Stuart Wagenius, Ph.D.

Stuart Wagenius
Conservation Scientist
E-mail: 
Phone: 
(847) 835-6978
Curriculum Vitae: 
Teaching and Research Affiliations: 

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Northwestern University

Research Interests: 
  • Conservation genetics
  • Feedbacks between evolutionary and ecological dynamics
  • Biology of Echinacea angustifolia in fragmented habitat
  • Spatial scale-dependence in species interactions
  • Effects of fire on prairie plants
Statement: 

Research in my lab addresses questions about the ecology and evolution of native perennial plants in remnant prairie habitat. Native prairie plants used to live in vast continuous habitat, but now they are constrained to small and isolated remnants. The persistence of plant populations in these remnants depends on their demographic response to new threats such as lack of fire, competition with weeds, inbreeding depression, and limited mate availability. My students and I quantify the ecological and evolutionary consequences of habitat fragmentation on herbaceous plant populations. We investigate short-term consequences, such as reproductive failure and inbreeding depression, as well as long-term consequences, such as loss of genetic diversity and lack of fire.

I offer research opportunities for enthusiastic students, teachers, and volunteers, including graduate students through at Northwestern University. I teach courses in statistics and plant conservation genetics through Northwestern's program in plant biology and conservation and the Center for Plant Conservation. In 1995 I started the Echinacea Project, which investigates the ecology and evolution of the purple coneflower Echinacea angustifolia in fragmented prairie habitat in western Minnesota.

Selected Publications: 

Ison, J.L., S. Wagenius, D. Reitz, and M.V. Ashley. Mating between Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae) individuals increases with their flowering synchrony and spatial proximity. Accepted in American Journal of Botany.

Ison, J.L., S. Wagenius, D. Reitz, and M.V. Ashley. Development and evaluation of microsatellite markers for a native prairie perennial, Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae). Accepted in Applications in Plant Sciences.

Wagenius, S., A. B. Dykstra, C. E. Ridley, and R. G. Shaw. 2012. Seedling recruitment in the long-lived perennial, Echinacea angustifolia: a 10-year experiment. Restoration Ecology 20: 352-359.

Ridley C.E., H.H. Hangelbroek, S. Wagenius, J. Stanton-Geddes, R.G. Shaw. 2011. The effect of plant inbreeding and stoichiometry on interactions with herbivores in nature: Echinacea angustifolia and its specialist aphid. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24762.

Wagenius, S., and S.P. Lyon. 2010. Reproduction of Echinacea angustifolia in fragmented prairie is pollen-limited but not pollinator-limited. Ecology 91:733-742.

Wagenius, S., H.H. Hangelbroek, C.E. Ridley, and R.G. Shaw. 2010. Biparental inbreeding and interremnant mating in a perennial prairie plant: fitness consequences for progeny in their first eight years. Evolution 64:761-771.

Shaw, Ruth G., Charles J. Geyer, Stuart Wagenius, Helen H. Hangelbroek, and Julie R. Etterson. 2008. Unifying life-history analyses for inference of fitness and population growth. American Naturalist 172:E35-E47.

Geyer, C.J., S. Wagenius, and R.G. Shaw. 2007. Aster models for life history analysis. Biometrika 94:415-426.

Wagenius, S., E. Lonsdorf, and C. Neuhauser. 2007. Patch aging and the S-Allee effect: breeding system effects on the demographic response of plants to habitat fragmentation. American Naturalist 169:383-397. (Supplemental Material)

Wagenius, S. 2006. Scale dependence of reproductive failure in fragmented Echinacea populations. Ecology 87:931-941. (Supplemental Material)

Wagenius, S. 2004. Style persistence, pollen limitation, and seed set in the common prairie plant Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 165:595-603.

Neuhauser, C., D.A. Andow, G E. Heimpel, G. May, R.G. Shaw, and S. Wagenius. 2003. Community genetics: expanding the synthesis of ecology and genetics. Ecology 84:545-558.

Graduate Students: 
Karen Taira (Northwestern University, 2013)
Katherine Muller (Northwestern University, 2013)
Josh Drizin (Northwestern University, 2012)
Kate Gallagher (Northwestern University, 2011)
Christine Dumoulin (Northwestern University, 2011)
Jennifer Ison (Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago, 2010)
Andrea Southgate (M.S., Northwestern University, 2008)
Websites: 

Echinacea Project
The Echinacea Project is a long-term investigation of the ecology and evolution of plants in fragmented prairie habitat. The Echinacea Project started as Stuart's dissertation research project in 1995. Read about this cutting-edge research that helps us understand long-lived prairie plants and the other species with which they interact.

Echinacea Field Log
This website, affectionately known as "the flog," is a field journal for members of the Echinacea Project. We're field biologists with limited memory. We post details of events and activities that we can't fit easily on a datasheet, but that we might want to remember.