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Jim Yoder

DEPARTMENT: Biology Dept

POSITION: Professor

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | SSC 026D

PHONE: (540) 432-4410

EMAIL: yoderjm@emu.edu

Jim advises the Environmental Sustainability majors and teaches ecology and conservation biology courses. He earned his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University and his primary research interests include conservation biology, landscape ecology, behavioral ecology and GIS (Geographical Information Systems). Past research has focused on population and behavioral responses of species to habitat fragmentation. His dissertation research at The Ohio State University was in collaboration with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and examined the effects of fragmented habitat on the dispersal and population dynamics of ruffed grouse in southeastern Ohio.

In 2006 he began a longterm collaborative study working with Shenandoah National Park research botanist, Wendy Cass. The research is being conducted by 2-3 EMU undergraduates per year (including summers) as well as SNP personnel. The project includes intense on-site field sampling as well as mapping and analysis of exotic plant spread and impact using GIS. The project addresses two specific research questions that focus on the exotic plants invading the Shenandoah National Park: 1) What is the rate of spread of the three most threatening exotic species beginning to invade the Big Meadows Swamp Natural Heritage area and 2) What is the impact of these exotics on the continued viability of the eight rare plant species located within the area?

In the fall of 2014, Jim began a stream restoration and monitoring project in the German River and Crab Run watersheds near Bergton, VA. This is also a long-term collaborative project with initial funding provided by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant that includes partnering with EMU colleague Dr. Doug Graber Neufeld, Brian Wagner of Ecosystem Services, LLC., Tom Akre at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and EMU’s Center for Justice and Peace. The immediate goals of the project are to conduct a watershed assessment and restore two sections of stream as well as assess potential strategies to encourage adoption of best management practices by community members. His students are specifically working on stream macroinvertebrate monitoring of restoration impacts and long-term population trends of Wood turtles in the watersheds.

Jim is also heavily involved in study abroad education and has lead cross-cultural trips to New Zealand in the summer of 2010 (6 weeks), fall 2012 (full semester) and summer of 2015 (6 weeks) with his wife Kathy. The trips focused on sustainability issues related to tourism, natural resource conservation, and agriculture as well as indigenous Maori culture, restorative justice and New Zealand history. He also co-led a 3 week summer cross-cultural to Navajo Nation in Arizona with Dr. Gloria Rhodes in the summer of 2017. In the summer of 2020, he will be leading a 6 week cross-cultural to Guatemala focusing on Spanish language learning, indigenous communities and cloud forest conservation.

In addition to teaching, Jim is the curator of the D. Ralph Hostetter Museum of Natural History and was recently the faculty resource person and chair of the implementation team for the Peace With Creation Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a 5 year initiative drawing together EMU students, faculty and staff around the theme of sustainability and how it relates to Anabaptist beliefs concerning creation care, peace and social justice.


BS, Eastern Mennonite University
MS, Ohio State University
PHD, Ohio State University


Yoder, J., & Miller, B. (2014). Using Accreditation to Foster Education for Sustainability in Higher Education: The Implementation of the Peace with Creation Project at Eastern Mennonite University. In K. Thomas, & H. Muga (Eds.) Handbook of Research on Pedagogical Innovations for Sustainable Development (pp. 494-509). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-5856-1.ch025

Graber Neufeld, D.S., and Yoder, J. (2011). The Role of Feeding Adaptations in Resource Competition between Invasive and Native Clams. Proceedings of ABLE. Pages 78-87, in Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Volume 32 (K. McMahon, Editor). Proceedings of the 32nd Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE), 383 pages.

Yoder, J.M, C.A. Yoder, C.A. Devadason, and W. Cass. 2007. The Use of GIS in Determining the Spread and Impact of Invasive Plant Species Within a Wetland Community. Abstract. Virginia Journal of Science 58: xx

Yoder J.M. 2006. How the story of Jesus and the life of the church has shaped my interactions with students and my teaching practices. Proceedings of the 2006 Mennonite University Faculty Conference. Mennonite Education Agency.

Yoder J. M., D. A. Swanson, E. A. Marschall. 2004. The Cost of Dispersal: Predation as a function of movement in Ruffed grouse. Behavioral Ecology 15: 469-476.

Connor, E.F., J. M. Yoder, A. C. Courtney. 2000. Individuals-area relationships: The relationship between animal population density and area. Ecology 81:734-748

Connor, E.F., J.M. Yoder, J.A. May. 1999. Density-related predation by Poecile carolinensis on the Leaf-Mining Moth, Cameraria hamadryadella at three spatial scales. Oikos 87:105-112

Yoder, J.M., J.L. Dooley, J.F. Zawacki, M.A. Bowers. 1996. Female aggression in Microtus pennsylvanicus: Arena trials in the field. American Midland Naturalist 135: 1-8.

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • Headwaters of the North Fork of the Shenandoah Restoration Project: Stream Restoration, Monitoring and Community Engagement to Increase Watershed Health. J. Yoder, D. Graber Neufeld, J. Docherty, B. Wagner. Mid-Atlantic Stream Restoration Conference, Baltimore, MD. September 2017.
  • Nutrient loading, sedimentation and overall watershed health assessment in the headwaters of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. J. Reist, T. Denlinger, D.S. Graber Neufeld, and J.M. Yoder. Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Fredericksburg, VA. May 2016.
  • Ecological watershed monitoring in the headwaters of the north fork of the Shenandoah River using macroinvertebrate and turtle surveys. D. Mendoza, S. Stoner, R. Keiner, D. S. Graber Neufeld & J.M. Yoder, Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Fredericksburg, VA. May 2016.
  • An Integrated Ecological and Water Quality Assessment of the Headwaters of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, B. Yoder, J. Parker, D. G. Neufeld and J. Yoder. Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Harrisonburg, VA. May 2015.
  • Changing Agricultural Impacts on Shenandoah Headwaters. Yoder, J.M., Graber-Neufeld, D., Wagner, B., Docherty, J.. Chesapeake Bay Agriculture Networking Forum. Cumberland, MD. November, 2014
  • Measurement Of Invasive Plant Cover Changes To Prioritize And Assess Exotic Plant Control Efforts In A Rare Virginia Wetland. Yoder, J.M., Shenk, A., and Cass, W.. Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Ecological Society of America. Blacksburg, VA. April 2012
  • Let’s Get Serious about Integrating Sustainability into General Education: Strategies for Staff and Faculty. Stewart, M, Yoder, J.M., Lantz-Trissel, J., and Rowe, D. Panel Discussion. Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Pittsburgh, PA. October 2011.
  • Environmental Sustainability: A QEP for the 21st Century. Yoder, J.M. and Aracena, B., Southern Association of Colleges and Universities Annual Meeting. Louisville, KY. December 2010.
  • Measurement of native and invasive plant cover changes to improve planning and management in a rare Virginia wetland. Harman, C.H., Yoder J.M., Cass, W.B. Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Pittsburgh, PA. August 2010.
  • Peace With Creation: A History of Sustainability at Eastern Mennonite University. Yoder. J.M., Peace on Earth: Anabaptism and Ecological Action in Aotearoa (Symposium), Waikanae, New Zealand, May, 2010
  • The Use of GIS in Determining the Spread and Impact of Invasive Plant Species Within a Wetland Community (poster). Yoder J.M, C.A. Yoder, C.A. Devadason, and W. Cass. Annual Meeting of the Virginia Academy of Science, Harrisonburg, VA. May, 2007.
  • Mapping Invasive and Rare Wetland Plant Species to Visualize Competition and Devise a Control Strategy. Cass, W. and J. M. Yoder. Annual Meeting of the George Wright Society, St. Paul MN. April 2007.
  • How the story of Jesus and the life of the church has shaped my interactions with students and my teaching practices. J. M. Yoder. Mennonite University Faculty Conference, Bluffton, OH. August, 2006.