Senior Research Ecologist and Founder
Susan’s training is in plant community ecology and pollination ecology, with an emphasis on species interactions under climate change. She earned her doctorate at the University of Washington, where her research focused on how native and exotic plants interact through shared pollinators and how flowering phenology shapes those interactions. Her research led her to the Cascadia prairies, where she was charmed both by the beautiful native forbs and their suites of visiting insects.
In graduate school, Susan also explored pollination and conservation themes in urban ecology and community-based science. She and colleague Marie Clifford founded and directed the Urban Pollination Project, a community science initiative in Seattle that investigated urban land use impacts on bumble bee foraging and urban food production.
Since 2015, Susan has led research into the basic biology of rare prairie plants and insects, in search of insights that support reintroduction programs and recovery of listed species.
Currently, Susan is especially interested in how prairie plant-pollinator communities change in response to restoration, and how restoration can promote communities resilient to future environmental change.
Waters, S., Chen, C., and Hille Ris Lambers, J. 2020. Experimental shifts in exotic flowering phenology produce strong indirect effects on native plant reproductive success. Journal of Ecology 00:1-12. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13392
Waters, S. 2018. A new tool in conservation of prairies and other plant communities: plant-pollinator network science. Douglasia Fall/Winter 2018.
Waters, S., Fisher, S., and Hille Ris Lambers, J. 2014. Neighborhood-contingent indirect interactions between native and exotic plants: multiple shared pollinators mediate plant reproductive success during invasions. Oikos 123: 433-440. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00643.x
Hille Ris Lambers, J., Ettinger, A., Ford, K., Haak, D., Miner, B., Rogers, H., Sheldon, K., Tewksbury, J., Waters, S. and Yang, Y. 2013. Accidental experiments: Ecological and evolutionary insights and opportunities derived from global change. Oikos 122: 1649-1661. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00698.x