Department of Biological Sciences

susanSusan T. Meiers, Associate Professor

Algal Ecology and Biogeography, Algal Systematics, Animal Behavior

Contact Information:

Office: Waggoner Hall 205
Research Lab: Waggoner Hall 204
(309) 298-2008


Ph.D. - Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge; December 1997.
M.S. - DePaul University, Chicago, IL; December 1992.
B.S. - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL; June 1986.

Courses Taught:
  • BIOL 100 Biological Concepts
  • BIOL 101 Biological World
  • BIOL 102 Biological Diversity
  • BOT 200 Introductory Botany
  • BOT 320 Plant Anatomy
  • MICR/BOT 423G Phycology
  • BOT 430 Plant Physiology
  • BIOL 419G Organic Evolution
  • BIOL 503 Biosystematics and Evolution
Research Interests:

My research focuses on the ecology and biogeography of algae. I am currently examining periphyton (algae that live on other things) community composition in Cedar Glen, a seasonal glen at Kibbe Biological Station. Little research has been done on seasonal glens such as this, and this project will provide us with an idea of how community composition will change as the temperature, water level, shading, and nutrient availability change.I also am examining the systematics and biogeography of Chlorophyta (Green Algae), particularly the Charales ("stoneworts"). The ancestors of these algae have been around since long before the dinosaurs appeared and even before life moved onto land, so they are a fascinating group. I use both molecular techniques (PCR, DNA sequencing, restriction digests) and ecological techniques (growing and observing the algae under various environmental and herbivory conditions) as ways to investigate how these algae get to new habitats and to discover what about these habitats allows them to (or not to) survive there. The main question I am investigating is whether migrating waterfowl are the main dispersers of Charales, and I am using DNA sequencing to determine relatedness among and between local populations of this algal group.

I am involved in a long-term study of changes in various plant and animal communities at Emiquon, a Nature Conservancy project to restore farmland back to its former wetland status. I am studying how the phytoplankton community changes as the wetland is progressing though the restoration process.

  • Ruskell-Lamer, A. D, Meiers, S.T, Jenkins, S.E. and R.M. Santymire. (2014) Effect of Bungee-carcass Enrichment on Behavior and Fecal Glucocorticoid Metabolites in Two Species of Zoo-housed Felids. ZooBiology 34(2): 170-177.
  • Jacobs, Raechel M., Stephen R. Ross, Katherine E. Wagner, Maureen Leahy, Susan T. Meiers and Rachel Santymire. (2014)Monitoring Adrenocortical Activity, Fertility, and Behaviour in Two Newly Introduced Gorillas (GORILLA gorilla gorilla). Zoo Biology 33: 394–402
  • Sodring, M, S.T. Meiers, S.R. Ross and J.A. Thomas. In Review. Behavioral Interactions during the Introduction of a Male African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) into a Female Group at Lincoln Park Zoological Gardens, Chicago, IL. Journal of the American Animal Welfare Society.
  • Ruskell et al. June 2009. Presentation at the Society of Neuroendocrinology “The effect of feeding enrichment on fecal cortisol levels in cptive felids at Niabi Zoo, Coal Valley, IL.”
  • Meiers, Susan T., Jenkins, S.E., and R.V. Anderson. 2008. Effect of Lock and Dam 19 on phytoplankton communities of the Upper Mississippi River. Northeastern Naturalist 15(3): 391-402.
  • Sodring, M.S., Meiers, S.T., Thomas, J.T. and L. Faust. Behavioral Changes in Three Female African Wild Dogs, Lycaon pictus, at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, Following the Introduction of a Male. In Preparation.
  • Maloney, M.A.,Meiers, Susan T., White, J., and M.A. Romano. 2006. Behavioral effects of three food enrichment items on the behavior of black lemurs (Eulemur macaco macaco) and ringtail lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Henson Robinson Zoo, Springfield, Illinois, U.S.A. Journal of the Applied Animal Welfare Science 9(2):111-127.
  • Castlebury, J. and S.T. Meiers. April 2006. Poster presentation, “Population studies of charophyte communities in Illinois” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Smith, R. and S.T. Meiers. April 2006. Poster Presentation, “Chara Dispersal by Migrating Waterfowl: Illinois Lake Biogeography Determined by the Chloroplast Gene atpB." at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Brown, K. and S.T. Meiers. April 2006. Poster presentation, “Factors Affecting the Nest Site Selection of Smooth Softshell Turtles (Apalone mutica)” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Meiers, S.T., S.E. Jenkins, and R.V. Anderson. April 2005. Oral presentation, “Interaction of Navigation Channel and Vegetation Bed Phytoplankton Communities During Fall, Spring, and Summer of 2003-2004 Near Lock and Dam 19 on the Mississippi River” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Strack, L., Brammeier, L.A. and S.T. Meiers. April 2005. Poster presentation, “Dietary Intake of Gizzard Shad” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Jenkins, S.E. Meiers, S.T., Anderson, R.V., and M.A. Romano. November, 2004. Poster presentation “Long-Term Riparian and Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Projects on the Upper Mississippi River,” at the Earthwatch National Conference, Boston, MA.
  • Meiers, S.T. April 2004. Poster Presentation “What Phytoplankton Communities Tell Us about Mixing of Water from the Navigation Channel and Vegetation Bed at Lock & Dam 19, Mississippi River.” at the Mississippi River Research Consortium; LaCrosse WI.
  • Meiers, S.T., Proctor, V.W., and R.L. Chapman. 1999. Phylogeny and Biogeography of Chara(Charophyta) Inferred from 18S rDNA Sequences. Australian Journal of Botany 47: 347-360.
  • Meiers, S.T., Rootes, W.L., Proctor, V.W. and R.L. Chapman. 1997. Phylogeny of the Characeae (Charophyta) Inferred from Organismal and Molecular Characters. Archiv fur Protistenkunde 148: 318-328.
  • McCourt, R.M., Meiers, S.T., Karol, K.G., and Chapman, R.L. 1996. Molecular Systematics of the Charales In: Chaudhary, D.B. and Agrawal, S.B. [Eds.] Cytology, Genetics and Molecular Biology of Algae. SPB Publishing, Amsterdam. pp. 323-336.
  • Spring 1997. Paper presented, International Phycological Congress at Leiden, the Netherland.
  • Summer 1996. Paper presented, 2nd International Charophyte Research Group meeting at Madison, WI. “Species Relationships within the Charales: A study based on 18S rDNA sequences.” 2nd International Charophyte Research Group meeting, Madison, WI.
  • Summer 1995. Poster presented at the Phycological Society of America meeting at Breckenridge, CO. “Intraspecific variation in the ITS1 and ITS2 regions of rDNA for Eight Isolates of Chara haitensis.” Phycological Society of America meeting, Breckenridge, CO. Journal of Phycology 31 (suppl.):7.