Lyons and his research group currently conduct research on three specific topics:
- the biogeochemistry of Antarctic terrestrial/aquatic ecosystems and how they respond to climate change,
- the interactions and rates of chemical weathering, erosion/sediment transport and carbon dynamics, especially in small, mountainous watersheds, and
- the impact of urbanization, suburbanization and agricultural activities on water quality.
He is a Fellow of GSA, AAAS and AGU. He has been the lead investigator of the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research program, one of the two Antarctic LTER sites funded by the National Science Foundation. He is a U.S. representative on the Geosciences Scientific Group of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), and the former Director of the School of Earth Sciences, and the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at OSU.