Maria Stager

Assistant Professor

427 Morrill II

B.S., Cornell University, 2008 M.S., University of Illinois Urbana-Champain, 2014 PhD., University of Montana, 2020


University of South Carolina, 2020-2021
University of Boulder, 2021-2022

Research Interests: 


My research program focuses on determining the mechanisms that enable organisms to mount responses to changing environmental conditions. This work integrates tools from physiology, ecology, and genomics, as well as combines laboratory experiments and field studies using natural populations -- usually small songbirds. Taken together, this approach targets the causes and consequences of variation in physiological responses to broaden our understanding of individuals’ capacities to cope with accelerating global change and develop realistic projections of species’ viabilities in the future.

Representative Publications: 

Stager, M, NR Senner, DL Swanson, MD Carling, DK Eddy, TJ Greives, and ZA Cheviron. 2021. Temperature heterogeneity correlates with intraspecific variation in physiological flexibility in a small endotherm. Nature Communications 12: 4401.

Stager, M and ZA Cheviron. 2020. Is there a role for sarcolipin in avian facultative thermogenesis in extreme cold? Biology Letters 16: 20200078.

Stager, M, NR Senner, BW Tobalske, and ZA Cheviron. 2020. Body temperature maintenance acclimates in a winter-tenacious songbird. Journal of Experimental Biology 223: jeb221853.

Wilde, LR, CJ Wolf, S Poerter, M Stager, ZA Cheviron, and NR Senner. 2019. Botfly infections impair the aerobic performance and survival of montane populations of deer mice, Peromyscus maniculatus. Functional Ecology 33: 608-618.

Senner, NR, M Stager, MA Verhoeven, ZA Cheviron, T Piersma, and W Bouten. 2018. High-altitude shorebird migration in the absence of topographical barriers: avoiding high air temperatures and searching for profitable winds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285: 20180569.

Senner, NR, M Stager, and ZA Cheviron. 2018. Spatial and temporal heterogeneity in climate change limits species’ dispersal and adaptive potential. Ecography 41: 1428-1440.

Brawn, JD, TJ Benson, M Stager, ND Sly, and CE Tarwater. 2017. Impacts of changing rainfall regime on the demography of tropical birds. Nature Climate Change 7: 133-136.

Senner, NR, M Stager, and BK Sandercock. 2017. Ecological mismatches are moderated by local conditions for two populations of a long-distance migratory bird. Oikos 126: 61-72.

Stager, M, HS Pollock, PM Benham, ND Sly, JD Brawn, and ZA Cheviron. 2016. Disentangling environmental drivers of metabolic flexibility in birds: the importance of temperature extremes vs. temperature variability. Ecography 39: 787-795.

Tuttle, EM, AO Bergland, ML Korody, MS Brewer, DJ Newhouse, P Minx, M Stager, A Betuel, ZA Cheviron, WC Warren, RA Gonser, and CN Balakrishnan. 2016. Divergence and functional degradation of a sex chromosome-like supergene. Current Biology 26: 344-350.

Stager, M, DL Swanson, and ZA Cheviron. 2015. Regulatory mechanisms of seasonal metabolic flexibility in the Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis). J. Experimental Biology 218: 767-777.

Stager, M, D Cerasale, R Dor, DW Winkler, and ZA Cheviron. 2014. Signatures of natural selection in the mitochondrial genomes of Tachycineta swallows and their implications for latitudinal patterns of the ‘pace of life.’ Gene 546: 104-111.