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Michelle Anderson, Ph.D.

Professor of Biology

[email protected]


Block Hall 322


Dr. Anderson’s research engages undergraduates in discovering how organisms, communities, and ecosystems respond to natural and anthropogenic change, often in aquatic systems. Recent research topics include freshwater mussel ecology and flood-irrigation landscapes for migratory birds. She also works in undergraduate education innovation, citizen science initiatives, and environmental career development. She completed her Ph.D. in Organismal Biology and Ecology at the University of Montana – Missoula in 2008. The University of Montana Western’s (UMW) mission of experiential education coupled with a block schedule allows Dr. Anderson to engage students in authentic research activities and contribute to national efforts to improve undergraduate science education. Her courses center on an undergraduate research and service model of students collaborating with natural resource professionals from government agencies, non-profits, and colleges. In 2008-2009 she 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. Since 2011 her work 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 her to learn from Service biologists while completing a campus conservation awareness project. Between 2016 – 2020 she has participated in numerous national science and math education networks, including several Quantitative Biology & Education Synthesis (QUBES) Faculty Mentoring Networks, a BIOME Institute, and the Research Coordination Network Incubator Next Generation Careers – Innovation in Environmental Biology.


Selected Publications

  • Elmore, Jared A., Stephen B. Hager, Bradley J. Cosentino, Timothy J. O’Connell, Corey S. Riding, M. L. Anderson, and +50 co-authors (2020) Correlates of bird collisions with buildings across three North American countries. Conservation Biology.
  • Cutting, Kyle A., J. M. Ferguson, M. L. Anderson, K. Cook, S. C. Davis, R. Levine (2018) Linking beaver dam affected flow dynamics to upstream passage of Arctic grayling. Ecology and Evolution. 8: 1 – 13.
  • Hager, S. B., B. J. Cosentino, M. A. Aguilar, M. L. Anderson, and 57 co-authors (2017) Continent-wide analysis of how urbanization affects bird-window collision mortality in North America. Biological Conservation. 212 (Part A) 209-215.
  • Cutting, K. A., M. 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.
  • Stanford, J. A., M. L. Anderson, B. L. Reid, S. D. Chilcote, and T. S. Bansak (2016) Thermal diversity and the phenology of floodplain aquatic biota. Chapter 13, pp. 259 – 278, in: D. Gilvear, M. Greenwood, M. Thoms, and P. Wood, editors. River Science: Research and Applications for the 21st Century. Wiley-Blackwell, 416 pp.
  • Cutting, K., W. F. Cross, M. 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.
  • Simmons, J., M. 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.
  • Newell, R. and M. 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, M. 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.