Nelson, C. Riley


Email: 6xorktkryutFh{4kj{  (Email Form)


2119  LSB
Provo, UT 84602
(801) 422-1345


Curriculum Vitae

I am a Utahn and citizen of the world. My personal and academic life intertwines these two ideas. I love the land and people of Utah and the world. I have guided my education to serve all. I believe I serve best by getting humans out in the more "natural" world so its gifts and services to us are more apparent, appreciated, guarded, and enhanced.
 Teaching Interests
I believe firmly in a general education and devote considerable effort to teaching the wonders of biology at all scales in a framework of human interest and stewardship.
 Research Interests
I wander freely in researching all living things. I particularly focus on insects in aquatic and desert habitats. My research interests lie at the intersections of taxonomy, systematics, ecology, and evolution. All as humans are incorporated as stewards of the living world.
  • Mongolian Aquatic Insect Survey, 2005-Present
  • International Biogeography Society, 2000-Present
  • North American Dipterists' Society, 1988-Present
  • Pacific Coast Entomological Society, 1988-Present
  • Systematic Biology, 1988-Present
  • Society for Freshwater Science, 1984-Present
  • American Entomological Society, 1982-Present
  • Entomological Society of America, 1982-Present
 Honors and Awards
  • M. L. Bean Life Science Museum : Survey of the aquatic insects of the Lytle Ranch Preserve, Utah
  • Brigham Young University : General Education Professorship
  • Brigham Young University : Creative Works Award
  • Brigham Young University, August : Alcuin Fellowship for General Education
  • Yoraperla publication, North American Plecoptera Society : Rolling Stonefly Award
  • College of Natural Sciences, University of Texas : Texas Excellence Teaching Award
  • Systematics, California Academy of Sciences : Tilton Postdoctoral Fellowship
 Courses Taught

Summer 2018
  • BIO 100: Principles of Biology Section 001
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 015
Winter 2018
  • BIO 100: Principles of Biology Section 004
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 015
Fall 2017
  • BIO 100: Principles of Biology Section 020
  • BIO 494R: Mentored Research Section 13
  • BIO 699R: Master's Thesis Section 13
Summer 2017
  • BIO 441: Entomology Section 001

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Clement RA, Frandsen PB, McKnight T, Nelson CR. 2018. Fly family diversity shows evidence of livestock grazing pressure in Mongolia (Insecta: Diptera). Journal of Insect Conservation. 22(2). <website> doi:10.1007/s10841-018-0056-x

Fine L, Peterson T, Duerden MD, Nelson CR, Bennion JS. 2017. The Function of Field Study: Comparison of Limited and Full Field Experience Courses. Research in Outdoor Education. 14.

Nelson CR, Caires AM, Chandra S. 2016. Unique reproductive characteristics of Lake Tahoe’s Capnia lacustra (Plecoptera:Capniidae), a stonefly in decline. Freshwater Science. 35(4):1291-1299.  doi:10.1086/688485

Nelson CR, Baumann RW, Lee JJ. 2013. New morphological observations and phylogenetic placement of Capnia shasta (Plecoptera: Capniidae). Illiesia. 9(12):122-125. <website>

Judson SW, Nelson CR. 2012. A Guide to the Mongolian Stoneflies (Insecta: Plecoptera). Zootaxa. 3541:1-118. <website>

Scarbrough AG, Stevens LE, Nelson CR. 2012. The albibarbis-complex of Efferia Coquillett, 1910 from the Grand Canyon region, southwestern U.S.A., with three new species and new distribution records (Diptera: Asilidae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist. 88(1):58-86. <website> doi:

Gates TA, Horner JR, Hanna RR, Nelson CR. 2011. New unadorned hadrosaurine hadrosaurid (Dinosauria, Ornithopoda) from the Campanian of North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 31(4):798-811.

Judson SW, Nelson CR. 2010. Diversity, phenology, and elevational distribution of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera in American Fork Canyon, Utah. Western North American Naturalist. 70(4):526–540. <website>

Nelson CR, Baumann RW. 2009. Capnia shasta, a new species in the Californica Group from northwestern California (Plecoptera: Capniidae). Illiesia, International Journal of Stonefly Research. 5:188-194. <website>

Holston KC, Nelson CR. 2006. A Quantitative Evaluation of Intraspecific and Interspecific Variation in Eye Morphology for Efferia Coquillett (Diptera: Asilidae) Species. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 108:210-225.

Bybee SM, Taylor SD, Nelson CR, Whiting MF. 2004. A phylogeny of robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae) at the subfamilial level: molecular evidence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 30: 789-797.

Nelson CR. 2004. Systematics of the Capnia californica Species Group, including a morphological phylogeny, zoogeography, and description of Capnia kersti, new species (Plecoptera: Capniidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. America. 97:97-104.


Olsen AB, Clark SM, Nelson CR. 2004. Donaciinae of Utah (Insecta: Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The Journal of the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. 81:300.


Nelson CR, Bennion JS, Graham MA, Lim KS. 2016. Insects of the Mojave Desert: Lytle Ranch Preserve.

Book Chapter

Nelson CR. 2002. Insects. Pagel, M, editors. Encyclopedia of Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press.


Nelson CR, Crandall KA, Bodily G, Allen R, Woodfield BF. 2010. Virtual Biology Laboratories.


Clement R, Nelson CR, Otis M. 2012. 2012 Diptera BioBlitz. Baker, Nevada: National Park Service. <website>

Clement R, Nelson CR, Otis M. 2012. Great Basin National Park Diptera Bioblitz, 19-21 June 2012. Stephen Gaimari, editor. <website>

Nelson CR, Sandberg JB, Muranyi D, Kondratieff BC. 2012. Interesting winter emerging stoneflies (Plecoptera: Capniidae) from Southern California. Boris C. Kondratieff, editor. Fort Collins, Colorado: International Society of Plecopterologists.

Nelson CR. 2011. In the shadow of Mount Timpanogos, Utah. North American Dipterists Society Meetings 2011. Stephen Gaimari, editor. <website>


Nelson CR, Nelson CR. 2013. Get connected: Fireflies in your backyard. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. <website>

Nelson CR. 2006. Freshwater Aquatic Invertebrates Identification Guide: electronic keys to explore the diversity of animals in the freshwaters of western North America.


Bennion JS, Nelson CR, Cannon BQ, Hill BJ, Ricks M. Asking the right questions: using open-ended essay responses to evaluate student apprehension of threshold concepts. Annual Meeting. Montreal, Canada. 2017 .

Meek J, Birrrell J, Andrus J, Nelson CR. Efficacy of restoration efforts in the Provo River, Utah with respect to aquatic insect diversity and abundance. Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado. 2017 .

Birrell J, Meek J, Nelson CR. Loss of the giant stonefly Pteronarcys californica in the Provo River, Utah Insecta: Plecoptera. Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado. 2017 .

Fisher ML, Mower RC, Nelson CR. Spongillafly biology in Utah (Neuroptera: Sisyridae: Climacia californica). Annual Meeting. Denver, Colorado. 2017 .

Fisher ML, Nelson CR. Metabolomics, feeding behavior, and host association of western North American Cisthene. Annual Meeting. University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. 2017 .

Nelson CR. Tanner Entomological Club and comments about Dr. Tanner's contributions. Plaque Unveiling. Provo, Utah 84602. 2017 .

Nelson CR. The natural world is full of wonder for ideas that should be better known to all students. I build wonder in my students. Let's do it with local aquatic insects. USTA Conference. Provo, Utah 84602. 2017 .

Smith S, Birrrell J, Roan S, Fisher M, Pacheco Y, Clement R, Nelson CR. Insect life. Insects and students. Provo, Utah 84602. 2017 .

Nelson CR, Clement RA. Flies as bioindicators of grazing pressures in Mongolia. International Congress of Entomology and Entomological Society of America. Orlando, Florida. 2016 .

Nelson CR, Terry T. Syrphidae composition and seasonal abundance at mid-elevation site in Utah. International Congress of Entomology and Entomological Society of America. Orlando, Florida. 2016 .

Nelson CR, Fisher ML, Baum E, Robinson D, Widdison R. Freshwater Invertebrate Identification Guide (FIIG) 1st and 2nd ed. Annual Meeting, Dragonfly Society of the Americas. M. L. Bean Museum, Brigham Young University, Provo Utah. 2016 .

Nelson CR. Our life, restoration, a river runs through it. North American Plecoptera Symposium. Timp Lodge, Utah. 2016 .

Nelson CR, Fisher ML. Stonefly nymphs of western North America: Freshwater Invertebrate Identification Guide (FIIG). North American Plecoptera Symposium. Timp Lodge, Utah. 2016 .

Nelson CR, Birrell JH. The decline of the giant stonefly Pteronarcys californica in Utah. North American Plecoptera Symposium. Timp Lodge, Utah. 2016 .

Porter M, Farnsworth P, Nelson CR, Macedone J. Shedding light on scorpion fluorescence. College of Life Sciences Undergraduate Poster Competition. BYU, Provo, Utah. 2015 .

Nelson CR, Johnson RL, Anderson VJ. A comparison of robber fly (Diptera: Asilidae) communities found in native and non-native plant associations in the Great Basin of western North America. 8th International Congress of Dipterology. Potsdam, Germany. 2014 .

Caires AM, Chandrea S, Nelson CR, LaCroix T. The endemic deepwater stonefly in Lake Tahoe: unique life history changes in population density and distribution. Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting. Portland, Oregon. 2014 .

Nelson CR. Art and science as discovery tools. Edgemont 10th Ward Monday Group. home of Steve and Beth Morrison. 2014 .

Nelson CR. Change through time with agency. Goblin Valley Youth Conference. near Goblin Valley State Park, Utah. 2014 .

Nelson CR. Science and Change. Honors Symposium. Maeser Building, BYU, Provo, Utah. 2014 .

Nelson CR. A tail of two assassins, the best of times in Proctacanthus robber fly distributions on a longitudinal gradient in the age of wisdom (Diptera: Asilidae). , Austin, Texas. Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. Austin, Texas, USA. 2013 .

Nelson CR, Judson SW, Gelhaus JK. Plecoptera of Mongolia. Tenth North American Plecoptera Symposium. Sieg Center Field Station, Lamar, Pennsylvania. 2013 .

Nelson CR. The things we’ve done. Interdisciplinary studies of the Intermountain West Workshop. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 2013 .

Nelson CR, Bennion JS, Cannon BQ, Hill BJ. The Ties that Bind and Free: Connections in an Atomized World, Study Abroad Utah: Integrated Natural History of Utah. Interdisciplinary studies of the Intermountain West Workshop. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 2013 .

Nelson CR, Anderson R, Christensen R, Clement R, Hall M. Insects! Spiders! Scorpions!. Rewards Lecture. Provo, Utah. 2013 .

Nelson CR. Discovery and Science at the ends of the Earth. Brigham Young University Honors Seminar. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 2013 .

Johnson RL, Anderson VJ, Gardner ET, Nelson CR. Use of Utah juniper and sagebrush vs. cheatgrass and crested wheatgrass habitats by mini-predators – robberflies (Asilidae). Intermountain Native Plant Summit VII. Boise, Idaho. 2013 .

Clark SM, Nelson CR. Proposal to include Brigham Young University in the network. Southwest Collections of Arthropods Network. Phoenix, Arizona. 2012 .

Nelson CR. Desert flies are voluptuous. Diptera Bioblitz. Baker, Nevada. 2012 .

Nelson CR. Fly diversity: welcome to the Diptera Bioblitz at Great Basin National Park. Diptera Bioblitz. Baker, Nevada. 2012 .

Nelson CR. Preliminary results of the 2012 Diptera Bioblitz at Great Basin National Park. Diptera Bioblitz. Baker, Nevada. 2012 .

Nelson CR. Save the stonefly, save the world. Scientist in the Spotlight. Salt Lake City, Utah. 2012 .

McKnight TA, Nelson CR. Unraveling the phylogeny of little gray robber flies (Diptera: Asilidae: Asilinae). Meeting of the North American Dipterists Society. BYU Timp Lodge, Sundance, Utah. 2011 .

Widdison R, Nelson CR. Easy freshwater aquatic invertebrate identification for everyone: Entomologists to High School Biology Students. Meetings of the North American Dipterists Society. Mount Timpanogos, Utah. 2011 .

Nelson CR. Hot fly spots and other nature observation locations of Utah. Meetings of the North American Dipterists Society. Mount Timpanogos, Utah. 2011 .

Nelson CR. Mongolia: saving the world one steppe at a time, one stream at a time. BYU Kennedy Center Seminar Series. Provo, Utah. 2010 .

Judson SW, Nelson CR. Applied and predictive biogeography of Mongolian Plecoptera, with an investigation of the potential effects of climate change on distributions and richness. Annual Meeting NABS/ASLO. Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2010 .

Frandsen PB, Wertz JR, Nelson CR. Diptera family diversity in Mongolian riparian zones as it relates to habitat variables and grazing pressures. Annual Meeting NABS/ASLO. Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2010 .

Nelson CR, Judson SW. The identification and distribution of stoneflies of Mongolia: a model in international cooperation. Annual Meeting NABS/ASLO. Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2010 .

Nelson CR. On knowing: the times and seasons of Joseph Smith, Abraham Lincoln, and Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin Bicentennial Week at BYU, 1809-2009. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. 2009 .

Nelson CR. The Brackenridge Field Laboratory (BFL) in the lives and education of undergraduate students in Texas. 40th Anniversary of BFL and meeting of the University of Texas, College of Natural Sciences Foundation Advisory Council. Austin, Texas. 2007 .

Nelson CR. Te huru rau o te mau manumanu ivi-ore i nia i te fenua Maupiti i Polinesia Farani, o te moana Patitifa Apato'a (Macroinvertebrate species diversity studies on Maupiti, French Polynesia, South Pacific). French Polynesia Berkeley Field Station. 2004 .

Guptill J, Bingham A, Clark SM, Baumann RW, Nelson CR. Macroinvertebrates of Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Utah Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Annual Meeting. Provo, Utah. 2004 .

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