Jonathan M. Niles, Ph.D.
Mellon Grant Program Director
Office Location: Natural Sciences Center - Rm 222
PHD, West Virginia Univ Morgantown
MS, West Virginia Univ Morgantown
BA, Saint Marys College Maryland
Niles came to Susquehanna University in Fall 2010. He is a freshwater ecologist who focuses on the ecology of fish—particularly coldwater species, with a current emphasis on brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in the Appalachians. Niles studies the life history, behavior, habitat needs, and feeding ecology of brook trout in central Pennsylvania. His current research in Pa. is focused on 1) the impacts of human disturbance (logging, natural gas drilling) on biota (brook trout, benthic invertebrates) in headwater streams, and 2) the effects of flooding disturbance on headwater stream biota. Of particular emphasis is how the feeding ecology and movement of brook trout in these streams may change with increased anthropogenic activity. He has presented work in collaboration with SU students at regional and national conferences and published several articles in journals such as North American Journal of Fisheries Management, River Research and Applications, Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management, Northeastern Naturalist, and Pennsylvania Academy of Science.
In May 2014, he was named the Director of the Freshwater Research Initiative, which is funded by a $2.25 million dollar grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation. Niles and other faculty members from Susquehanna’s biology and chemistry departments are the lead researchers on this grant. The goal of the Freshwater Research Initiative is to catalyze critical data collection, analysis and public outreach to help address a host of environmental issues surrounding the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.
Niles is a member of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, also known as “The River Group.” He is a member of the American Fisheries Society, Society for Freshwater Science, and the Ecological Society of America. He served as a faculty-in-residence at Susquehanna in from 2010-14. Since 2010, he has been the head coach and faculty advisor of the SU men's rugby team, and the assistant head coach and faculty advisor of the SU women's rugby team.