Stevens, Michael T
Associate Professor - Biology
(801) 863-5196
(801) 863-8064
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Last Updated: 12/17/14 -



I teach and conduct research in two areas:  plant ecology and science education.  As a plant ecologist, I study how plants interact with their environment, including biotic interactions such as herbivory and competition, as well as plant interactions with abiotic features including latitude, elevation, soil nutrients, and boulders. I’m especially interested in how such interactions affect the expression of plant chemical and physical traits, and patterns of plant growth and distribution. My research has focused primarily on trees and shrubs including quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata), Alaska paper birch (Betula neoalaskana), and California buckeye (Aesculus californica). As a science educator, I research ways to improve science content understanding and science teaching methods at the university-level, especially in classes populated by future elementary and secondary teachers. I also study the roles that Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES) play in higher education. 




General Biology (BIOL 1010)

Teaching Methods in Science (BIOL/CHEM/GEO 4200)

Biology Seminar (BIOL 494R)

Plant Ecology (BOT 3700)

Plant Ecology Laboratory (BOT 3705)


PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (^denotes undergraduate co-author)


15.       Stevens MT, Gusse AC, Lindroth RL (2014) Root chemistry in Populus tremuloides: effects of soil nutrients, defoliation, and genotype. Journal of Chemical Ecology 40:31-38.


14.      Argyle A^, Stevens MT (2013) Influence of boulders on netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata) growth and distribution in the Wasatch foothills. Western Northern American Naturalist 73:525-529.


13.       Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS  (2013) Widespread distribution and unexpected variation among science faculty with education specialties (SFES) across the United States. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:7170-7175.


12.       Stevens MT, Gusse AC, Lindroth RL (2012) Genotypic differences and prior defoliation affect re-growth and phytochemistry after coppicing in Populus tremuloides.  Journal of Chemical Ecology 38:306-314.


11.       Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS (2011) Investigation of Science Faculty with Education Specialties within the largest university system in the United States.  CBE—Life Sciences Education 10:25-42.


10.       Stevens MT, Esser SM^ (2009) Growth-defense tradeoffs differ by gender in dioecious trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides).  Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 37:567-573.


9.         Bryant JP, Clausen TP, Swihart RK, Landhäusser SM, Hawkins CDB, Stevens MT, Carrière S, Kirilenko AP, Veitch AM, Popko RA, Cleland DT, Williams JH, Jakubas WJ, Carlson MR, Lehmkhul Bodony KL, Cebrian M, Paragi TF, Picone PM, Moore JE, Packee EC, Malone TT (2009) Fire drives transcontinental variation in tree birch defense against browsing by snowshoe hares.  American Naturalist 174:13-23. 


8.         Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS (2008) Science Faculty with Education Specialties.  Science 322:1795-1796.


7.         Stevens MT, Kruger EL, Lindroth RL (2008) Variation in tolerance to herbivory is mediated by differences in biomass allocation in aspen.  Functional Ecology 22:40-47.


6.         Wooley SC, Donaldson JR, Stevens MT, Gusse AC, Lindroth RL (2007) Extrafloral nectaries in aspen (Populus tremuloides): heritable genetic variation and herbivore-induced production.  Annals of Botany 100:1337-1346. 


5.         Lindroth RL, Donaldson JR, Stevens MT, Gusse AC (2007) Browse quality in quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides): effects of genotype, nutrients, defoliation, and coppicing.  Journal of Chemical Ecology 33:1049-1064.


4.         Stevens MT, Waller DM, Lindroth RL (2007) Resistance and tolerance in Populus tremuloides:  genetic variation, costs, and environmental dependency.  Evolutionary Ecology 21:829-847.


3.         Donaldson JR, Stevens MT, Barnhill HR, Lindroth RL (2006) Age-related shifts in leaf chemistry of clonal aspen (Populus tremuloides).  Journal of Chemical Ecology 32:1415-1429.

2.         Stevens MT, Lindroth RL (2005) Induced resistance in the indeterminate growth of aspen (Populus tremuloides). Oecologia 145:298-306.

1.         Stevens MT, Turner MG, Tuskan GA, Romme WH, Gunter LE, Waller DM (1999) Genetic variation in postfire aspen seedlings in Yellowstone National Park.  Molecular Ecology 8:1769-1780.




4.         Stevens MT, Fleming MP, Carosella TL, Gerson MM, Grobner MA, Thao ML, Watson F, Wolf SJ, Wooley SC, Youngblom JJ (2012) World of Biology:  Biology 1020 Laboratory Workbook, 5th ed. McGraw-Hill, Boston, MA.


3.         Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Tanner KD, Williams KS, Wood WB (2010) A role for postdocs in undergraduate education.  Science327: 522-523.


2.         Stevens MT, Carosella TL, Gerson MM, Grobner MA, Thao ML, Watson F, Wolf SJ, Wooley SC, Youngblom JJ (2009) World of Biology: Biology 1020 Laboratory Workbook, 4th ed. McGraw-Hill, Boston, MA.


1.         Bush SD, Pelaez NJ, Rudd JA, Stevens MT, Willams KS, Allen DE, Tanner KD (2006) On hiring Science Faculty with Education Specialties (SFES) for your science (not education) department. CBE—Life Sciences Education 5:297-305.