Matt R. Whiles | Department of Zoology | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Science

Matt R. Whiles



Office: 317 Life Science II
Phone: 618-453-7639

Visit the Freshwater Ecology Lab

My research focuses on the role of consumer groups, particularly invertebrates, in ecosystem function. Most of my efforts are focused on streams and wetlands, but I am also interested in the role of invertebrates in terrestrial systems. I am particularly interested in the effects of disturbance on aquatic invertebrate communities and ecosystem function, as well as the role of invertebrates in recovery of ecosystem processes following disturbance. Current and recent projects include investigating the influence of hydrologic fluctuations on aquatic communities of central Platte River wetlands, quantifying the ecosystem-level consequences of stream-dwelling amphibian extirpations in the Central American highlands, and estimating secondary production and energy flow along a tallgrass prairie stream continuum. Applied aspects of my research include biological assessment of river and wetland management and restoration techniques.


Ph.D., University of Georgia

Courses taught

BIOL 307 (Principles of Ecology, ZOOL 414 (Freshwater Invertebrates), ZOOL 521 (Stream Ecology)

Areas of interest

Ecosystem ecology; Stream and wetland ecology, Invertebrate biology

Selected Recent Publications

Barnum, T. R., J. M. Drake, C. Colón-Gaud, A. T. Rugenski, T. C. Frauendorf, S. Connelly, S. S. Kilham, M. R. Whiles, K. R. Lips, and C. M. Pringle. 2015. Evidence for the persistence of food web structure after amphibian extirpation in a Neotropical stream. Ecology 96: 2106-2116.

Jackson, K. E., M. R. Whiles, W. K. Dodds, J. D. Reeve, J. Vandermyde, and H. M. Rantala. 2015.  Influence of patch-burn grazing on the ecological integrity of tallgrass prairie streams. Journal of Environmental Quality: 1148-1159.

Rantala, H.M., A.M. Nelson, J.N. Fulgoni, M.R. Whiles, R.O. Hall, Jr., W.K. Dodds, P. Verburg, A.D. Huryn, C.M. Pringle, S.S. Kilham, K.R. Lips, C. Colon-Gaud, A.T. Rugenski, S.D. Peterson, K. Fritz, K.E. McLeran, and S. Connelly. 2015. Long-term changes in structure and function of a tropical headwater stream following a disease-driven amphibian decline. Freshwater Biology 60: 575-589.

Vanderymyde, J. M. and M. R. Whiles. 2015.  Effects of woody vegetation encroachment and experimental forest removal on macroinvertebrate production and functional structure in tallgrass prairie streams. Freshwater Science: 34: 519-534.

Dodds, W. K., K. Gido, M. R. Whiles, M. D. Daniels, and B. P. Grudzinski. 2015. The stream biome gradient concept: controlling factors of lotic systems across broad biogeographic scales. Freshwater Science 34:1-19

Dodds, W. K.,Collins, S.M., Hamilton, S.K., Tank, J. L., Johnson, S., Webster, J. R., Simon, K. S., Whiles, M. R., Rantala, H. M., McDowell, W. H., Peterson, S.D., Riis, T., Crenshaw, C. L., Thomas, S. A., Kristensen, P. B., Cheever, B. M., Flecker, A. S., Griffiths, N.A., Crowl, T., Rosi-Marshall, E. J., and El-Sabaawi, R. 2014.  You are not always what we think you eat: selective assimilation across multiple whole-stream isotopic tracer studies. Ecology: 2757-2767.

Mountjoy, N. J., M. R. Whiles, M. Davenport, and E. Seekamp. 2014. Identifying the Top Ten Capacity Indicators for Community-based Natural Resource Management Initiatives: Focus Group Results from Conservation Practitioners across Illinois. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management: 57: 329-348.

Heinrich, K. K, M. R. Whiles, and C. Roy. 2014. Cascading ecological responses to an in-stream restoration project in a Midwestern River.  Restoration Ecology 22: 72-80

Whiles, M. R. 2013.  Freshwater Invertebrate Ecology. Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology, Oxford University Press.  DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199830060-0132

Frauendorf T. C., C. Colon-Gaud, M. R. Whiles, T. R. Barnum, K. R. Lips, C. M. Pringle, and S. S. Kulham. 2013. Energy flow and trophic basis of macroinvertebrate and amphibian production in a neotropical headwater stream. Freshwater Biology:58:1340-1352.

Whiles, M. R.,  R. O. Hall, Jr., W. K. Dodds, P. Verburg, A. D. Huryn, C. M. Pringle, K. R. Lips, S. S. Kilham, C. Colón-Gaud, A. T. Rugenski, S. Peterson, S. Connelly. 2013. Disease-driven amphibian declines alter ecosystem functioning in tropical streams. Ecosystems 16: 146-157.

Rugenski, A. T., C. Muria, and M. R. Whiles. 2013. Tadpoles enhance microbial activity and leaf decomposition in a neotropical stream. Freshwater Biology 57: 1904-1913.

Whiting, D. P., M. R. Whiles, and M. L. Stone. 2011. Patterns of macroinvertebrate production, trophic structure, and energy flow along a tallgrass prairie stream continuum. Limnology and Oceanography 56:887-898.

Whiles, M. R., M. I. Gladyshev, S. D. Peterson, N. N. Sushchik, O. N. Makhutova, G. S. Kalachova, and K. J. Regester. 2010.  Fatty acid analyses reveal high degrees of omnivory and dietary plasticity in pond-dwelling tadpoles. Freshwater Biology 55: 1533-1547.

Chambers, C., M. R. Whiles, E.J. Rosi-Marshall, J.L. Tank, T.V. Royer, N.A. Griffiths, M.A. Evans-White, and A. Stojak. 2010. Responses of stream macroinvertebrates to Bt maize leaf detritus. Ecological Applications 20: 1949-1960.

Whiles, M. R., A. D. Huryn, J. D. Reeve, and B. W. Taylor. 2009. Influence of handling stress and fasting on estimates of ammonium excretion by tadpoles and fish: recommendations for designing excretion experiments: Limnology and Oceanography Methods7: 1-7.

Colon-Gaud, C., M. R. Whiles, S. S. Kilham, K. R. Lips, C. M. Pringle, S. Connelly, and S. D. Peterson. 2009. Assessing ecological responses to catastrophic amphibian declines: Changes in macroinvertebrate production and food web structure in upland Panamanian streams. Limnology and Oceanography 54: 331-343.

Meyer, C. K. and M. R. Whiles. 2008. Macroinvertebrate communities in restored and natural Platte River slough wetlands. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 27: 626-639.

Rosi-Marshall, E. J., J. L. Tank, T.V. Royer, M.R. Whiles, M. Evans-White, C. Chambers, N.A. Griffiths, J. Pokelsek, and M.L. Stephen. 2007. Toxins in transgenic crop byproducts affect headwater streams. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104: 16204-16208.

Altig, R. M. R. Whiles, and C. L. Taylor. 2007.  What do tadpoles really eat?  Assessing the trophic status of an understudied and imperiled consumer group in freshwater habitats.  Freshwater Biology 52: 386-395.

Whiles, M. R., K. R. Lips, C. M. Pringle, S. S. Kilham, R. Brenes, S. Connelly, J. C. Colon Gaud, M. Hunte-Brown, A. D. Huryn, C. Montgomery, S. Peterson. 2006.  The consequences of amphibian population declines to the structure and function of Neotropical stream ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 4: 27-34.

Whiles, M. R., and R. E. Charlton.  2006.  The ecological significance of tallgrass prairie arthropods.  Annual Review of Entomology 51: 387-412.

For more information on my research program, please see my lab webpage.