Steve Vander Wall

Biology Graduate Director, Professor
Outdoor headshot of Steve Vander Wall


My graduate students and I study plant-animal interactions. We are currently conducting research on the dispersal of pine (Jeffrey, sugar, ponderosa, pinon, and others) and shrub (bitterbrush, chinquapin) seeds by rodents and jays in the Sierra Nevada of western Nevada. These animals, primarily yellow pine chipmunks, cache seeds in shallow, scattered sites in the soil. Seeds that are not retrieved by spring germinate, resulting in plant establishment. The relationships between these plants and animals are mutualistic; the rodents receive a nutritious food supply and the plants are disseminated throughout the region. These plant-animal interactions are excellent model systems for studying the process of plant dispersal by food-hoarding animals. We are also studying how rodents use spatial memory and olfaction to recover cached food.


  • Ph.D., Biology, Utah State University, 1980
  • M.S., Zoology, Northern Arizona University, 1974
  • B.S., Biology, Northern Arizona University, 1971


View a list of Dr. Vander Wall's publications on his Google Scholar profile