Dr. Chelsea N. Miller

Dr. Chelsea N. Miller

Title: Assistant Professor
Dept/Program: Biology
Office: E505
Phone: 330-972-4256
Email: cmiller3@uakron.edu


I grew up in a small Midwestern town in central Illinois. Despite being surrounded by corn and soybean monocultures (or perhaps because of this), I developed a fascination with the natural world around me. I was particularly captivated by deciduous forests and forest understory communities, especially the plants and insects that call these habitats home.

I attended college at the University of Central Arkansas, where I was first exposed to the wild landscapes of the Ozark Mountains, and embarked on the thrilling journey of becoming a biologist—the only job I can ever remember wanting to do. At UCA, I earned my B.S. in Biology and participated in a variety of research projects, ranging from dispersal patterns of darters in intermittent mountain headwater streams, to investigating the impacts of natural gas fracking on stream health through the lens of aquatic macroinvertebrates, to camera trapping of endemic carnivores in the rainforests of Madagascar.

From there, I attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where I worked with Dr. Charles Kwit and used the ecologically diverse southern Appalachian Mountains as my research playground. I completed my Ph.D. dissertation on differences in ant-mediated seed dispersal and determinants of range dynamics of endemic and widespread species of Trillium, a genus of understory herbs. I also received an M.S. in statistics at UTK.

Following graduate school, I completed my first postdoc with Dr. Kamal Gandhi in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources at the University of Georgia, studying the effects of catastrophic hurricanes and tornados on populations of saproxylic beetles in pine plantations in Florida and southern Georgia. I then received an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study the capacity of spring ephemeral plants to adapt to climate change through phenological plasticity, where I was hosted in Dr. Katie Stuble’s lab at the Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, OH.

My research program broadly focuses on the effects of global and regional environmental change on plants and plant-animal interactions using natural history observations, field and laboratory experiments, common garden approaches, distribution/niche modeling, and chemical ecology.


Miller, C. N., B. Barnes, S. Kinz , S. Spinner, J. T. Vogt, E. McCarty, and K. J. K. Gandhi. 2023. Woodboring beetle (Buprestidae; Cerambycidae) responses to Hurricane Michael in variously damaged southeastern US pine plantations. Forest Science, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1093/forsci/fxac058.

Miller, C. N., M. Papeş, E. Schilling, and C. Kwit. 2021. Reproductive traits explain occupancy of predicted distributions in a genus of eastern North American understory herbs. Diversity and Distributions 2021;00: 1–18. https://doi. org/10.1111/ddi.13297.

Gandhi, K. J. K., C. N. Miller, P. J. Fornwalt, and J. M. Frank. 2021. Bark beetle outbreaks alter biotic components of forested landscapes. In: Gandhi, K. J. K., and Hofstetter, R. 2021. Bark Beetle Management, Ecology, and Climate Change.

Miller, C. N., S. R. Whitehead, and C. Kwit. 2020. Effects of seed morphology and elaiosome chemical composition on attractiveness of five Trillium species to seeddispersing ants. Ecology and Evolution 2020;00: 1–14. DOI:10.1002/ece3.6101.

Miller, C. N., H. Brabazon , I. M. Ware, N. H. Kingsley , and J. M. Budke. 2019. Bringing an Historic Collection into the Modern Era: Curating the J. K. Underwood Seed Collection at the University of Tennessee Herbarium (TENN). Collection Forum 32(1-2): 14-30.

Miller, C. N., and C. Kwit. 2018. Overall seed dispersal effectiveness is lower in endemic Trillium species than in their widespread congeners. American Journal of Botany 105(11): 1-11.

Valenta, K., C. N. Miller, S. K. Monckton, S. A. Styler, D. J. Jackson, A. D. Melin, C. A. Chapman, and M. J. Lawes. 2016. Fruit ripening signals and cues in a Madagascan dry forest: haptic indicators reliably indicate fruit ripeness to dichromatic lemurs. Evolutionary Biology, 1-12.


  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship – The Holden Arboretum (2022-2023)
  • Postdoc – The Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, The University of Georgia (2020-2022)
  • Ph.D. – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2014-2020)
  • M.S. – Statistics, Intercollegiate Graduate Statistics Program, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville (2017-2020)
  • B.S. – Department of Biology, The University of Central Arkansas (2009-2013)