Mandy Little


Office: 331G Jarvis Hall - Science Wing
Phone: 715/232-1148


Ph.D., 2005, Botany, University of Wisconsin-Madison

M.S., 2002, Botany and Landscape Architecture (double major), University of Wisconsin-Madison

B.S., 1999, Biology and Natural Resource Management (double major), University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point

Research Interests

I enjoy introducing undergraduate students to the joys and challenges of field-based plant ecology, GPS, and GIS research. If you are interested in participating in research with me, there are numerous opportunities for you to take ownership of projects that help solve society’s environmental problems! Please e-mail me at for more information!

Examples of research projects YOU can get involved in:

  • Ecology of ephemeral ponds and other wetlands in the Chippewa Moraine, including insects, amphibians, plants, hydrology, and water chemistry.

  • Landscape ecology of reed canarygrass (using GIS (geographic information systems) analysis)

  • Developing restoration and vegetation management plans for local natural areas, including the on-campus Stout Outdoor Classroom.

  • Effects of invasive plant species on plant and animal communities and ecosystem properties.

  • Plant species surveys and mapping.

Research is a powerful way to learn science and BUILD YOUR RESUME! Students really get to experience “science.” Through both failures and successes, you will learn that science is a continual process of testing and modifying hypotheses and pursuing multiple directions of evidence. I mentor my students through the project development stages, help them use field techniques and analyze data, pick out important patterns, and develop conclusions for their paper and/or poster products.

Courses Taught

BIO101: Introductory Biology (for non-Applied Science majors)

BIO141: Plants and People (and Honors Plants and People)

BIO324: Vascular Plant Taxonomy

BIO350: Ecology

BIO351: Ecology Laboratory

BIO352: Plant Ecology

BIO444: Problems in Environmental Sustainability

BIO452: Wetland Ecology

GEOG452: Geographical Information Systems Applications and Research

SMGT310: Ecology for Sustainable Management


  • Associate Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI (Current)
  • Assistant Director, UW-Stout Honors College (2012-2013)
  • Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI (2008-2012)
  • Assistant Professor (Non-tenure track), University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN (2005-2008)
  • Consultant, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN (2005-2008)
  • Full-time Adjunct Teaching Faculty, Edgewood College, Madison, WI (2004-2005)
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, UW-Madison Department of Biology, Madison, WI (2001-2004)
  • Student Biological Technician, US Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD (2000-2005)

Recent Grants & Awards

Updated 5/2013
  • 2013, A.M. Little and J. Church. NSF DEB: RUI: Testing metacommunity models in forested vernal wetlands using a multi-taxa, multi-year approach. NSF-DEB. Awarded for $549,999. (DEB-1256142)
  • 2011, UW-Stout College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Outstanding Teaching Award.
  • 2011, Participant in UW-Stout Using Calibrated Peer Review to Improve Writing within the Discipline grant (NTLC). $600.
  • 2011, Participant in UW-Stout Infusing Diversity into the Curriculum Program (NTLC). $1800.
  • 2011, Thorson, C.* and A.M. Little. The Literal Knowledge Spiral Transformation of the Campus Outdoor Classroom: Stories, Relationships, Goals, and Outcomes, Midwest Regional Collaborative for Sustainability Education. $2000.
  • 2011, Little, A.M. and D. Demezas. Portals of Discovery Collaboration Grant with UW-Fond du Lac. National Science Foundation. $7300.
  • 2011, Kuchta, M. and A.M. Little. Status surveys and habitat suitability modeling of terrestrial gastropods in Wisconsin, Wisconsin DNR State Wildlife Grant. $30,000.
  • 2010, Little, A.M., M. Hashmi, and J. Grant. NTLC Lesson Study Community of Practice: Plants, Drugs, and Depression. $2000.
  • 2010, Carlson, K., A. Little, and M. Kuchta. UW-Stout laboratory modernization request: Environmental sustainability suite. $72,378.
  • 2010, Paulson, N., S. Nold, and A. Little. Phosphorus in the Red Cedar Basin: An interdisciplinary approach to a more sustainable community. UW-Stout Research Incubator Grant Proposal. $10,000.
  • 2010, University of Wisconsin Teaching Fellow
  • 2010, A.M. Little. Red Cedar River riparian habitat restoration, Red Cedar River Enhancement Fund. $5000.
  • 2009, Perez, K.E., J. Theler, J. Nekola, T. Hyde, M.A. Kuchta, and A.M. Little. Wisconsin land snail database and surveys in the Driftless area. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources State Wildlife Grant. $49,971.
  • 2008, A.M. Little and J.A. Handley. UW-Stout Faculty Research Initiative. Reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) in west-central Wisconsin watersheds: factors affecting its distribution and control. $11,500.
  • 2008, Hoel, A. and A.M. Little. Team-teaching in a biology and business senior capstone course. Nakatani Teaching and Learning Center Grant. $500.
  • 2008, Carlson, K. and A.M. Little. Creation, implementation and marketing of a plant science minor at UW-Stout. UW-Stout Curriculum Incubation Center Grant. $6000.
  • 2006, PI: Little, A.M. Sphagnum in Acadia National Park. L. L. Bean Acadia Research Fellowship Grant. $5000.

Recent Publications

Updated 5/2013
  • Hoopes, M.F., D.M. Marsh, K.H. Beard, N. Goldberg, A. Aparicio*, A. Arbuthnot*, B. Hixon*, D. Laflower*, L. Lee*, A. Little, E. Mooney, A. Pallette*, A. Ravenscraft, S. Scheele*, K. Stowe, C. Sykes, R. Watson*, and B. Yang*. Invasive Plants in U.S. National Wildlife Refuges: A Coordinated Research Project with Undergraduate Ecology Students. BioScience in press.
  • Bernier, C.* 2013. Wet prairie restoration methods affect species richness and transplant survival. UW-Stout Journal of Student Research 12: 281-288. (A. Little, advisor)
  • Lynum, C.*, R. Amundson*, M. Kuchta, A. Little, T. Hyde, and K.E. Perez. 2013. Hendersonia occulta (Say 1831), the Cherrystone drop snail (Gastropoda, Helicinidae), extended geographic distribution. Checklist 9(2): 472-474.
  • Little, A.  2013.  Sampling and Analyzing Wetland Vegetation.  Chapter 5 in Anderson, J. T., and C. A. Davis.  Wetland Techniques.  Springer in press.
  • Schoolmaster, D.R. Jr, Grace, J.B., E.W. Schweiger,  G.R. Guntenspergen, B.R. Mitchell, K.M. Miller, and A.M. Little. 2012. An algorithmic and information-theoretic approach to multimetric index construction. Ecological Indicators 26: 14-23.
  • Little, A.M., G.R. Guntenspergen, and T.F.H. Allen. 2012. Wetland vegetation dynamics in response to beaver (Castor canadensis) activity at multiple scales on Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA. EcoScience 19(3): 246-257.
  • Grace, J.B., D.R. Schoolmaster Jr, J. Pearl, G.R. Guntenspergen, A.M. Little, B.R. Mitchell, K.M. Miller, and E.W. Schweiger. 2012. Guidelines for graph-theoretic implementation of structural equation modeling. Ecosphere 3:1-44.
  • Lee, L.,* B. Yang.* 2012. Rye cover crops limit Alliaria petiolata growth and promote prairie restoration. UW-Stout Journal of Student Research 11: 116-123. (A. Little, advisor)
  • Little, A. and A. Hoel. 2011. Interdisciplinary team teaching: An effective method to transform student attitudes. Journal of Effective Teaching 11(1): 36-44. Available at:
  • Little, A.M., G.R. Guntenspergen, and T.F.H. Allen. 2010. Conceptual hierarchical modeling to describe wetland plant community organization. Wetlands 30:55-65.
  • Little, A.M. 2008. Sphagnum in Acadia National Park. Final Report for L.L. Bean Acadia Research Fellowship. Accepted by Acadia National Park.
  • Little, A.M. 2005. The effects of beaver inhabitation and anthropogenic activity on freshwater wetland plant community dynamics on Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA. PhD Thesis, University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • Allen, T.F.H., M. Giampietro, and A.M. Little. 2003. Distinguishing ecological engineering from environmental engineering. Ecological Engineering 20: 389-407.
  • Tainter, J. A., T. F. H. Allen, A. Little, and T. W. Hoekstra. 2003. Resource transitions and energy gain: contexts of organization. Conservation Ecology 7(3): 4. [online] URL:
  • Little, A.M. 2002. Resource quality and beaver spatiotemporal dynamics. MS Thesis, University of Wisconsin – Madison.

*Undergraduate student

Recent Selected Presentations

Updated 5/2013
  • A.M. Little, G.R. Guntenspergen, and H. Neckles. 2013. Beaver and human activity affect Sphagnum communities in isolated wetlands in coastal Maine, USA. Ecological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Little, A.M. 2013. Service-learning in plant ecology using vegetation management plans. Ecological Society of America, Minneapolis, MN.
  • Little, A.M. and J.O. Church. 2013. An Ephemeral Ponds Unit for Teaching Undergraduate Ecology Laboratory. Society of Wetland Scientists, Duluth, MN.
  • Bernier, C.* and A. Little. 2012. Effects of wet prairie restoration methods on native plant species and transplant survival. Natural Areas Conference, Norfolk, VA.
  • Bernier, C.* and A.M. Little. 2013. Effects of glyphosate and sod removal on plant species richness and native transplant survival in wet prairie restorations. Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Sheboygan, WI.  
  • Little, A. 2012. Riparian soil, reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) and plant species richness in trout stream restorations. Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Lake Geneva, WI.
  • Jones, T.* and A. Little. 2011. Tree community succession in an isolated Western Wisconsin Preserve. Natural Areas Conference, Tallahassee, FL.
  • Grace, JB, DR Schoolmaster Jr., GR Guntenspergen, EW Schweiger, BR Mitchell, AM Little, K Miller and DJ Cooper. 2011. Causal networks as interpretive structures for multi-metric indices of ecological integrity. Ecol. Soc. of America, Austin, TX.
  • Thorson, C.*, A. Little, and C. Bomar. 2010. Effects of P. arundinacea on stream macroinvertebrates depend upon stream restoration age. Natural Areas Conference, Osage Beach, MO.
  • Little, A., H. Larsen*, C. Thorson*, J. Handley, and C. Bomar. 2010. Invasive reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea) in WI trout stream restorations. Minnesota-Wisconsin Invasive Species Conference, St. Paul, MN.
  • Larsen, H.* and A. Little. 2010. The effects of two trout stream restoration techniques on Phalaris arundinacea riparian spatial distribution. Wisconsin Wetlands Association Annual Conference, Eau Claire, WI
  • Little, A. 2010. Isolated beaver- and human-affected wetlands as habitat for Sphagnum moss. Wisconsin Wetlands Association Annual Conference, Eau Claire, WI.
  • Borchowiec, N.*, and A. Little. 2009. Wetland Phalaris arundinacea abundance as a function of watershed soil and land cover attributes. Natural Areas Conference, Vancouver, WA.
  • Baumgartner, M.*, N. Borchowiec*, J. Handley, and A.M. Little. 2009. Effects of watershed land cover and soil type on Phalaris arundinacea abundance in the Lower Chippewa River Region, WI. Society of Wetland Scientists, Madison, WI.
  • Leibl, K.* and A.M. Little. 2009. The effects of beaver (Castor canadensis) activity on Phalaris arundinacea in Minnesota. Society of Wetland Scientists, Madison, WI.
*Undergraduate Student

Professional Organizations

  • Natural Areas Association (Board Member)
  • Society of Wetland Scientists
  • Ecological Society of America 
  • Wisconsin Wetlands Association 
  • The Prairie Enthusiasts

Teaching Philosophy

In a laboratory setting, I enjoy teaching students using open-ended inquiry, including semester-long research projects that involve student ownership of the research question. In large-lecture settings, I enjoy using demonstrations that include students as active participants. In order to engage non-major students, I offer community service activities as a course component. In addition, I emphasize learning in a team-setting, including team quizzes and other in-class activities. In upper-level classes, I include resume-building projects and activities that will help students gain useful skills, such as comfort with plant identification, GPS, and GIS technology.


As a plant ecologist, of course I enjoy botanizing, gardening, hiking and camping. I also cross-country ski the Birkie each year, and am hoping to do another marathon in the next two years. In the meantime, I read novels, cross-stitch, and spend time with my cats.