Steven Francoeur

A photo of Steven Francoeur


Biology; Environmental Science and Society (ENVI) Interdisciplinary Program

401F Science Complex


[email protected]


  • BS, Bowling Green State University, 1994
  • MS, Bowling Green State University, 1997
  • Ph.D., University of Alabama, 2001

Interests and Expertise

Virtually all submerged surfaces in lakes, rivers, and wetlands are covered with microbes. These surface-associated microbial communities are composed of algae, bacteria, fungi, and protists, and are known as periphyton. My research is mainly focused on the ecology of periphyton, with emphasis on the algal component. The two main themes of my research are: 1) understanding how biological, physical, and chemical factors affect the abundance, distribution, and activity of periphytic microbes, and 2) understanding microbial interactions within periphyton communities. Examples include quantifying the effects of light and nutrients on benthic algae in the Great Lakes, and investigating the influence of algal photosynthesis on bacteria and fungi within periphyton communities.


  • BIO 110 Introductory Biology I
  • BIO 310 Ecology
  • BIO 410 Limnology
  • BIO 456 Freshwater Algae
  • BIO 509 Statistics for Biologists
  • BIO 510 Limnology
  • BIO 556 Freshwater Algae
  • BIO 413 Wetland Ecosystems
  • BIO 513 Wetland Ecosystems
  • CSIE 150L Cyanobacteria in the Huron River

Publications and Presentations

  • Judd, K.E. and S.N. Francoeur. 2019. Short-term impacts of Phragmites management on nutrient budgets and plant communities in Great Lakes coastal freshwater marshes. Wetlands Ecol Mange 27: 55-74.
  • Halvorson, H., J. Barry, M. Lodato, R. Findlay, S.N. Francoeur, and K. Kuehn. 2019. Periphytic algae decouple fungal activity from leaf litter decomposition via negative priming. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365‐2435.13235.
  • Francoeur, S. N. 2017. Stimulation of Saginaw Bay charophyte photosynthesis by phosphorous. Journal of Great Lakes Research, 43:192-197.
  • Francoeur, S. N., K. A. P. Winslow, D. Miller, and S. D. Peacor. 2017. Mussel-derived stimulation of benthic filamentous algae: The importance of nutrients and spatial scale. Journal of Great Lakes Research,43(69-79)
  • Cooper, M. J., G. M. Costello, S. N. Francoeur, and G. A. Lamberti. 2016. Nitrogen limitation of algal biofilms in coastal wetlands of Lakes Michigan and Huron. Freshwater Science 35:25-40, DOI:10.1086/684646
  • Liess A., Rowe O., Francoeur S.N., Guo J., Lange K., Schröder A., Reichstein B., Lefébure R., Deininger A. Mathisen P., Faithfull C.L. Terrestrial runoff boosts phytoplankton in a Mediterranean coastal lagoon, but these effects do not propagate to higher trophic levels. Hydrobiologia 766:275-291, DOI: 10.1007/s10750-015-2461-4.
  • Rier, S.T., K. C. Kinek, S. E. Hay and S. N. Francoeur. 2016. Polyphosphate plays a vital role in the phosphorus dynamics of stream periphyton. Freshwater Science, 35:490-502 DOI: 10.1086/685859
  • Duke, S. D., K. E. Judd, and S. N. Francoeur. 2015. Effects of invasive Phragmites australis-induced environmental change on marsh carbon cycling. Wetlands 35:311-321.
  • Francoeur, S. N., R. W. Pillsbury, and R. L. Lowe. 2015. Benthic algal response to invasive mussels in Saginaw Bay: A comparison of historical and recent data. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 30:463-477, DOI: 10.1080/02705060.2014.1001452.
  • Liess A., C. Faithfull, B. Reichstein, J. Guo, G. Thomsson, W. Uszko, R. Pete, O. Rowe, and S. N. Francoeur. 2015. Increased turbidity through by terrestrial runoff may reduce net productivity of microbenthos – A Mediterranean coastal lagoon mesocosm experiment. Hydrobiologia, 753:205-218.
  • Kuehn, K. A, S. N. Francoeur, R. H. Findlay and R. K. Neely. 2014. Priming in the microbial landscape: Periphytic algal stimulation of litter-associated microbial decomposers. Ecology 95:749–762.
  • Francoeur, S. N., K. A. Peters-Winslow, D. Miller, C. A. Stow, Y-K. Cha, and S. D. Peacor. 2014. Spatial and temporal patterns of macroscopic benthic primary producers in Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40(Supplement):53–63.
  • Peters-Winslow, K. A., S. N. Francoeur, and S. D. Peacor. 2014. The influence of light and nutrients on benthic filamentous algal growth: A case study of Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40(Supplement):64–74.
  • Stow, C. A., J. Dyble, D. R. Kashian, T. H. Johengen, K. Peters-Winslow, S. D. Peacor, S. N. Francoeur, A. M. Burtner, D. Palladino, N. Morehead, D. Gossiaux, Y-K. Cha, S. S. Qian, and D. Miller. 2014. Phosphorus targets and eutrophication objectives in Saginaw Bay: A 35 year assessment. Journal of Great Lakes Research 40(Supplement):4–10.
  • Francoeur, S. N., S. T. Rier, and S. B. Whorley. 2013. Methods for sampling and analyzing wetland algae. Chapter 1 in Wetland Techniques, Vol. 2 (J. T. Anderson, W. C. Conway, and C. A. Davis, eds.). Springer, New York, NY.
  • Whorley, S. B., and S. N. Francoeur. 2013. Active fluorimetry improves nutrient-diffusing substrata bioassay. Freshwater Science 32:108-115.
  • Cook, L. J., and S. N. Francoeur. 2013. Effects of simulated short-term road salt exposure on lotic periphyton function. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 28:211–223.
  • Kuehn, K. A., B. M. Ohsowski, S. N. Francoeur, and R. K. Neely. 2011. Contributions of fungi to carbon flow and nutrient cycling from standing-dead Typha angustifolia leaf litter in a temperate freshwater marsh. Limnology and Oceanography 56:529–539.
  • Hill, W. R., B. J. Roberts, S. N. Francoeur, and S. E. Fanta. 2011. Resource synergy and the autotrophic:heterotrophic balance in experimental streams. Journal of Ecology 99:454–463.
  • West, B. M., P. Liggit, D. L. Clemans, and S. N. Francoeur. 2011. Antibiotic resistance, gene transfer, and water quality patterns observed in waterways near CAFO farms and wastewater treatment facilities. Water Air and Soil Pollution 217:473–489.
  • Liess, A., and S. N. Francoeur. 2011. Substratum-associated microbiota. Water Environment Research Literature Review 83:1704–1732.