Christopher Steiner

Christopher Steiner

Associate Professor
Primary appointment: Biological Sciences



3121 Biological Sciences Building

Christopher Steiner

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

Aquatic population and community ecology


 I am an aquatic ecologist interested in the ecological and evolutionary processes that determine the structure and stability of populations and communities. My work focuses on freshwater planktonic systems (zooplankton and phytoplankton) and makes use of a variety of empirical approaches including field observations and experiments in both laboratory and field settings.

Current areas of interest include:

  • the impacts of dispersal, invasion history and enrichment on species diversity and compositional turnover (in space and time)
  • the effects of prey heterogeneity and weak trophic interactions on trophic structure and predator-prey dynamics
  • the effects of dispersal on population persistence, species diversity and community-level stability in environmentally forced metacommunities
  • the effects of environmental fluctuations and dispersal on the genetic diversity and clonal dynamics of Daphnia pulex populations.
  • the effects of salinity and road salt pollution on the structure and dynamics of pond zooplankton communities. Causes and consequences of intraspecific variation in salinity tolerance in Daphnia pulex populations.



  • Ph.D., Zoology, Michigan State University, 2001
  • B.S., Biology, UCLA, 1992

Selected publications

(Full publication list and pdf files can be found here)

Steiner C. F. and Asgari M. 2022. Habitat isolation reduces intra- and interspecific biodiversity and stability. Royal Society Open Science. 9: 211309.

Hintz, W. D., S. E. Arnott, C. C. Symons, D. A. Greco, A. McClymont, J. A. Brentrup, M. Cañedo-Argüelles, A. M. Derry, A. L. Downing, D. K. Gray, S. J. Melles, R. A. Relyea, J. A. Rusak, C. L. Searle, L. Astorg, H. K. Baker, B. E. Beisner, K. L. Cottingham, Z. Ersoy, C. Espinosa, J. Franceschini, A. T. Giorgio, N. Göbeler, E. Hassal, M. Hébert, M. Huynh, S. Hylander, K. L. Jonasen, A. E. Kirkwood, S. Langenheder, O. Langvall, H. Laudon, L. Lind, M. Lundgren, L. Proia, M. S. Schuler, J. B. Shurin, C. F. Steiner, M. Striebel, S. Thibodeau, P. Urrutia-Cordero, L. Vendrell-Puigmitja, G. A. Weyhenmeyer. 2022. Current water quality guidelines across North America and Europe do not protect lakes from salinization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119(9): e2115033119.

Steiner, C. F., and C. J. Nowicki. 2019. Eco-evolutionary dynamics in the wild: clonal turnover and stability in Daphnia populations. The American Naturalist 194: 117-123.

Asgari, M, and C. F. Steiner. 2017. Interactive effects of productivity and predation on zooplankton diversity. Oikos 126: 1617–1624.

Steiner, C. F., R. D. Stockwell, M. Tadros, L. Shaman, K. Patel and L. Khraizat. 2016. Impacts of dispersal on rapid adaptation and dynamic stability of Daphnia in fluctuating environments. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 283: 20152426. 

Steiner, C. F. 2014. Stochastic sequential dispersal and nutrient enrichment drive beta diversity in space and time. Ecology 95: 2603–2612.

Courses taught by Christopher Steiner

Fall Term 2024 (future)

Winter Term 2024

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022