the trees: Research on plant science teaching and learning. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13:361-362.

Holt, E.A., B. Fagerheim, S. Durham. 2014. Online plagiarism training falls short in biology classrooms. CBE-Life Sciences Education 13:83-89.

Holt, E.A. 2012. Education improves plagiarism detection by biology undergraduates. BioScience 62:585-592.

Holt, E.A., S.W. Miller. 2010. Bioindicators: Using organisms to measure environmental impacts. Nature Education Knowledge. 2(1): 6. Available at: http://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/bioindicators-concepts-and-applications-16821310.

McCune, B., E. Holt, P. Neitlich, T. Ahti and R. Rosentreter. 2009. Macrolichen diversity in Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. North American Fungi 4: 1-22.

Holt, E.A., B. McCune, P. Neitlich. 2009. Macrolichen communities in relation to soils and vegetation in the Noatak National Preserve, Alaska. Botany 87: 241-252.

Holt, E.A., G. Bench. 2008. 14C/C measurements support Andreev’s internode method to determine lichen growth rates in Cladina stygia. The Lichenologist 40: 559-565.

Holt, E.A., B. McCune, P. Neitlich. 2008. Spatial scale of GIS-derived categorical variables affects their ability to separate sites by community composition. Applied Vegetation Science 11: 421-430.

Holt, E.A., B. McCune, P. Neitlich. 2008. Grazing and fire impacts on macrolichen communities of the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA. The Bryologist 111: 68-83.

Holt, E.A., B. McCune, P. Neitlich. 2007. Succession and community gradients of arctic macrolichens and their relation to substrate, topography and rockiness. Pacific Northwest Fungi 2: 1-21.

Holt, E.A., B. McCune, P. Neitlich. 2006. Defining a successional metric for lichen communities in the arctic tundra. Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine Research 38: 373-377.

Holt, E.A., P.M. Severns. 2005. The effects of prescribed burning on wet prairie lichen communities. Natural Areas Journal 25: 130-136.

* Denotes undergraduate collaborator

Honors and Awards

2021 Sears-Helgoth Award Recipient