Susan Moyle Studlar

Susan Moyle Studlar

I grew up on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota and spent many happy hours exploring the woods near our home. Both my parents were biologists, and their enthusiasm for nature and science was contagious. At Carleton College, I was inspired by charismatic botanist William H. Muir ‘s emphasis on non-flowering plants.  At the ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) Wilderness Field Station, I took bryologist Robert V. Drexler’s Field Botany course, and was enchanted by the beautiful robust mosses of the North Woods and the leafy liverwort Frullania and its resident rotifers.

I pursued a Ph.D. in Botany under Aaron J. Sharp at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and became fascinated with bryogeography during our field trips to Mexico. After temporary teaching positions at Wellesley College and Virginia Commonwealth University, I joined the faculty of Centre College of Kentucky (1978-1982), where I greatly enjoyed teaching botany and ecology, and involving students in research. We surveyed bryophytes of the Red River Gorge, and the students enrolled in my bryology course at the University of Virginia’s Mountain Lake Biological Station. We also investigated trampling impacts on mosses and involved the entire Station in the project. I loved Mountain Lake and came back summer after summer. My first projects were on mosses in bird nests and host specificity of epiphytes in an old growth remnant.

While at Centre I married Donley Studlar and eventually resigned tenured status to raise two boys. With the heavy course load and requirement for full-time teaching, this seemed my best option. I had more time to write papers and lead public nature walks (often featuring bryophytes) as Technical Director of the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge.

For the rest of my career, I taught botany, ecology, and biology courses as either Visiting or Adjunct faculty, following Don to Oklahoma State University (4 years) and West Virginia University (WVU, 23 years), with extended visits (and botanical/bryological explorations!) to England, Scotland, and Australia.  At WVU, I introduced students to bryophytes and lichens through my botany courses and Herbarium Internship program. Together we revived the long-neglected bryophyte and lichen herbaria at WVU and participated in the NSF-TCN digitization program. My Interns also served as Assistant Leaders in my public Moss-Lichen Walks at the West Virginia Botanical Garden. For eleven years, I looked forward to leading the Moss Extravaganza Walks for the WV Department of Natural Resources’ Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage.

 My bryophyte ecology projects were a lot of fun including bryophytes growing on slime molds, bryophytes in acidified streams, dung moss in WV, bryophyte survival in the stratosphere, roof mosses, moss harvest in WV, and tenacity of cliff bryophytes as related to climbing impacts

My first Crum Moss Workshop was in 2014, when Bill Buck invited me to be the local (WV) organizer. What a pleasure it was to investigate beautiful nearby montane bryophyte communities and learn more about their history and ecology! The 2016 Crum Workshop featured the Red River Gorge of Kentucky where we compared Workshop findings to my findings about 40 years earlier.

My husband and I retired from WVU in 2017 to Asheville, North Carolina where bryological opportunities abound.  At the University of North Carolina – Asheville I taught (2020) Bryophytes and Lichens of the Southern Appalachians remotely due to COVID. I sent each student 43 bryophyte or lichen samples for independent study and required each student to conduct independent field trips and share their findings on the class website via Powerpoint shows. In the future I plan to focus on more public walks, consulting (bryophyte ID), and floristic projects, while also serving as Trail Boss in the 10 acre woods of my residential community.

It has been a privilege to immerse myself in nature (highlighting bryophytes and lichens) and to share my discoveries with students, colleagues, the public, and my family.

Selected Publications

Studlar, Susan Moyle and James P. Vanderhorst. 2022. The 2014 Crum Workshop: Bryophytes of the Allegheny Highlands of West Virginia. Evansia 39 (3): 97-114.

Studlar, Susan Moyle and Linda Fuselier. 2018. The 2016 Crum Workshop:  Bryophytes of the Red River Gorge Geological Area, Kentucky. Evansia 35 (1): 6-23.

Studlar, Susan Moyle, Linda Fuselier, and Peter Clark. 2015. Tenacity of bryophytes and lichens on sandstone cliffs in West Virginia and relevance to recreational climbing impacts.  Evansia 32 (3): 121-135.

Studlar, Susan Moyle and JeriLynn E. Peck. 2009. Extensive green roofs and mosses:  reflections from a pilot study in Terra Alta, West Virginia. Evansia 26 (2): 52-58.

Studlar, Susan Moyle and JeriLynn Peck. 2007. Commercial moss harvest in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia: Targetted Species and Incidental Take. Bryologist 110 (4): 752-765.

Studlar, Susan Moyle and Elizabeth H. Byers. 2007. Splachnum ampullaceum Hedw.  (Dung Moss): Second Report from the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. Evansia 24 (1): 10-14.

Susan, Susan Moyle, Christopher Eddy, and James Spencer. 2007. Survival of four mosses from West Virginia after two hours in the stratosphere. Evansia 24 (1): 17-21.

Studlar, Susan Moyle, Steven L. Stephenson, and Paul J. Harmon. 2002.

Annotated Checklist of the Hornworts, Liverworts, and Mosses of West Virginia. Wildlife Resources Technical Documents 01-3. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. Elkins, West Virginia.

Stephenson, Steven L., Susan Moyle Studlar, Carolyn J. McQuattie, and

Pamela J. Edwards. 1995. Effects of acidification on bryophyte communities in West Virginia mountain streams. Journal of Environmental Quality 24(1): 116-123.

Studlar, Susan Moyle and Jerry A. Snider. 1989. Bryophytes of the Red

River Gorge of Kentucky: floristics and phytogeography. Castanea 54: 133-152.

Stephenson, Steven L. and Susan Moyle Studlar.1985. Myxomycetes

fruiting upon bryophytes: coincidence or preference? Journal of Bryology 13: 537-548.

Studlar, Susan Moyle. 1983. Recovery of trampled bryophyte communities near Mountain Lake, Virginia. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 110: 1-11.

Studlar, Susan Moyle. 1982. Host specificity of epiphytic bryophytes near Mountain Lake, Virginia. Bryologist 85: 37-50.

Studlar, Susan Moyle. 1980. Trampling effects on bryophytes: trail surveys and experiments. Bryologist 83: 301-313.

Breil, David A. and Susan Moyle. 1976. Bryophytes used in construction of bird nests. Bryologist 79: 95-98.