"Keith's lab has made seminal contributions to the fields of ecology and evolution, particularly in the area of plant-fungal interactions and the impacts of these on plant community structure. Being named a distinguished professor is a well-deserved honor for Keith," Professor Roger Innes noted upon learning of his colleague's promotion.
Clay is the ninth active distinguished professor in the Department of Biology. Other biologists who share the title are Thom Kaufman (1993), Ellen Ketterson (2006), Curt Lively (2011), Mike Lynch (2005), Jeff Palmer (1996), Rudy Raff (2002), Loren Rieseberg (2004), and Mike Wade (2008).
In addition to his research activities, Clay directs the IU Research and Teaching Preserve that comprises seven areas totaling over 1,500 acres. Preserve sites include Bayles Road, Bradford Woods, Kent Farm, Griffy Woods, Lilly-Dickey Woods, Morgan-Monroe State Forest AmeriFlux Tower, and Moores Creek. There is a 6,000-square-foot field laboratory, located near University Lake on the Griffy Woods property, which was completed in 2009. It was the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)–certified building built at IU Bloomington. Clay promotes hands-on research at the preserve and is deeply committed to outreach activities directed at elementary and high school students.