Kenton Sena

About Me

Kenton Sena is a Lecturer in the Lewis Honors College. He earned a B.A. in biology (with a minor in literature) from Asbury University, and M.S. in Forestry from the University of Kentucky. His thesis research focused on forest restoration on reclaimed surface mines in Appalachia. He received his Ph.D. in Integrated Plant and Soil Science (Forest Science emphasis) from the University of Kentucky, focusing on improving methods for detection and characterizing the distribution of a nonnative pathogen (Phytophthora cinnamomi) that causes disease in American chestnut. He has published papers in journals such as Forests, Ecological Restoration, Science of the Total Environment, and Forest Ecology and Management. His teaching and research interests include forest restoration ecology, environmental science, and literature of the environment. He enjoys wildflower photography, hiking, backpacking, and spending time with family and friends.


Ask Me About... 

  • Sustainability! I’m interested in sustainability broadly, but especially as it relates to urban environments, local economy, food production, greenspace, and transportation. 
  • Food! My wife and I love food—ask me for local food recommendations. 
  • Ecology and Literature! I did an undergraduate minor in literature—I’m excited to have more time and flexibility at my current stage of life to re-engage literature, especially classic literature and literature of the environment. 


My dissertation research focused on Phytophthora cinnamomi, an introduced soilborne pathogen that causes root rot in American chestnut and other important native trees.
I developed an improved method to detect P. cinnamomi from forest soils  and used it to study the distribution of P. cinnamomi in eastern Kentucky.

In between my M.S. and Ph.D. programs, I had the opportunity to spend a summer in Australia working on assessing the efficacy of wastewater treatment for virus removal:

My M.S. thesis research focused on surface mine reforestation in eastern Kentucky—we measured tree growth and survival, soil development, water quality, and hydrology.

Detection of Phytophthora cinnamomi in Forest Soils by PCR on DNA Extracted from Leaf Disc Baits

Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) Presence is Associated with Reduced Diversity and Richness of Flowering Spring Flora in Central Kentucky