Dr. Renée Mullen

Renee Mullen

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Phone: 309-467-6460
Email: rmullen@eureka.edu


PhD, Microbial Ecology, University of Colorado, 1995

Research Interests

My research interests lie in better understanding human impacts to ecological systems and how human behavior can change to support the biodiversity and systems that allow all life to thrive on this planet. The interests of my Environmental Studies and Biology students as well as the local community drive the questions we together investigate – such "How could recycling efforts in the town of Eureka be more effective? and "Do reconstructed wetlands — aimed at diverting agricultural run-off — provide suitable habitat for amphibians?"

Teaching Interests

I love teaching Environmental Studies and Biology. My primary goal is to have students develop the joy of really learning — and as a result experience and understand the world around them more fully. I enjoy getting to know the students in my classes, experimenting with different teaching methods that might work for them individually and as a class, and assessing how well the methods are working to help students learn. Primarily I have found that if students play an active role in what they’re learning and how they’re learning, the learning "sticks" – sometimes even changing their outlooks and lives. To see a student open up, embrace learning, and be able to think more deeply about their world and their decisions — well, for me as a teacher, there is nothing better!

Professional Activity


Peer-reviewed Articles:

Sherman, R., Mullen, R., Li, H., Fang, Z., and Wang, Yi. 2008. Spatial patterns of plant diversity and communities in Alpine Ecosystems of the Hengduan Mountains, Northwest Yunnan, China. Journal of Plant Ecology 1: 117-136

Sherman, R., Mullen, R., Li, H., Fang, Z., and Wang, Yi. 2007. Alpine ecosystems of Northwest Yunnan, China: an initial assessment for conservation. Journal of Mountain Science 4(3) 181-192.

Buntaine, M.T., Mullen, R.B., and Lassoie, J.P. 2007. Human use and conservation planning in alpine areas of Northwestern Yunnan. Environment, Development, and Sustainability 9(3): 305-324.

Valutis, L. and Mullen, R. 2000 The Nature Conservancy’s approach to prioritizing conservation action. Environmental Science and Policy 3: 341-346.

Mullen, R. B., Schmidt, S. K., Jaeger, C. H. III. 1998. Nitrogen uptake during snowmelt by the snow buttercup, Ranunculus adoneus. Arctic and Alpine Research 30: 121-125

Schadt, C.W., Mullen, R.B., Schmidt, S.K. 1996. Isolation and phylogenetic identification of a dark-septate fungus associated with the alpine plant Ranunculus adoneus. New Phytologist 150 (3): 747-755.

Mullen, R. B. and Schmidt, S. K. (1993). Mycorrhizal infection, phosphorus uptake, and phenology in Ranunculus adoneus: implications for the functioning of mycorrhizae in alpine systems. Oecologia 94:229-234

Book Chapters:

Moseley, R.K., and Mullen, R.B. (in press) The Nature Conservancy in Shangrila: Transnational conservation and its critiques. In Yeh, E., and Coggins, C. (eds.), Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landscapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.

Moseley, R.K., Tam, C., Mullen, R., Long Y.C., Ma J.Z. 2004. A conservation project management process applied to mountain protected area design and management in Yunnan, China. Pages 227-234 in Harmon, D., and Worboys, G. (editors) Managing Mountain Protected Areas: Challenges and Responses for the 21st Century. Andromeda Editrice, Colledara, Italy.

Monson, R., Bowman, W. D., Mullen, R. B. 2001. Alpine Plant Nutrient Relations. 2001. In Bowman, W.D. and. Seastedt, T.R. (eds.) Structure and Function of an Alpine Ecosystem. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Book Review:

Mullen, R. B. 2009. Putting Passion to Work. [Review of the book, Saving the Earth as a Career: Advice on Becoming a Conservation Professional. 2007. By Hunter, M. L., Lindenmayer, D. B. and Calhoun, A. J. K.] Conservation Biology 23(3): 781-782.


Ferguson W., Klein B., Mullen R.B. 2013. Students as Catalysts for Change: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers to Recycling Through Academic-Community Partnerships. Accepted for presentation at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). October 2013

Ferguson, W., Morris, S., McConnaughay, K., Mullen, R. 2010. The Effect of Garlic Mustard Litter on the Germination of Rudbeckia hirta in Two Different Soil Types. Poster presented at Bradley University at the conclusion of the Summer 2010 National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.

Mullen R.B. January 2008. Science Internship Opportunities at The Nature Conservancy. Invited Speaker, Nicholas School for the Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC. Mullen R.B. November 2006. The Nature Conservancy and Ecosystem Services. The Nature Conservancy Science in Conservation Practice Conference. Tucson, AZ.

Mullen R.B. April 2006. Invited Speaker, Seminar: Scientific Challenges of Conservation Biology in Practice. Cornell University. Ithaca, NY

Mullen R.B. June 2003. Developing Multi-scale strategies in China. Invited speaker, TNC Science Meeting. Duluth, MN.

Mullen R.B. April 2003. Stakeholder inclusion in biodiversity priority setting processes as a strategy for conservation: Lessons from Southern Colorado Rockies Ecoregion. Invited speaker. Meeting of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the State Environmental Protection Administration. Beijing, China.

Mullen R.B 2001. The Nature Conservancy’s ecoregional planning: applications for land use planners. Invited speaker, American Planning Association. New Orleans, Louisiana. March 2001.

Valutis L., Mullen R., Groves C. 2000. How much is enough? The Nature Conservancy’s approach to large scale conservation planning. Society of Conservation Biology annual meeting, 2000, Missoula, MT

Mullen RB and Schmidt SK. 1995. Nitrogen uptake in Ranunculus adoneus during early season cold soils; a possible role for dark septate endophytes. 80th annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Snowbird, UT


2012-2013 Helen Cleaver Distinguished Teaching Award

President’s Fund Development Grant, Eureka College, Spring 2013.

National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship (EPA) awarded 1996

Graduate Fellowship in Biology (University of Colorado) 1994

Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award (University of Colorado) 1992

University Fellowship, University of Colorado 1990


My husband Bob and I enjoy exploring mountains and climbing rocks, growing much of our own food, and hanging out with our friends and our three cats.