Skip to main content

Kean University

Courses Taught

  • Conservation Biology
  • Medicinal Botany
  • Ecosystem Science
  • Introduction to Environmental Science
  • Field Biology
  • Independent Practicum for Sustainability (Capstone)
  • Ecology

Research Interests

  • Plant Ecology: Fire-adaptations, interactions, population trends, ecological requirements.
  • Tropical Ecology: Systems approach to nutrient cycling and  in primary and secondary forests
  • Restoration Ecology: Restoring ecological functions in disturbed systems.
  • Ethnobotany:  Integrating indigenous knowledge of medicinal, food, and basketry,  into ecological studies.
  • Urban Ecology: Effects of urbanization on biodiversity, invasive species, and nutrients
  • Environmental Sustainability


  1. Shebitz, D.J. and A. Oviedo*. 2018 Learning from the Past: Reflecting on the Maya-ICBG Controversy in the Classroom. Ethnobiology Letters. Vol 9 (1):DOI:
  2. Oviedo, A.C*., P.R. Field, and D.J. Shebitz. 2018. Indigenous knowledge and the search for medicine: controversy in Chiapas [Case Study] Buffalo, NJ: National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York.
  3. Monga, G.K. *, A. Ghosal*, D. Shebitz, and D. Ramanathan. 2017. Determination of antibacterial activity in rhizome of plant Aechmea magdalenae (andre) andre ex baker. Journal of Medicinal Herbs and Ethnomedicine 2017 3:13-21. doi: 10.25081/jmhe.2017.v3.3297
  4. Shebitz, D.J., S.M. Capozzi and J. Park Albaum. 2017. Planting More than Just Veggies: Student-Created Plans for a Sustainable Urban Farm. Journal of Sustainability Education. Vol. 14, May 2017. ISSN: 2151-7452
  5. Shebitz, D.J., W.E. Eaton and J. Ha. 2017. Undergraduate learning from the ground up: Linking belowground and aboveground diversity in Costa Rica. CUR Quarterly. Vol 37(3): 11-16.
  6. Shebitz, D.J. 2015. Cue the Smoke. Ecology 96(2):598-599.
  7. Shebitz, D.J., E. DeVito, Ch. Cerami* and H. Smith-Reinhart*. 2014. Evaluating effects of historic agriculture and current restoration activity on succession and plant diversity in the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Ecological Restoration 32 (3): 229-231.
  8. Shebitz, D.J. 2013. New Jersey Pine Barrens. Pages 894-896 In Biomes and Ecosystems: An Encyclopedia. Robert Warren Howarth [ed]. Salem Press, Pasadena, California.
  9. Shebitz, D.J. 2013. Puget Lowland Forests. Pages 1017-1020 In Biomes and Ecosystems: An Encyclopedia. Robert Warren Howarth [ed]. Salem Press, Pasadena, California.
  10. Shebitz, D.J., *R. Gomez, and *A. Casimir. 2013. A preliminary study of Nicaraguan and Costa Rican medicinal plant knowledge in the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 7(13): 790-798.
  11. Shebitz, D. J. and W. Eaton. 2013. Forest structure, nutrients, and Pentaclethra macroloba growth after deforestation of Costa Rican lowland forests. ISRN Ecology: Volume 2013, Article ID 414357, 10 pages,
  12. Smith-Sebasto, N.J. and D.J. Shebitz. 2013. Creation of an Innovative Sustainability Science Undergraduate Degree Program: A10-Step Process. Innovative Higher Education Volume 38 (2):129-141.
  13. Dobosiewicz, J., D. Shebitz and *J. Tuohy. 2012. Using a bioblitz to connect species richness and environmental characteristics in an urban watershed. Middle States Geographer. 44:47-56.
  14. Shebitz, D.J. and C.Crandell. 2012. Weaving biological and cultural diversity. Pages 156-169, Chapter 9 In From the Hands of a Weaver: Olympic Peninsula Basketry Through Time. J.Wray [ed]. Olympic Peninsula Intertribal Cultural Advisory Committee. University of Oklahoma Press. 245pp.
  15. Eaton, W.D., D. Shebitz, *K. Niemera, and *C. Looby. 2012. The Effects of the N-Fixing Tree Pentaclethra macroloba on the above and below ground communities within a primary forest in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica. Pages 57-78, Chapter 4 In The Functioning of Ecosystems, Edited by Ali, M. ISBN 979-953-307-871-6.  InTech Publications. 332pp. 
  16. Shebitz, D.J. and J.E. James. 2010. When Smokey Says “No”: Fire-less Methods for Growing Plants Adapted to Cultural Fire Regimes. USDA Forest Service Proceedings, RMRS-P-62. 2010: 17-23.
  17. J.E. James and D.J. Shebitz. 2010. Establishing, Conducting, and Maintaining Mutually Beneficial, Collaborative Research Efforts with Tribes. USDA Forest Service Proceedings, 6 RMRS-P-62. 2010: 5-7.
  18. Shebitz, D.J., S. Reichard, and P. Dunwiddie. 2009. Ecological and cultural significance of burning beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) habitat on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, USA. Journal of Ecological Restoration 23(3):306-319.
  19. Shebitz, D.J., K. Ewing, J. Gutierrez*. 2009. Preliminary observations of using smoke-water to increase low-elevation beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) germination. Native Plants Journal 10(1):13-20.
  20. Shebitz, D.J., S.H. Reichard, and W. Woubneh. 2008. Beargrass on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington: Autecology and Population Status. Northwest Science 82(2): 128-140.
  21. Peter, D. and D.J. Shebitz. 2006. Historic anthropogenically-maintained beargrass savannas of the southeastern Olympic Peninsula. Restoration Ecology 14(4):605-615.
  22. Storm, L. and D. Shebitz. 2006. Evaluating the Purpose, Extent, and Ecological Restoration Applications of Indigenous Burning Practices in Southwestern Washington. Journal of Ecological Restoration 24(4):256-268.
  23. Gold, W., K. Ewing, J. Banks, M. Groom, T. Hinkley, D. Secord, and D. Shebitz. 2006. Collaborative Ecological Restoration. Science Magazine 312: 1880-1881
  24. Shebitz, D.J. 2006. The Historical Role and Current Restoration Applications of Fire in Maintaining Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) Habitat on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. A dissertation. University of Washington, Seattle.
  25. Shebitz, D.J.  2005. Weaving traditional ecological knowledge into the restoration of basketry plants.  Journal of Ecological Anthropology 9:51-68.
  26. Shebitz, D.J. and R.W. Kimmerer.  2005. Re-establishing roots of a Mohawk Community and a culturally significant plant:  sweetgrass. Restoration Ecology 13(2):257-264.
  27. Shebitz, D. J. and R.W. Kimmerer.  2004.  Population trends and ecological requirements of sweetgrass, Hierochloe odorata: integration of traditional and scientific ecological knowledge.  Journal of Ethnobiology 24(1): 93-111.
  28. Shebitz, D.  2002.  Piecing together history. Book review of Egan, D. and E.A. Howell.  2001. The Historical Ecology Handbook: A Restorationist’s Guide to Reference Ecosystems. Island Press, Washington, D.C 457pp. Conservation Biology. 16 (2): 565
  29. Blaustein, L, J.E. Garb, D. Shebitz, and E. Nevo. 1999.  Microclimate, developmental plasticity and community structure in artificial temporary pools. Hydrobiologia 392:187-196. 

External Grants Awarded

Department of Eductation First in the World Grant

Creating Research Opportunities for Students

$2.9 Million Grant to Farmingdale State University as Prime Awardee, $280,000 awarded to Kean University over 4 years (2015-2019) as a subawardee

D.Shebitz (Lead Faculty Mentor)


National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

REU Site: Ecosystem Studies in the Maquenque National Wildlife Refuge (MNWLR) of Costa Rica

$378,877 Grant awarded over 3-years (2013-2015)

D. Shebitz (PI) and W. Eaton (co-PI)


United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Pollution Prevention Grant Program

Kean University/NJHEPS P2 Project for Reducing GHG Emissions & Energy Use in USEPA Region 2 Colleges and Universities

$359,310 Project: Of which $180,000 was funded through the USEPA and matched by NJHEPS and Kean University   D. Shebitz (PI)


National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Undergraduate Research On Microbial, Vegetation, and Arthropod Communities in Forests and Managed Lands in New Jersey and Costa Rica

$50,000 Project   W. Eaton (PI), D. Shebitz (co-PI) and S. Codella (co-PI)


National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Grant

Acquisition of Instrumentation for a Molecular Ecology and Biosystematics Laboratory

$291,690   Dr. Boehm (PI), Shebitz (co-PI) Teasdale (co-PI), and Codella (co-PI).     


Union County History Grant Program

Historic Gardens of the Burial Grounds of Elizabethtown

$7,500 Project ($2,500 award, $2,500 match by Old First Church, $2,500 in-kind donation)

Dr. Robert D. Higgs (PI), Shebitz (consultant)


Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is to inspire students to want to understand the beauty and complexity of the natural world and to feel a connection to their environment. I believe that my role as a professor is to teach the students to discover their scientific ability through mentoring their research and providing experiential learning opportunities, not only in the classroom and lab, in the forests, wetlands, prairies, aquatic and coastal systems around the world.