Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Ph.D.

Kendra Spence Cheruvelil

Associate Professor

334 Natural Resources

517-353-9528 (LB); 517-432-5237 (FW)

Area of Expertise: Inland lake ecology and management; landscape limnology

Dr. Cheruvelil’s Website



I have been at Michigan State University since 2006. My position is a joint appointment between the Lyman Briggs College (the residential college for the sciences) and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. Because I enjoy both teaching/ learning and the outdoors immensely, this position is perfect for me. My scholarly work includes both limnological research and the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning , and I am also actively engaged with the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program, the Center for Water Science, and the Environmental Science and Policy Program on campus.

I am a landscape limnologist who works collaboratively to examine the roles that disturbance (human and natural), spatial scale, and heterogeneity have on lake biology and chemistry. I address questions that advance scientific understanding and are directly applicable to aquatic ecosystem management and conservation. In addition, my research explicitly includes the economic and social factors that both impact lakes and drive their management and conservation. My main areas of interest include examining the role of a) aquatic plants (native and alien) and their management in lake foodwebs and b) the landscape in structuring lake biology and chemistry. My students, collaborators, and I use a variety of approaches to conduct our research, such as lake field surveys, mesocosm experiments, and statistical modeling (e.g. multi-level modeling).

Research Interests

Courses Taught

Biology I: Introductory Organismal Biology, LB144
Tropical Biodiversity & Conservation, LB492
Vaccines: The Science, History, Sociology & Politics of Immunity, LB492
Landscape Ecology, FW840
Entering Mentoring, FW893
Limnology, FW472

Affiliated Pages

Landscape Limnology Research Group
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program
Center for Water Science
Environmental Science and Policy Program

Selected Publications

Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno, M.T. Bremigan, and K.E. Webster. 2013. The multi-scaled drivers of ecosystem state: Quantifying the importance of the regional spatial scale. Ecological Applications 23:1603-1618.

Kramer, D.B., T. Zhang, K.S. Cheruvelil, A. Ligmann-Zielinska, P.A. Soranno. 2013. A multi-objective, return on investment analysis for freshwater conservation planning. Ecosystems 16(5): 823-837.

Zhang, T., P.A. Soranno , K.S. Cheruvelil, Kramer, D.B., Ligmann-Zielinska, A. and M.T. Bremigan. 2012. Evaluating the effects of upstream lakes and wetlands on lake phosphorus concentrations using a spatially-explicit model. Landscape Ecology 27(7): 1015-1030.

Cheruvelil, K.S.  and X. Ye. 2012. Do college introductory biology courses increase student ecological literacy? Journal of College Science Teaching 42(2): 26-32.

Fergus, C.E., P.A. Soranno, K.S. Cheruvelil, and M.T. Bremigan. 2011. Multi-scale landscape and wetland drivers of lake total phosphorus and water color.Limnology & Oceanography 56(6): 2127-2146.

Martin, S.L., P.A. Soranno, M.T. Bremigan, K.S. Cheruvelil. 2011. Comparing hydrogeomorphic approaches to lake classification. Environmental Management.48: 957-974

Booker, J. and K.S. Cheruvelil. 2011. Are zooplankton food resources poorer in the vegetated littoral zone of shallow lakes? Freshwater Biology. Doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02669.x.

Wagner, T., K.S. Cheruvelil, P.A. Soranno, and K.E. Webster. 2011. Modeling regional variation in the parameters of the total phosphorus-chlorophyll relationship using a hierarchical Bayesian approach. Freshwater Biology. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2427.2011.02621.x.

Alwin, T.G., M. Fox and K.S. Cheruvelil. 2010. Sampling to determine lake-wide watermilfoil weevil (Euhrychiopsis lecontei) density: Determining the appropriate number and size of quadrat. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 48(2): 96-101.

Soranno, P.A., K.S. Cheruvelil, K.E. WebsterM.T. Bremigan, T. Wagner and C. Stow. 2010. Using landscape limnology to classify freshwater ecosystems for multi-ecosystem management and conservation. BioScience 60(6): 440-454.

Smith, J.J. and K.S. Cheruvelil. 2009. Using Inquiry and Tree-Thinking to “March Through the Animal Phyla”: Teaching Introductory Comparative Biology in an Evolutionary Context. Evolution Education and Outreach 2: 429-444. 

Soranno, P.A., K.E. Webster, K.S. Cheruvelil and M.T. Bremingan.2009. The lake landscape-context framework: linking aquatic connections, terrestrial features and human effects at multiple spatial scales. Verh. Internat. Verein. Limnol. August 2007.

Cheruvelil, K.S. and P.A. Soranno. 2008. Relationships between lake macrophyte cover and lake and landscape features. Aquatic Botany 88(3): 219-227.

Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno, M.T. Bremigan, T. Wagner and S.L. Martin.2008. Grouping lakes for water quality assessment and monitoring: The roles of regionalization and spatial scale. Environmental Management 41(3): 425-440.

Soranno, P.A., K.S. Cheruvelil, R.J. Stevenson, S. Rollins, S.W. Holden, and S. Heaton. 2008. A framework for developing ecosystem-specific nutrient criteria: Integrating biological thresholds with predictive modeling. Limnology and Oceanography 53(2): 773-787.

Wagner, T., P.A. Soranno, K.S. Cheruvelil, W.H. Renwick, K.E. Webster, P.Vaux, and R.J.F. Abbitt. 2008. Quantifying sample biases of inland lake sampling programs in relation to lake surface area and land use/cover. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 141(1): 131-147.

Webster, K.E., P.A. Soranno, K.S. Cheruvelil, M.T. Bremigan, J.A. Downing, P. Vaux, T. Asplund, L.C. Bacon, J. Connor. 2008. An empirical evaluation of the nutrient color paradigm for lakes. Limnology and Oceanography 53(3): 1137-1148.

Wagner, T., Bremigan, M. T., Spence Cheruvelil, K., Soranno, P. A., Nate, N. N., and Breck, J. E. 2007. A multilevel modeling approach to assessing regional and local landscape features for lake classification and assessment of fish growth rates. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 130(3): 437-454.

Nelson, S.A.C., K.S. Cheruvelil and P.A. Soranno. 2006. Satellite remote sensing of freshwater macrophytes and the influence of water clarity. Aquatic Botany. 85(4): 289-298.

Cheruvelil, K.S., N.A. Nate, P.A. Soranno and M.T. Bremigan. 2005. Lack of a unimodal relationship between fish growth and macrophyte cover in 45 north temperate lakes. Archiv fur Hydrobiologie. 164: 193-215.

Bremigan, M.T., S.M. Hanson P.A. Soranno, K.S. Cheruvelil, and R.D. Valley. 2005. Aquatic vegetation, largemouth bass and water quality responses to low-dose fluridone two years post treatment. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. 43: 65-75.

Nelson, S.A.C., P.A. Soranno, K.S. Cheruvelil, S. Batzli and D. Skole. 2003. Regional assessment of lake water clarity using satellite remote sensing. Journal of Limnology 62(Suppl. 1): 27-32.

Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno, J.D. Madsen and M.J. Roberson. 2002. Plant architecture and epiphytic macroinvertebrate communities: the role of an exotic dissected macrophyte. Journal of the North American Benthological Association 21(2): 261-277.

Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno and J.D. Madsen. 2001. Epiphytic macroinvertebrates along a gradient of Eurasian watermilfoil cover. Journal of Aquatic Plant Management 39: 67-72.

Cheruvelil, K.S., P.A. Soranno and R.D. Serbin. 2000. Macroinvertebrates associated with submerged macrophytes: Sample size and power to detect effects. Hydrobiologia 441: 133-139.