Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences

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Stephen F. Matter

Title: Associate Professor
Office: 731I Rieveschl Hall
Tel: 513-556-9768

ECBR, SBBE Ecology; Population Ecology; Metapopulation Dynamics; Dispersal Behavior; Community Patterns and Dynamics; Insect Plant Interactions; Modelling


  • Ph.D., University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1998 (Environmental Science).
  • MS, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1994 (Environmental Science).
  • BS, summa cum laude, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, 1990 (Biological Sciences).

Research Information

Research Interests

Spatial population dynamics, metapopulation ecology, dispersal, plant insect-interactions, ecological modeling

I am broadly interested in ecology, and I have addressed questions ranging from the production of methane by animals under anthropogenic control, to statistical ecology, and interpreting biogeographical patterns. However, my main research interests focus on spatial population and community ecology. I am interested in understanding the consequences of movement of individuals among spatially segregated populations and the mechanisms affecting dispersal. I attempt to answer these questions using theoretical, experimental, and empirical perspectives.

Much of my research focuses on the Rocky Mountain Apollo Butterfly Parnassius smintheus. I am investigating factors affecting movement among populations and the consequences of local extinction and recolonization. More information is available on the alpine butterfly research site.

Research Support

  • (PI), Matter, Stephen, Determining mechanisms underlying among population dispersal, UC's University Research Council. (URC Faculty Awards AY2016-17), $10,000.00. 01-01-2017 to 03-31-2018. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Matter, Stephen, Mechanisms of response to climate change in alpine habitats, National Geographic Society. (9905-16), $19,350.00. 07-01-2016 to 08-31-2017. Status: Awarded.
  • (PI), Matter, Stephen, Effects of Encroaching Forest for the Rocky Mountain Apollo Butterfly, Parnassius smintheus, National Science Foundation. (DEB-0918929), $286,759.00. 09-01-2009 to 08-31-2014. Status: Completed.
  • (PI), Matter, Stephen, Matter - Faculty Bridge Program, UC's Research Support. (Matter - Faculty Bridge Program), $15,000.00. 05-01-2018 to 04-30-2019. Status: Active.
  • (PI), Matter, Stephen, An Experimental Examination of the Role of Dispersal for the Spatial Population Dynamics of the Butterfly Parnassius smintheus, National Science Foundation. (DEB-0326957), $211,803.00. 11-15-2002 to 08-31-2008. Status: Closed.


Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland. (2017). Climate and extreme weather independently affect population growth, but neither is a consistently good predictor. Ecosphere 8: e01816. 10.1002/ecs2.1816.
  • Chen, H. & S.F. Matter. (2017). Quantification of changes in light and temperature associated with invasive Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). American Midland Naturalist 177:143-152.
  • Jacob, S.A., S.F. Matter & G.N. Cameron. (2017). Differences in the effects of microhabitat and temporal factors on patch use and foraging behavior of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus). Journal of Mammalogy 98:804-814.
  • Mitchell, M., S.F. Matter, R.D. Durtsche & I. Buffam. (2017). Elevated phosphorus: Dynamics during four years of green roof development. Urban Ecosystems. 
  • Jangjoo, M., S.F. Matter, J. Roland & N. Keyghobadi. (2016). Connectivity rescues genetic diversity after a demographic bottleneck in a butterfly population network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113: 10914-10919.
  • Roland, J. & S.F. Matter. (2016). Pivotal effect of early-winter extreme temperatures and snowfall on annual population growth of alpine Parnassius smintheus butterflies. Ecological Monographs 86:412-428. doi:10.1002/ecm.1225.
  • Cameron, G.N., T.M. Culley, S.E. Kolbe, A.I. Miller & S.F. Matter. (2016). Effects of an invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Amur honeysuckle), and environmental factors on recruitment of sugar maple trees, Acer saccharum Marshall, in southwestern Ohio. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 143:386-397.
  • Matter, S.F., Gargano, C., K. Kim & A. Wick. (2016). Forest habitat reduces the flight of Pontia occidentalis (Reakirt) (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) relative to alpine meadow habitat. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 70:108-113. 
  • Loomis, J., S.F. Matter & G.N. Cameron. 2015. Effects of invasive Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on survival of Sugar Maple seedlings in a Southwestern Ohio forest. American Midland Naturalist 174:65-73.
  • van Ee, J., M. Westbrook, S. Yadav, J. Roland & S.F. Matter. 2015. Predicting the effects of forest encroachment for Sedum lanceolatum and Rhodiola integrifolia at a subalpine ecotone. Alpine Botany 125:125–135.  
  • Cameron, G.N., T.M. Culley, S.E. Kolbe, A.I. Miller & S.F. Matter. 2015. Effects of urbanization on herbaceous forest vegetation: the relative impacts of soil, geography, forest composition, human access, and an invasive shrub. Urban Ecosystems 18:1051-1069.
  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland. (2015). A priori prediction of an extreme population crash in the summer of 2015 for a population network of the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Ecosphere 6.
  • Choi, J., C. Moskalik, A. Ng, S.F. Matter & D.R. Buchholz. (2015). Regulation of thyroid hormone-induced development by thyroid hormone transporters and cytosolic binding proteins. General and Comparative Endocrinology 222: 69-80. 
  • Custer, J.E., B.D. Goddard, S.F. Matter & E.S. Kaneshiro. (2014) The relative proportions of different lipid classes and their fatty acid compositions change with culture age in the cariogenic dental pathogen Streptococcus mutans UA159. Lipids 49:543-554.
  • Christopher, C.C., S.F. Matter & G.N. Cameron. (2014) Interactive effects of Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on herb communities in deciduous forests in the eastern United States. Biological Invasions 16:2247-2261.
  • Matter, S.F., N. Keyghobadi & J. Roland. (2014) Ten years of abundance data within a spatial population network of the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Ecology 95: 2985.
  • Caplins, S.A., K.J. Gilbert, C. Ciotir, J. Roland, S.F. Matter & N. Keyghobadi. (2014) Landscape structure and the genetic effects of a population collapse. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.281:1796-1798
  • Matter, S.F., F.J. Borrero & C. Fleiss. (2013). Modeling the growth and survival of populations of the freshwater mussel, Lampsilis radiata luteola: little evidence for intermittent recruitment. American Midland Naturalist 169:122-136.
  • Roland, J. & S.F. Matter. 2013. Variability in winter climate and winter extremes reduces population growth of an alpine butterfly. Ecology 94:190-199.
  • Griff, E. & S.F. Matter. (2013). Evaluation of an adaptive online learning system. British Journal of Educational Technology. 44:170-176.
  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland. (2013). Female mating failure in the butterfly Parnassius smintheus: a component but not a demographic Allee effect. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata.146: 93-102.
  • Matter, S.F. 2013.Increases and decreases in network synchrony associated with local population extinction and recolonization. Ecological Modelling 266:68-72.
  • Matter, S.F., B. Reed, K. Illerbrun, A. Doyle, S. McPike & J. Roland. (2012). Young love? Mating of Parnassius smintheus Doubleday (Papillionidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society 66:111-113.
  • Bjarnholt, N., M. Nakonieczny, A. Kędziorski, D.M. Debinski, S.F. Matter, C.E. Olsen & M. Zagrobelny. (2012). Occurrence of sarmentosin and other hydroxynitrile glucosides in Parnassius butterflies and their food plants. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38:525-538.
  • Matter, S.F., J.R. Brzyski, C.J. Harrison, S. Hyams, J. Loomis, C. Loo, H. Lubbers, L. Seastrum, T.I. Stamper, A.M. Stein, R. Stokes & B.S. Wilkerson. (2012). Invading from the garden? A comparison of leaf herbivory for exotic and native plants in natural and ornamental settings. Insect Science 19:677-682.
  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland. (2011) Effects of experimental population removal for the spatial population ecology of the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. pp. 317-335 In: L. Liu, A. Morzillo, V. Hull & J. Wiens (Eds.) Sources, Sinks, and Sustainability across Landscapes, Cambridge University Press.
  • Matter, S.F., A. Doyle, K. Illerbrun, J. Wheeler, & J. Roland. (2011). An assessment of direct and indirect effects of climate change for populations of the Rocky Mountain Apollo butterfly (Parnassius smintheus Doubleday). Insect Science. 18:385–392.
  • Tarighat, S.S., D.L. Lentz, S.F. Matter & R. Bye. 2011. Morphometric analysis of Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) achenes from Mexico and eastern North America. Economic Botany 65: 260-270.
  • Schmidt, B.C.& S.F. Matter. 2011. Taxonomic utility of egg microsculpture: maternal effects and variation in eggs of Parnassius smintheus Doubleday (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society. 65:223-236.
  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland (2010). Local extinction synchronizes population dynamics in spatial networks. Proceedings of the Royal Society Series B. 277:729-737
  • Nica, R., S.F. Matter & E.R. Griff. (2010). Physiological evidence for two classes of mitral cells in the rat olfactory bulb. Brain Research 1358:81-88.
  • Matter, S.F. & J. Roland. (2010). Experimental extinction and the spatial population dynamics of the butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Oikos 119:1961-1969
  • Matter, S.F. (2009). Abundance of an herbivorous beetle: factors affecting dispersal and local reproduction. American Midland Naturalist, 162, 19-28.
  • Matter, S.F., M. Ezzeddine, E. Duermit, J. Mashburn, R. Hamilton, T. Lucas, & J. Roland (2009). Interactions between habitat quality and connectivity affect immigration but not abundance or population growth of the butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Oikos, 118, 1461-1470.
  • Griff, E.R., & S.F. Matter (2008). Early identification of at-risk students using a personal response system. British Journal of Educational Technology. [Link]
  • Calabrese, J.M., Ries, L., Matter, S.F., Auckland, J.N., Debinski, D.M., Roland, J., & Fagan, W.F. (2008). Reproductive asynchrony in natural butterfly populations and its consequences for female matelessness. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77, 746, 756. [Link]
  • Roslin, T., Syrjala, H., Roland, J., Harrison, P., J., Fownes, S., & Matter, S.F. (2008). Caterpillars on the run - induced defences create spatial patterns in host plant damage. Ecography, 31(3), 335, 347. [Link]
  • Ezzeddine, M. & S.F. Matter (2008). Nectar flower use and electivity by butterflies in sub-alpine meadows. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, 62, 138, 142. [Link]
  • Roland, J., Matter, S.F. (2007). Encroaching forests decouple alpine butterfly population dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(34), 13702, 13704. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F. (2007). Population density and patch size: a field study of within and between generation variability. American Midland Naturalist, 157, 1-10.
  • Roland, J., & S.F. Matter (2007). Encroaching forests decouple alpine butterfly dynamics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, 13702-13704. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Borrero, F.J., & Bedel, C. (2006). Changes in the mussel community of Ohio Brush Creek. Northeastern Naturalist, 13, 247-258. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F. (2006). Changes in landscape structure decrease mortality during migration. Oecologia, 150, 8-16. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Wick, A., Gaydos, M., Frantz, M., & Roland, J. (2006). Egg viability and larval contribution to fecundity of Parnassius smintheus Doubleday (Papillionidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, 60, 101-102. [Link]
  • Keyghobadi, N., Roland, J., Matter, S.F., & Strobeck, C. (2005). Among- and within-patch components of genetic diversity respond at different rates to habitat fragmentation: an empirical demonstration. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 272, 553-560. [Link]
  • Ross, J.A., Matter, S.F., & Roland, J. (2005). Edge avoidance and movement of the butterfly Parnassius smintheus in matrix and non-matrix habitat. Landscape Ecology, 20, 127-135. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Roslin, T., & Roland, J. (2005). Predicting immigration of two species in contrasting landscapes: effects of scale, patch size and isolation. Oikos, 11, 359-367. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Roland, J., Moilanen, A., & Hanski, I. (2004). Migration and survival of Parnassius smintheus: detecting effects of habitat for individual butterflies. Ecological Applications, 14, 1526-1534. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., & Roland, J. (2004). Relationships among population estimation techniques: an examination for Parnassius smintheus. Journal of the Lepidopterists’ Society, 58, 189-195. [Link]
  • Matter, S. F. (2003). Modeling the density-area relationship in a dynamic landscape: an examination for the beetle Tetraopes tetraophthalmus and a generalized model. Ecological Modelling, 169(1), 103, 117. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Roland, J., Keyghobadi, N., Sabourin, K. (2003). The effects of isolation, habitat area and resources on the abundance, density and movement of the butterfly Parnassius smintheus. American Midland Naturalist, 150(1), 26, 36. [Link]
  • Gaston, K. J., Matter, S. F. (2002). Individuals-area relationships: Comment. Ecology, 83(1), 288, 293.
  • Matter, S. F., Hanski, I., Gyllenberg, M. (2002). A test of the metapopulation model of the species-area relationship. Journal of Biogeography, 29(8), 977, 983.
  • Matter, S. F., Roland, J. (2002). An experimental examination of the effects of habitat quality on the dispersal and local abundance of the butterfly Parnassius smintheus. Ecological Entomology, 27(3), 308, 316.
  • Matter, S. F. (2001). Effects of above and below ground herbivory by Tetraopes tetraophthalmus (Coleoptera : Cerambycidae) on the growth and reproduction of Asclepias syriaca (Asclepidacae). Environmental Entomology, 30(2), 333, 338.
  • Matter, S. F. (2001). Synchrony, extinction, and dynamics of spatially segregated, heterogeneous populations. Ecological Modelling, 141(1-3), 217, 226.
  • Matter, S.F. (2000). Regression, ANOVA, and estimates of effect size. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, 81, 74, 76.
  • Matter, S. F. (2000). The importance of the relationship between population density and habitat area. Oikos, 89(3), 613, 619. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F. (1999). Population density and area: the role of within and between generation processes over time. Ecological Modelling, 118, 261, 275. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Landry, J.B., Greco, A.M., & Lacourse, C.D. (1999). Importance of floral phenology and florivory for Tetraopes tetraophthalmus (Coleoptera : Cerambycidae): Tests at the population and individual level. Environmental Entomology, 28(6), 1044, 1051.
  • Matter, S.F. (1997). Population density and area: the role of between- and within-patch processes. Oecologia, 110, 533, 538. [Link]
  • Bowers, M.A., & Matter, S.F. (1997). Landscape ecology of mammals: relationships between density and patch size. Journal of Mammalogy, 78, 999, 1013. [Link]
  • Bowers, M.A., Gregorio, K, Brame, C.J., Matter, S.F., & Dooley, J.L. (1996). Use of space and habitats by meadow voles at the home range, patch, and landscape scales. Oecologia, 105, 107, 115. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F., Zawacki, J.F., & Bowers, M.A. (1996). Habitat fragmentation and the perceived and actual risk of predation. Virginia Journal of Science, 47, 19, 27. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F. (1996). Interpatch movement of the red milkweed beetle, Tetraopes tetraophthalmus: individual responses to patch size and isolation. Oecologia (105), 447, 453. [Link]
  • Bowers, M.A., Matter, S.F., Dooley, J.L., Dauten, J.L., & Simkins, J.A. (1996). Controlled experiments of habitat fragmentation: A simple computer simulation and a test using small mammals. Oecologia, 108, 182, 191. [Link]
  • Matter, S.F. (1994). Estimated methane production by fauna under anthropogenic influence in Virginia. Virginia Journal of Science, 45, 249, 255. [Link]
  • Urban, N. & S.F. Matter. (2018). Metapopulation mirages: Problems parsing process from pattern. Ecological Modelling 375:20-29.  

Book Chapter

  • Lynch, K.M. & S.F. Matter. (2014) Trade of Athenian figured pottery and the effects of connectivity. pp. 107-115. In: J. Oakley (Ed.) Athenian Potters and Painters III, Oxbow.

Popular Magazine Article

  • Matter, S.F., J. Roland, N. Keyghobadi & E.A. Johnson. (2013) Effects of local population extinction and recolonization on synchrony: experiments on the spatial population dynamics of the alpine butterfly, Parnassius smintheus. Research Highlights of the Biogeosciences Institute.
  • S.F. Matter (2006). Mosaic. Study Skin Preparation 26.
  • S.F. Matter (2006). Mosaic. Entomology is Alive and Well at Cincinnati Museum Center 20.
  • S.F. Matter (2005). Mosaic. New Faces in the Live Animal Program
  • S.F. Matter (2004). Mosaic. Retiring Professor Donates Research Collection to Museum Center 28.
  • J. Roland, N. Keyghobadi, & S. Matter. Mountain Science Highlights. Effect of Rising Treeline on Connectivity of Alpine Meadows for Butterfly Populations [Link]

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow of the Biogeosciences Institute, 2014.
  • Sigma Xi Chapter Program Award 2011, 2011. Award for outstanding programs sponsored by local Sigma Xi chapters. I was treasurer for the planning and implimentation of this event..
  • Sigma Xi Chapter of Excellence Award , 2011. Award for outstanding Sigma Xi chapters. I was treasurer for the planning and implimentation of this event..
  • Sigma Xi, 2009.
  • Moore Research Award, 1996.
  • University Scholar, University of Pittsburgh, 1990.
  • Gold Key National Honor Society, 1989.

Experience & Service

Courses Taught

    Level: Graduate

  • 15-BIOL-303 ECOLOGY
    Level: Undergraduate

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10A

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10A


    Level: Graduate
    Term: 10A

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10S

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10S

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 10S

  • Level: Graduate
    Term: 10S

    Level: Graduate
    Term: 10S

  • 15-BIOL-303 ECOLOGY
    Term: 10S

  • Level: Graduate
    Term: 10W

  • 15-BIOL-303 ECOLOGY
    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 11S

    Term: 11S

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 11S

    Term: 11S

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 11A

    Level: Undergraduate
    Term: 11A