R. Jan Stevenson


Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1981

367 Giltner Hall
Office Telephone: 517-432-8083
Research website

Algal Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, and Environmental Science

I employ my technical expertise in algal taxonomy and ecology to test ecological theory and to develop approaches for solving environmental problems. I am particularly interested in how ecological systems respond to environmental change. I also work with federal and state officials to develop protocols for ecological assessment. Working with resource managers and policy makers often stimulates new directions for my research.

Most of my projects use field observations, experiments, and modeling to better understand the effects of natural and human factors on algae and the role of algae in aquatic ecosystems. Field studies are used to identify interesting patterns in nature that may indicate an environmental problem or an interesting natural phenomenon. Manipulative experiments in artificial streams and mesocosms are used to confirm cause-effect relationships. I use models to scale our observations up to better understand cause-effect relations among natural and anthropogenic factors and ecological conditions.

Representative Publications

Stevenson, R.J., S.T. Rier, C.M. Riseng, R.E. Schultz, and M.J. Wiley. 2006. Comparing effects of nutrients on algal biomass in streams in 2 regions with different disturbance regimes and with applications for developing nutrient criteria. Hydrobiologia 561:149-165.

Rier, S. T. and R. J. Stevenson. 2006. Response of periphytic algae to gradients in nitrogen and phosphorus in streamside mesocosms. Hydrobiologia 561:131-147.

Wang, Y.K., R.J. Stevenson, J. Difranco, P.R. Sweets. 2006. Developing and testing diatom indicators for Maine (USA) wetlands. Hydrobiologia 561:191-206.

Zheng, L. and R.J. Stevenson. 2006. Algal assemblages in multiple habitats of restored and extant wetlands. Hydrobiologia 561:221-238.

Stevenson, R.J. and S.L. Rollins. 2006. Ecological assessments with benthic algae. In: Hauer, F.R. And G.A. Lamberti, eds. Methods in Stream Ecology. Pp. 785-803.

Stevenson, R.J. 2006. Refining diatom indicators for valued ecological attributes and development of water quality criteria. In: Ognjanova-Rumenova, N. And K. Manoylov, eds. Advances in Phycological Studies. Pp. 365-383. Pensoft Publishers. Moscow, Russia.

Manoylov, K.M. and R.J. Stevenson. 2006. Density-dependent algal growth along N and P nutrient gradients in artificial streams. In: Ognjanova-Rumenova, N. And K. Manoylov, eds. Advances in Phycological Studies. Pp. 333-352. Pensoft Publishers. Moscow, Russia.

Rier, S.T., R.J. Stevenson, G. LaLiberte. 2006. Photo-acclimation response of benthic stream algae across experimentally manipulated light gradients: A comparison of growth rates and net primary productivity. Journal of Phycology 42:560-567.

Torbick, N.M., J. Qi, G.J. Roloff, and R.J. Stevenson. 2006. Investigating impacts of land-use land cover change on wetlands in the Muskegon River Watershed, Michigan, USA. Wetlands 26:1103-1113.

Lougheed, V.L. C.A. Parker, R.J. Stevenson. 2007. Using non-linear responses of multiple taxonomic groups to establish criteria indicative of wetland biological condition. Wetlands 27:96-109.