Faculty/Staff Directory

First Name

Last Name
Woller-Skar (she/her/hers)

Profile Photo


Associate Professor


Office Address
2200i Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Quantitative Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology

Professional Societies

Society for Freshwater Science, 2006-present.
International Association for Great Lakes Research, 2016-present.
Association for Women in Science, 2016-present.

Courses Taught at GVSU

BIO 215 - Ecology
BIO 380 - Racism and the Conservation Movement
BIO 440 – Limnology
BIO 460 - Terrestrial Ecosystems Ecology
BIO  593 - Advanced Univariate Methods
BIO  594 - Advanced Multivariate Methods

Research Interests

My research focuses on ecosystem changes in space and time following perturbation. Currently I am working on a number of projects:

  1. Thomas, E.T., Ress, J.A. and M.M. Woller-Skar. Algal community structure in vernal pool communities. In prep
  2. Woller-Skar, M.M. and A. Locher. Assessing the importance of rare ecosystems for carbon sequestration in western Lower Michigan. In prep
  3. Woller-Skar, M.M., Luttenton, M.R. and B. Biddanda. Influence of nutrient enrichment on toxin concentrations in overwintering cells of Microcystis aeruginosa.


Ph.D.  Biology: Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH.  December 2009.  
M.S.  Biology: Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, MI.  December, 2006.  
B.S.  Zoology:  Miami University, Oxford, OH.  December, 1998.

Select Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

Woller-Skar, M.M., Synder, H. and C. Dobson. 2018. Investigating heat exchange in ecosystems with bottle biology. The American Biology Teacher. 80(1): 40-44.

Gaskill, J.A. and M.M. Woller-Skar. 2018. Do invasive dreissenid mussels influence spatial and temporal patterns of toxic Microcystis aeruginosa in a low-nutrient Michigan lake? Lake and Reservoir Management, DOI: 10.1080/10402381.2018.1423587.

Woller-Skar, M.M., Locher, A., Audia, E. and E.W. Thomas. 2021. Changing water levels in Lake Superior, MI (USA) impact periphytic diatom assemblages in the Keweenaw Peninsula. Water, 13, 253. DOI.org/10.3390/w13030253.

Audia, E., Woller-Skar, M.M. and A. Locher. 2021. Crowd-sourced data link land use and soil moisture to temperature and relative humidity in southwest Michigan (USA). Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 143: 341-348.

Abernethy, E.F., Arismedi, I., Boegehold, A.G., Colón-Gaud, C., Cover, M.R., Larson, E.I., Moody, E.K., Penaluna, B.E., Shogren, A.J., Webster, A.J. and M.M. Woller-Skar. 2020. Diverse, equitable, and inclusive scientific societies: Progress and opportunities in the Society for Freshwater Science, 39(3) 363-376.

Woller-Skar, M.M., Russell, A.L., Gaskill, J.A. and M.R. Luttenton. 2020. Microcystin in multiple life stages of Hexagenia limbata, with implications of toxin transfer. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 46: 666-671.

Harwood, A.D., Sutherland, G.E., Woller-Skar, M.M., Lydy, M.J. and M.C. Borrello. 2019. Evaluating toxicity risk in sediments after remediation at a Superfund megasite using a Triad approach. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191: 665

Dobson, C., Woller-Skar, M.M. and J. Green. 2017. An inquiry-based activity to show the importance of sample size and random sampling. Science Scope. April/May: 76-81.

Woller-Skar, M.M., Jones, D.N., Luttenton, M.R. and A.L. Russell. 2015. Microcystin detected in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). American Midland Naturalist. 174(2): 331-334.

Corthals, A., Martin, A., Warsi, O. M., Woller-Skar, M. M., Lancaster, W., Russell, A., & Davalos, L. M. 2015. From the field to the lab: best practices for field preservation of bat specimens for molecular analysis. Plos One. Mar 23: 1-12.

Henshaw, M.T., Woller-Skar, M.M. and A.N. Pence. 2014. Multiple queens and biased sex ratios in the independent-founding Ropalidia Guérin-Méneville, 1831 (Hymenoptera:Vespidae) wasps. Austral Entomology. Vol 54(1): 100-109.

Recent Presentations

Poster: Characterization of epiphytic bacterial communities using next-generation DNA sequencing. International Association of Great Lakes Research, Toronto, ONT (CAN), June 2018.

Poster: Using algal communities to assess wetland restoration efficacy. International Association of Great Lakes Research, Detroit, MI, May 2017.

Author only: Examining spatial and temporal dynamics of Microcystis aeruginosa and microcystin in a low nutrient lake in northwestern Michigan. Society for Freshwater Science, Sacramento, CA, May 2016.

Poster: Field measurements of microcystin in the mayfly Hexagenia limbata during emergence, implications for toxin transfer and persistence. Society for Freshwater Science, Milwaukee, WI, May 2015.

Author only: Aquatic derived microcystin accumulation in livers of the double crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Society for Freshwater Science, Milwaukee, WI, May 2015.

Author only: Quantification of microcystin among various fish species across Michigan: a study focused on safe fish consumption. Society for Freshwater Science, Milwaukee, WI, May 2015.

Poster: Microcystin in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) following consumption of adult mayflies. Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR, May 2014.

The influence of sediment nutrient enrichment on microcystin production and density of Microcystis aeruginosa. Society for Freshwater Science, Jacksonville, FL, May 2013.

Multivariate techniques for modeling the liver toxin, microcystin in freshwater systems. Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Symposium, Allendale, MI, October 2012.

Author only: A comparison of DNA yields from different tissue types and storage media. North American Symposium for Bat Research, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 2012.