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Evans Lab People

R. Dave Evans, Professor and Director of WSU Stable Isotope Facility

I am an ecologist interested in ecosystem responses to global change.  Our research questions address scales from the physiological ecology of individuals to regional biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, carbon, and water.  I also helped establish and currently direct the WSU Stable Isotope Core Facility.

E-mail: rdevans(at)


2003 to current: Associate to Full Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University

1993 to 2003: Assistant to Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas

1990 to 1993: Postdoctoral fellow and Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow (DOE, 1991 to 1993) in the laboratory of Dr. J.R. Ehleringer, University of Utah


1990: PhD, Washington State University, Botany (R. Alan Black major professor).  NORCUS Research Fellow (DOE)

1986: MS, Western Washington University, Biology (Rich Fonda major professor).

1984: BS, Western Washington University, Biology


Ben Harlow, Manager WSU Stable Isotope Facility

Ben joined the Evans laboratory in 2004 as manager of the associated Stable Isotope Core Facility. As the initial manager, Ben designed and developed the facility from the ground up. Ben’s primary duties are oversight of daily lab operations and development of new methodologies to assist WSU researchers. Ensuring quality and integrity of measurements are items Mr. Harlow takes seriously. Creating new solutions to research questions through customization and fabrication of laboratory equipment are things that Ben greatly enjoys. Equally rewarding is to be a mentor to many different users of the facility and to play a role in their success.

Prior to WSU, Ben earned his MS degree in Forest Resources at the University of Idaho under John Marshall. He used stable isotopes in tree rings to study changes in tree physiology for different conifer species across a range of altitude over the past 500 years.

When not keeping mass spectrometers running, Ben enjoys restoring vintage machinery on his small farm or partaking in a range of outdoor activities, regardless of the season.


Graduate Students

Meaghan Petix

Meaghan received a B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studies (2011) from Binghamton University and her M.S. in Plant Biology (2014) at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where her research took her up to Alberta to study the impact of increased nitrogen deposition on boreal peatlands. She worked as a field ecologist/botanist in the Pacific Northwest for several years before her passion for lichens and biogeochemistry led her to the Evans lab. Her PhD research is focused on assessing nitrogen deposition in mountainous regions, particularly the North Cascades. Outside of work she enjoys botanizing, birding, and biking around the Palouse!

Katherine Gale

Katherine completed a B.S. of Environmental Science with dual minors in Chemistry and Botany at Paul Smith’s College in 2019. Before joining the Evan’s Lab, Katherine worked as a coordinator for the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) to detect, manage, and educate the public on aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, participated in a project in partnership with the NYS Dept. of Health to detect the prevalence of tick-borne Powassan virus in the North Country region of New York State, and for the last two years was an aquatic toxicology laboratory technician where she conducted acute and chronic aquatic toxicity tests according to EPA protocol. Her passion for learning and interest in research and teaching is what brought her back to academia. Having lived, worked, and learned all over New York State, Katherine wanted to continue her education in ecosystems that were unique and unfamiliar, which is what attracted her to the Pacific Northwest. Katherine is interested in research that targets impacts of global change, particularly in forested ecosystems. During her spare time, Katherine likes to rock climb, hike, and explore her creativity through crafting and music.