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Steven Wagner

R. Steven Wagner, Professor

Director, CWU Craft Brewing Program

Professor of Biological Sciences and Primate Behavior

Science Building, Room 236K

400 E. University Way

Ellensburg, WA 98926-7537

(509) 899-1378


**On Professional Leave From CWU 2018-2019**

CWU Craft Brewing Program (

CWU Primate Behavior and Ecology Program (


Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. Genetics Ph.D. 2001

Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA Chemistry/Biology BS/BS 1991


2014 – Present: Director of the Craft Brewing Program, Central Washington University.

2013 – Present: Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University.

2013 – 2015: President, Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology. Olympia, Washington.

2012 – 2013: Director of Primate Behavior and Ecology, MS & BS Programs, Central Washington University.

2007 – 2013: Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University.

2008 – 2009: Sabbatical, Biodiversity/demography of Bornean amphibians, and Orangutan social behavior.

2001 – 2007: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University.

2000 – 2001: Interim Genetics Position, Central Washington University.

1994 – 2000: Graduate Research Assistant, Oregon State University and USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center.

1991 –1994: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Oregon State University.


Program Affiliations

Collaborator: CWU MOSAIC-GEAR-UP. Director of Camp Northwest Nature and Coordinator of GEAR-UP Fellows. (

Faculty Member: Primate Behavior and Ecology Program, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

PI: CWU I-90 Snoqualmie Pass monitoring for low mobility species-amphibians.

Co-Director: CWU Biodiversity and Field Research Program, Huangshan China (2004–present)

Co-PI: NSF Funded Primate Research on Behavior and Genetics at the Valley of the Wild Monkeys, Huangshan Scenic District, China: International Research Opportunities for CWU Students.

Co-PI: NSF funded Yakima WATERs (Watershed Activities to Enhance Research in Schools) Program (  (

Advisory Board: Global Primate Network Nepal (

Member: Society for Northwestern Vertebrate Biology

Faculty and Advisor of CWU Craft Beer Trade Certificate Program (2009-present).


Research Focus


Areas of Interest:  amphibian decline; genetics; herpetology; conservation biology, road ecology, primate behavior, molecular techniques to investigate species and genetic diversity

My laboratory integrates both field and laboratory work to address regional and international conservation issues. We employ a wide variety of genetic techniques, demographic, toxicological, and behavioral studies to address ecological and conservation questions.

Demography and landscape genetics

Disease and pollutant interactions

Road ecology of the Snoqualmie Pass region

Long-term population dynamics and population viability

Behavior, social interactions, and impact of humans

Amphibian biodiversity

Genetic diversity of threatened species

Yeast Genomics and molecular detection of brewing contaminants


Courses Taught

BIOL 321 Genetics
BIOL 101 General Biology
BIOL 110 Basic Biology
BIOL 302 Human Ecology
BIOL 317 Principles of Biochemistry and Brewing
BIOL 311 Brewing Microbiology
BIOL 470 Evolution
BIOL 451 Herpetology
BIOL 499 Senior Seminar
BIOL 425 Molecular Biotechnology
BIOL 466 Conservation Biology
BIOL 493 Field Practicum (Field Techniques)
BIOL 493 Biodiversity, Chinese Herpetology, International Field Research
BIOL 520 Developments in Cellular Biology
UNIV 101 Undergraduate Colloquium
ENST 301/302 Environmental Studies
SHP  401 Science Honors Thesis Colloquium
BIOL 405, Current Topics: Amphibian Systematics and Ecology
STEP 101/102 NSF Science Talent Expansion Program
SCED 505 Integrating science into the GK-12 Curriculum



(CWU students are underlined)


Sun, B., R.S. Wagner, D. Xia, J. Li. (In review) Non-invasive saliva sampling to assess the oral microbiota of free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). American Journal of Primatology.

Xu, Y., J. Li, J. Lorenz, R.S. Wagner, Y. Zhu, and B. Sun. (In review) Development of a microsatellite marker set for paternity assignment of captive Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) from Anhui province, China. Primates.

Pelletier, T., C. Crisafulli, R.S. Wagner, A.J. Zellmer, Carstens, B., (2015) Historical species distributions predict species limits in western plethodon salamanders. Systematic Biology (In press)

Bauer, B.,  L. K. Sheeran, M.D. Matheson, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2014) Choice of infant bridging and female affiliation partners by male Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). Anthrozoos 35:222-30.

Pritchard, A.J., L.K. Sheeran, K.I. Gabriel, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2014) Behaviors that predict personality components in adult free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). Current Zoology, 60:362-372. (2013 Impact Factor 1.78).

Usui, Rie, L.K. Sheeran, J.H. Li, L. Sun, X. Wang, A.J. Pritchard, A.S. DuVall-Lash, and R. S. Wagner. (2014) Park Ranger’s behaviors and their effects on tourists and Tibetan macaques at Mt. Huangshan, China. Animals, 4:546-561.

Self, S.; L.K. Sheeran, M.D. Matheson, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2013) Tourist density and infant directed aggression in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Anthrozoos, 26:435-444. (2011 Journal Impact Factor 0.86).

Simons, N.D., R.S. Wagner, and J. Lorenz. (2013) Genetic diversity of North American captive-born Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Ecology and Evolution, 3:80-88. (2013 Impact Factor 1.658).

Brady, S.F., R.S. Wagner, D.J. Selski, and J.E. Johnson. Virulence of three Saprolegnia species on amphibian embryos. Northwestern Naturalist (in revision).

Simons, N.D., J.G. Lorenz, L.K. Sheeran, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2012) Noninvasive saliva collection for DNA analyses from free-ranging Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) in Huangshan, China. American Journal of Primatology, 11:1064-1070 (2013 Impact Factor 2.221).   

Ault, K.K., J.E. Johnson, H.C. Pinkart, and R.S. Wagner. (2012) A genetic comparison of water molds from embryos of three amphibian species, Rana cascadae, Bufo boreas and Pseudacris regilla. Diseases of Aquatic Organism, 99: 127-137. (2012 Journal Impact Factor 1.734).

Gaulke, C., J.T Irwin, and R.S. Wagner. (2011) Prevalence and distribution of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis at montane sites in Central Washington USA. Herpetological Review, 42:209-211.

Gaulke, C., R.S. Wagner, J. Johnson, and J.T Irwin. (2010) Northern Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens) infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in the amphibian trade. Herpetological Review, 41:322-323.

King, J.E., and R.S. Wagner.  (2010) Toxic effects of the herbicide Roundup® Regular on Pacific Northwestern Amphibian. Northwestern Naturalist, 91:318-324.

Ruesto, L.A., L.K. Sheeran, M.D. Matheson, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2010) Tourist behavior and decibel levels correlate with threat frequency in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana) at Mt. Huangshan, China. Primate Conservation, 25.

Sheeran, L.K., M.D. Matheson, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2010) A preliminary analysis of aging and potential social partners in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). In: Collected Readings in Biological Anthropology in Honor of Professor LS Penrose and Dr. Sahrah B. Holt, Sudip Datta Banak (ed.). Unas Letras Industria Editorial, Merida, Yucata, Pp. 349-358.

McCarthy M.S., M.D. Matheson, J.D. Lester, L.K. Sheeran, J.H. Li and R.S. Wagner (2009) Sequences of Tibetan macaque (Macaca thibetana) and tourist behaviors at Mt. Huangshan, China. Primate Conservation, 24:145-151.

Wang B., J. Jiang, F. Xie, X. Chen, A. Dubois, G. Liang and R.S. Wagner. (2009) Molecular Phylogeny and Genetic Identification of Populations of Two Species of Feirana Frogs (Amphibia: Anura, Ranidae, Dicroglossinae, Paini) Endemic to China. Zoological Science, 26:500–509.

Hayes, M.P., C.J. Rombough, G.E. Padgett-Flohr, L.A. Hallock, J.E. Johnson, R.S. Wagner, and J. D. Engler. (2009) Amphibian chytridiomycosis in the Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa) in Washington State, USA. Northwestern Naturalist, 90:148-151

Chestnut, T., J.E. Johnson, and R.S. Wagner. (2008) Results of amphibian chytrid, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, sampling in Denali National Park, Alaska, USA. Herpetological Review, 39:202-204.

Johnson, J. E., S.F. Belmont, and R.S. Wagner. (2008) DNA barcoding as a means to identify organisms associated with amphibian eggs. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 3:116-127.

Cauble, K. and R.S. Wagner. (2005) Sub-lethal effects of the herbicide glyphosate on amphibian metamorphosis and development. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 75(3): 429-435. (2013 Impact Factor 1.216).

Buchan, A., L. Sun, and R.S. Wagner. (2005) Using alpha-numeric fluorescent tags for individual identification of amphibians.  Herpetological Review, 36: 43-44.

Charbonneau, J., A. Buchan, T. Englund, and R.S. Wagner. (2005) Project Croak! Because any kid can catch a frog….. In: Enhancing the technological proficiencies of educators through community-based research (Jim DePaepe, Editor).  Includes CD/DVD. Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA.

Wagner, R.S., T. Englund, J. Charbonneau, and A. Buchan. (2005) Project CROAK!-Technology and curriculum integration through field-based studies of amphibians. Proceedings of the Society for Information Technology & Teachers Annual Meeting: 2867-2874.

Miller, M.*, S. Haig, and R.S. Wagner*. (2006) Phylogeography and spatial genetic structure of the Southern torrent salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus): implications for conservation and management. Journal of Heredity, 97(6): 561-570. *co-primary authors.

Matheson, M.D., L.K. Sheeran, J.H. Li, and R.S. Wagner. (2006) Tourist impact on Tibetan macaques. Anthrozoos, 19(2):159-167.

Wagner, R.S., M. Miller, and S. Haig. (2006) Phylogeography and genetic identification of newly-discovered populations of torrent salamanders (Rhyacotriton cascadae and R. variegatus) in the Central Cascades (USA). Herpetologica, 62: 63-70.

Wagner, R.S. (2005) Taxonomy and Genetic Diversity.  In: Northwestern Amphibians (L. Jones, W. Leonard, and D. Olson eds). Seattle Audobon Society, Seattle WA.

Wagner, R.S., C. Crisafulli, M. Miller and S.M. Haig. (2005) Geographic variation, genetic structure and conservation unit designation in the Larch mountain salamander (Plethodon larselli). Canadian Journal of Zoology, 83: 1-12.

Miller, M.* , S.M. Haig, and R.S. Wagner*. (2005) Conflicting patterns of genetic structure produced by nuclear and mitochondrial markers in the Oregon slender salamander (Batrachoseps wrighti): implications for conservation efforts and species management. Conservation Genetics, 6:275-287.  (*co-primary authors)

Ripplinger, J., and R.S. Wagner. (2004)  Phylogeography of northern populations of the Pacific Chorus Frog, Pseudacris regilla. Northwestern Naturalist, 85:118-125.  

Haig, S.M., and R.S. Wagner. (2001) Genetic considerations for introduced and augmented populations. In: Wildlife Habitats and Species Associations in Oregon and Washington—Building a Common Understanding for Management (T. O’Neil, D. Johnson, eds). Oregon State University Press, Corvallis OR.

Haig, S.M., R.S. Wagner, E.D. Forsman, and T.D. Mullins. (2001) Geographic variation and genetic structure in Spotted Owls.  Conservation Genetics, 2(1): 25-40.

James, P., R.S. Wagner, K. Ernest, D. Beck, and J. Irwin. (2012) Monitoring fish and low-mobility vertebrates along a major mountain highway:  a snapshot before construction of I-90 wildlife crossing structures. Technical Paper. The International Conference of Ecology and Transportation.


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