Susan Pagano Headshot

Susan Pagano

Associate Professor
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
College of Science

585-475-7343
Office Location
Office Mailing Address
10-A190

Susan Pagano

Associate Professor
Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences
College of Science

Education

BS, State University College at Oswego; MS, State University College at Brockport; Ph.D., University of Rhode Island

Bio

Dr. Susan Smith Pagano is an Associate Professor of Biology at Rochester Institute for Technology. She teaches in the Biology and Environmental Science programs in the School of Life Sciences and has developed elective courses in Comparative Animal Physiology, Ornithology, and Animal Nutrition. Dr. Pagano is a physiological ecologist who studies the dynamic relationships between fuel utilization, physiological condition and diet quality in migrating songbirds at stopover sites, with expertise in the application of plasma metabolite profiling in birds as a field technique. Her research initiatives also include nutritional ecology with a focus on the nutritional and biochemical differences among native and invasive wild fruits, and physiological implications for birds that consume them. Recent work has focused on an assessment of refueling physiology and diet in Catharus thrushes migrating through the Braddock Bay area, and outcomes of the work have been used to inform habitat management and conservation. She is a Teacher-Scholar and has mentored over 40 undergraduate research students at RIT, in addition to several graduate students, many of whom are female and/or from traditionally under-represented groups in STEM fields. She actively publishes with students and has involved them in over 25 different conferences and symposia. In addition to her work at RIT, Dr. Pagano is a Research Associate affiliated with the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory and is Vice-President of the Board of Directors. She is actively involved in professional service and serves on two journal Editorial Boards and is an elected Fellow of the American Ornithological Society.

585-475-7343

Areas of Expertise

Currently Teaching

ENVS-790
1 - 4 Credits
The thesis option will be available to environmental science graduate students only with prior written approval of program faculty. Students will submit a proposal to a faculty member who agrees to serve as the student's thesis committee chair. The proposal will describe the basic research question to be investigated and the experimental protocols to be employed. Proposals will be reviewed by the program faculty who will give permission to register for thesis credit. This course may be taken several times over the course of a student's graduate program, for variable credits. A written thesis and oral defense are required at the completion of the thesis research.
BIOL-313
4 Credits
This course is a comparative study of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It covers a broad range of organisms studied from the standpoint of evolution of functional systems, the mechanisms and morphological variations that exist to deal with functional problems posed by the environment, and the special mechanisms used to cope with extreme environments.
ENVS-798
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in the Environmental Science graduate program.
BIOL-212
3 Credits
This course provides a synthesis of the ecological, behavioral, anatomical, and physiological characteristics of vertebrates in an evolutionary context.
BIOL-295
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research involving laboratory work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in their first three years of study.
BIOL-298
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in their first three years of study.
BIOL-301
1 - 4 Credits
This course allows students to assist in a class or laboratory for which they have previously earned credit. The student will assist the instructor in the operation of the course. Assistance by the student may include fielding questions, helping in workshops, and assisting in review sessions. In the case of labs, students may also be asked to help with supervising safety practices, waste manifestation, and instrumentation.
BIOL-495
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed student project or research involving laboratory or field work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in their final two years of study.
BIOL-498
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in their final two years of study.
ENVS-795
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a graduate level, faculty-directed, student project or research involving laboratory or field work, computer modeling, or theoretical calculations that could be considered of an original nature. The level of study is appropriate for students in Environmental Science graduate program.
ENVS-298
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum. The level of study is appropriate for student in their first three years of study.
BIOL-122
4 Credits
This course serves as an introduction to the diversification of life, plant anatomy and physiology, animal anatomy and physiology, and ecology. Topics include a survey of the taxonomic diversity of the major groups of living organisms, the anatomical and physiological adaptations of both plants and animals, and the principles of the ecological relationships among organisms and environments. Laboratory exercises are designed to illustrate concepts of taxonomy, anatomical & physiological adaptation, and ecological relationships. Labs are also designed to help the development of laboratory skills and techniques for experiments with live organisms, and improve the ability to make, record and interpret observations.
BIOL-798
1 - 4 Credits
This course is a faculty-directed, graduate level tutorial of appropriate topics that are not part of the formal curriculum.
BIOL-599
3 Credits
This course is intended for students with significant research experience to work closely with their faculty mentors to prepare a manuscript for publication or write a proposal for external funding. Students will devote significant time to writing, revision and peer review. A submission-quality manuscript or proposal is expected at the end of the semester.

Featured Work

Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Williams, Heather M., Katharina Dittmar, and Susan Smith Pagano. "A parasite reduction conservation intervention does not improve fledging success or most condition metrics for Purple Martins." Condor: Ornithological Applications 122. (2020): 1-14. Print.
Seewagen, Chad L., Eric J. Slayton, and Susan Smith Pagano. "Physiological indicators of habitat quality for a migratory songbird breeding in forest invaded by the alien shrub, Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)." Conservation Physiology 8. (2020): 1-12. Web.
Cullen, Anthony C., et al. "All in the timing: how fruit nutritional content influences the timing of fruit consumption of two invasive shrubs." Plant Ecology 221. (2020): 951-963. Print.
Ross, Annemarie D., et al. "Assessment of Climate Science Knowledge and Perceptions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students." Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities 22. 1 (2019): article 8. Web.
Hoh, Christina, Susan Smith Pagano, and Christopher J. Norment. "Spatial Variation in White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) Refueling Rate Near a Migratory Barrier." Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130. (2018): 891-901. Print.
Win, Shwe Sin, et al. "Anaerobic Digestion of Black Solider Fly Larvae (BSFL) Biomass as Part of an Integrated Biorefinery." Renewable Energy 127. (2018): 705-712. Print.
Oberkircher, Meghan C. and Susan Smith Pagano. "Seasonal Variation in Chronic Stress and Energetic Condition in Gray Catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis) and Song Sparrows (Melospiza melodia)." Auk:Ornithological Advances 135. (2017): 83-90. Web.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "Chemical and Biological Research with Deaf and Hard-of-hearing Students: Ensuring a Safe and Successful Laboratory Environment." Journal of Chemical Health and Safety 23. (2016): 24-31. Print.
Pagano, Todd, et al. "Exploring Nutmeg’s Intriguing Place in History using Narrative and Project-based Approaches in the Science Laboratory." Journal of Laboratory Chemical Education 4. 1 (2016): 9-18. Web.
Pagano, Todd, et al. "Determination of Nicotine Content and Delivery in Disposable Electronic Cigarettes Available in the USA by Gas Chromatography-mass Spectrometry." Nicotine and Tobacco Research 18. 5 (2016): 700-707. Print.
Seewagen, Chad, Michale Glennon, and Susan B. Smith. "Does Exurban Housing Development Affect the Physiological Condition of Forest-Breeding Songbirds? A Case Study of Ovenbirds (Seiurus Aurocapillus) In the Largest Protected Area in the Contiguous United States." Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. July/August (2015): 1-. Print.
Pagano, Todd, et al. "Exploring Nutmeg’s Intriguing Place in History using Narrative and Project-Based Approaches in the Science Laboratory." Journal of Laboratory Chemical Education 4. 1 (2016): 9-18. Web.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "Local site variation in stopover physiology of migrating songbirds near the south shore of Lake Ontario is linked to fruit availability and quality." Conservation Physiology 3. 1 (2015): cov36. Web.
Pagano, Todd, Annemarie D. Ross, and Susan B. Smith. "Undergraduate research involving deaf and hard-of-hearing students in interdisciplinary science projects." Education Sciences 5. 2 (2015): 146-165. Web.
Smith, Susan B., Annemarie D. Ross, and Todd Pagano. "Chemical and biological research with deaf and hard-of-hearing students: ensuring a safe and successful laboratory environment." Journal of Chemical Health and Safety 23. 1 (2016): 24-31. Web.
Smith, Susan B., Samantha A. DeSando, and Todd Pagano. "Value of Native and Invasive Fruit-bearing Shrubs for Migrating Songbirds." Northeastern Naturalist 20. 1 (2013): 171-184. Print.
Smith, Susan B. "A Physiological Assessment of Seasonal Differences in Spring and Autumn Migration Stopover at Braddock Bay, Lake Ontario." Condor 115. 2 (2013): 273-279. Print.
Smith, Susan B. and Peter W.C. Paton. "Long-Term Shifts in Autumn Migration by Songbirds at a Coastal Eastern North American Stopover Site." The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123. 3 (2011): 557-566. Print.
Journal Editor
Pagano, Susan Smith, ed. Northeastern Naturalist. Steuben. ME: Eagle Hill Institute, 2020. Print.
Pagano, Susan Smith, ed. Condor:Ornithological Applications. Chicago, IL: American Ornithological Society, 2020. Print.
Invited Keynote/Presentation
Pagano, Susan Smith, et al. "Are invasive fruits nutritional traps for birds? A synthesis of patterns in the Northeastern U.S." North American Ornithological Conference VII. NAOC. San Jose, Puerti Rico. 13 Aug. 2020. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Fruiting Plants for Migratory Bird Nutrition." Turning a New Leaf Conference. Chesapeake Conservation Landscaping Council. Harrisburg, PA. 6 Dec. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Berries for Migratory Birds: A Nutritional Perspective." Cullowhee Native Plant Conference. Western Carolina University. Cullowhee, NC. 18 Jul. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Plants and Migratory Birds: A ‘Fruit-full’ Pairing." GardenWise. Penn State Extension. York, PA. 9 Mar. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Berries for Migratory Birds." Meeting of the Genesee Valley Audubon Society. Genesee Valley Audubon Society. Rochester, NY. 25 Feb. 2019. Lecture.
Pagano, Susan Smith, Annemarie D. Ross, and Todd Pagano. "Integrating Biology and Chemistry in an Outdoor Ornithology Learning Environment." 137th Annual Meeting of the American Ornithological Society. American Ornithological Society. Anchorage, AK. 27 Jun. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith, et al. "Exploring the Physiological Condition of Migratory Songbirds Near Lake Ontario: New Insights from Gut Microbiota." 137th Annual Meeting of the American Ornithological Society. American Ornithological Society. Anchorage, AK. 26 Jun. 2019. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Berries for Migratory Birds." Native Plants in the Landscape Conference. Bowman's Hill Wildlife Preserve. Millersville, PA. 8 Jun. 2018. Keynote Speech.
Pagano, Susan Smith and Calvin Carrington. "Stopover Physiology of Migratory Songbirds Near the South Shore of Lake Ontario." International Ornithological Congress 2018. IOC. Vancouver, BC, Canada. 21 Aug. 2018. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Can Invasive Fruits be Nutritional Traps." Northeast Natural History Conference. Eagle Hill Institute. Burlington, VT. 14 Apr. 2018. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith, et al. "Characterization of Antioxidant Components in Wild Fruits Consumed by Migratory Birds Using Multidimensional Fluorescence Spectroscopy and Chemometrics." Wilson Ornithological Society Annual Meeting. Wilson Ornithological Society. Ft. Myers, FL. 10 Mar. 2017. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith and Calvin P. Carrington. "A Multi-Year Physiological Study of Catharus Thrush Migration at Braddock Bay Bird Observatory." Wilson Ornithological Society Annual Meeting. Wilson Ornithological Society. Ft. Myers, FL. 10 Mar. 2017. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith, et al. "An Integrated Investigation of Thrush Stopover Biology on the South Shore of Lake Ontario." 17th Northeast Natural History Conference. Eagle Hill Institute. Cromwell, CT. 22 Apr. 2017. Conference Presentation.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Buckthorn in the New world: A Biochemical Exploration of Naturalized and Native Fruits as They Relate to Bird Migration." Invited presentation. Lund University. Lund, Sweden. 21 Sep. 2017. Lecture.
Pagano, Susan Smith. "Native Birds and Exotic Fruits: Nutritional and Physiological Links to Migrant Fueling." EEB Seminar Series. Univeristy at Buffalo. Buffalo, NY. 6 Dec. 2017. Lecture.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "Nutritional Variation and Antioxidant Properties of Wild Fruits Revealed through a Fluorescence-based Method." 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting. American Chemical Society. San Diego, CA. 13 Mar. 2016. Conference Presentation.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "Fit and Fat by Fruit: A Nutritional Study on Migratory Bird Frugivory." 16th Northeast Natural History Conference. Society of Northeastern Biologists. Springfield, MA. 23 Apr. 2016. Conference Presentation.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "The Importance of Fruit Resources for Migrating Birds during Lakeshore and Urban Stopovers: A Case Study in Western New York State." Joint Meeting of Association of Field Ornithologists/Canadian Society of Ornithologists/Wilson Ornithological Society. Acadia University. Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, Nova Scotia, Canada. 17 Jul. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Smith, Susan B., Charmaine R. Merchant, and Allyson C. Miler. "Physiological Condition of Migrating Birds near Lake Ontario and the Importance of Fruit Resources." 15th Northeast Natural History Conference. Society of Northeastern Biologists. Springfield, MA. 19 Apr. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Smith, Susan B., et al. "New Spectroscopic Method for Characterizing the Nutritional Quality of Fruit Resources Available to Wildlife in a Western New York Habitat." 249th American Chemical Society National Meeting. American Chemical Society. Denver, CO. 26 Mar. 2015. Conference Presentation.
Smith, Susan B, et al. "Nutritional Value of Native and Invasive Fruits for Migrating Songbirds in the Western Finger Lakes Region of New York." 5th North American Ornithological Conference. University of British Columbia. Vancouver, BC. 16 Aug. 2012. Conference Presentation.