Michelle Anderson, Ph.D.



Block Hall 321




Research Interests

My research engages undergraduates by investigating how ecosystems and species respond to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. In collaboration with students I have studied disturbance impacts on floodplain biocomplexity, riparian influences on stream temperatures, lake food web dynamics between native and non-native fish assemblages, sagebrush songbird energetics in relation to climate variability, stochastic models of disease ecology in bats, ecological interactions at beaver dams, and the influence of urban building and vegetation design on songbird window collisions. I am currently researching continental-scale variation in amphibian breeding phenology, flood-irrigation influences on migratory water birds, Arctic grayling egg survival under differing sediment deposition conditions, and success in translocating and monitoring freshwater mussels as part of native fish restoration projects.

Educational History

2001 – 2008, Ph.D. in Organismal Biology and Ecology, University of Montana – Missoula

1999 – 2000, Post-baccalaureate studies in fisheries and statistics, Humboldt State University

1994 – 1998, B.S. in Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of New Hampshire, cum laude

Professional Employment

The University of Montana Western, Professor, 2016-present

The University of Montana Western, Associate Professor, 2013-present

The University of Montana Western, Assistant Professor, 2009-2013

Montana Tech of the University of Montana, Visiting Assistant Professor, 2007-2009

Flathead Lake Biological Station, Postdoctoral Fellow, Summer 2008

Glacier Bay National Park, Biological Technician, 2000

USDA-PSW Redwood Sciences Lab, AmeriCorps Service Member, 1999-2000

California Dept. of Fish & Game, AmeriCorps Service Member, 1998-1999

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Hager, S. B., B. J. Cosentino, M. A. Aguilar, L. Anderson, and 57 co-authors (in review) Continent-wide analysis of how urbanization affects bird-window collision mortality in North America. Biological Conservation.
  • Cutting, K. A., L. Anderson, E. Beever, S. Schroff, E. Klaphake, N. Korb, and S. McWilliams (2016) Niche shifts and energetic condition of songbirds in response to phenology of food-resource availability in a high-elevation sagebrush ecosystem. Auk, 133: 685 – 697, DOI: 10.1642/AUK-16-4.1.
  • Cutting, K., W. F. Cross, L. Anderson, and E. G. Reese (2016) Seasonal change in trophic niche and foraging pattern of adfluvial Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) and coexisting fishes in a high-elevation lake system. PLoS One, 11(5): e0156187. DOI:10.1371/journal. pone.0156187
  • Simmons, J., L. Anderson, W. Dress, C. Hanna, D. Hornbach, A. Janmaat, F. Kuserk, J. G. March, T. Murray, J. Niedzwiecki, D. Panvini, B. Pohlad, C. Thomas, L. Vasseur (2014) A comparison of the temperature regime of short stream segments under forested and non-forested riparian zones at eleven sites across North America. River Research and Applications, 31: 964 – 974, DOI: 10.1002/rra.2796
  • Newell, R. and L. Anderson (2009) Note on the occurrence of Siphlonurus autumnalis (Ephemeroptera: Siphlonuridae) in a Montana spring brook. Western North American Naturalist. 69: 551-555.
  • Mathiesen, A. C., C. J. Dawes, L. Anderson, and E. J. Hehre (2001) Seaweeds of the Brave Boat Harbor salt marsh and adjacent open coast of southern Maine. Rhodora, 103: 1-46.

Presentations at Scientific Meetings:

  • Hager, S., L. Anderson and over 20 co-authors (2016) Urbanization shapes the effect of building size on bird-window collisions. North American Ornithological Conference, Washington D.C.
  • L. Anderson (2013) Wildlife research and service learning in undergraduate courses: potential and pitfalls. Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society Annual Meeting, Whitefish, Montana.
  • Simmons, J. A., L. Anderson, W. J. Dress, J. Frick-Rupert, C. J. B. Hanna, D. Hornbach, A. Janmaat, F. Kuserk, J. G. March, T. Murray, J. Niedzwiecki, D. Panvini, B. Pohlad, C. L. Thomas, L. Vasseur (2012) Effect of riparian shade on stream water temperature: a collaboration among eleven primarily undergraduate institutions. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, Oregon.
  • Valett, H.M, M. S. Lorang, L. Anderson, T. S. Bansak, and J. A. Stanford (2011) Location, linkage, and disturbance on a floodplain landscape: Spatial influence on ecosystem function. North American Benthological Society Annual Meeting, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • Anderson, M. L., K. Owens, and M. Bias (2009) Rural stakeholders and Arctic grayling (Thymallu arcticus) management in the Big Hole River watershed, Montana, USA. 5th World Fisheries Congress, Yokohama, Japan.
  • Anderson, M. L. and J. A. Stanford. (2006) Conservation significance of temperate floodplain springbrooks. Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting, San Jose, California.
  • Anderson, M. L., T. Bansak, B. McGill, J. A. Stanford, and E. Bernhardt (2006) Spatiotemporal variation in floodplain water chemistry and periphyton in relation to disturbance. Long Term Ecological Research All Scientists Meeting, Estes Park, Colorado.
  • Anderson, M. L. and J. A. Stanford (2006) Lateral habitat use by native and non-native fishes across the Nyack Floodplain, MT, USA. Western Division of the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting, Bozeman, Montana.

Synergistic Activities

The University of Montana Western’s experiential education mission and block schedule has allowed me to engage students in authentic research activities and contribute to national efforts towards improved undergraduate science education. In 2008-2009 I participated in “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education” workshops sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, aimed at stimulating nationwide education reform via student-centered active learning and research. My courses center on an undergraduate researcher model in which students work with natural resource professionals from state and federal government agencies, non-profits, and academic researchers. Since 2011 this model has included Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) projects involving hundreds of faculty and students across the continent. A 2015 Summer Faculty Fellowship with the US Fish and Wildlife Service allowed me to implement wildlife research with Service biologists while completing a campus conservation awareness project. In 2016, I joined a Quantitative Biology & Education Synthesis (QUBES) Faculty Mentoring Network to implement DryadLab modules and facilitate peer-to-peer development of data-driven teaching methods, and the NSF-funded Research Coordination Network Incubator Next Generation Careers – Innovation in Environmental Biology.

Professional Organization Membership

Member, American Association of University Women, 2016 – present

Member, American Fisheries Society, 2008 – present

Member, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 2009 – present

Member, Ecological Research as Education Network, 2011 – present

Member, Ecological Society of America, 2008 – present

Member, Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, 2015 – present

Member, The Wildlife Society, 2009 – present