facebook icon twitter icon youtube icon

Ryan Rehmeier

Department Chair of Biology & Professor of Biology


I’ve been interested in biology for as long as I can remember.  All things natural intrigued me when I was growing up, from the complex relationships between organisms and their environment to the intricate workings of the human body.

I attended Trinity University in Texas for my undergraduate degree in biology and then went to Kansas State University for my M.S. and Ph.D. in biology.  I selected K-State because of the amazing tallgrass prairie preserve they had there for my research in mammalian ecology.  I worked with and learned from many outstanding scientists, and I loved the projects I worked on while there.

I came to Simpson College in 2006.  My teaching experience here includes courses in Ecology, Environmental Issues, Mammalogy, Animal Behavior, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Principles of Biology, Primate Anatomy, and Capstone Seminar in Environmental Science.  I’ve utilized both face-to-face and online models for these teaching experiences.

I regularly lead international courses during our May Term to give students hands-on experience with biology.  Recent destinations for my courses include Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, Belize, and Madagascar.  I’m looking forward to May 2013, when I’ll lead a course to Cuba to study the interplay among sustainable agriculture, natural resources, politics, economics, and social issues in this fascinating country.

My research interests range from the behavioral ecology of small mammals to the distribution of mammals across Iowa to the efficacy of using microalgae as a feedstock for lipids used to make biodiesel.  I’m always interested in working with curious, motivated, and enthusiastic research students, so be sure to contact me if you want to explore ecological concepts with hands-on research methods.

I enjoy serving as a faculty advisor to outstanding student groups at Simpson, like the Environmental Awareness Club and the Simpson Triathlon Club.

I think it is important to maintain a work-play balance in life, so I try to make time to hang out with my family, travel, attend my students’ events on campus, and train for endurance sports such as marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons.


  • Behavioral Ecology 
  • Mammalian Ecology and Systematics 
  • Vertebrate Natural History 
  • Sustainability Science


  • Distinguished Teaching Award, 2013 
  • Distinguished Junior Faculty Award, 2011
  • Trio Student Services Faculty of the Year Award, 2011


  • Ph.D. in Biology, Kansas State University, 2005
  • M.S. in Biology, Kansas State University, 2000
  • B.S. in Biology, Trinity University (Texas), 1997


  • Kaufman, D.W., G. A. Kaufman, A.W. Reed, D.M. Kaufman, and R.L. Rehmeier. 2020. Populations of small mammals, tallgrass prairie and prescribed fire: a fire-reversal experiment. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 123:1-29. 
  • Kaufman, D.W., G. A. Kaufman, D.M. Kaufman, A.W. Reed, and R.L. Rehmeier. 2020. Communities of small mammals, tallgrass prairie and prescribed fire: a fire-reversal experiment. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 123:31-49. 
  • Dodds, W.K., K.C. Wilson, R.L. Rehmeier, G.L. Knight, S. Wiggam, J.A. Falke, H.J. Dalgleish, K.N. Bertrand. 2008. Benefits of ecosystem goods and services associated with restored lands compared to native lands.  BioScience 58:837-845.  
  • Rehmeier, R.L., G.A. Kaufman, and D.W. Kaufman. 2006. An automatic activity-monitoring system for small mammals under natural conditions. Journal of Mammalogy 87:628-634.
  • Rehmeier, R.L., G.A. Kaufman, D.W. Kaufman, and B.R. McMillan. 2005. Long-term study of abundance of the hispid cotton rat in native tallgrass prairie.  Journal of Mammalogy 86:670-676.
  • Rehmeier, R.L., G.A. Kaufman, and D.W. Kaufman. 2004. Long-distance movements of the deer mouse in tallgrass prairie.  Journal of Mammalogy 85:562-568