Research

We study life in context. Our research aims to answer fundamental questions that address national needs related to sustainable biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human and animal health and welfare. We focus on developing an integrative understanding of how complex biological systems develop, function, interact and evolve in a complex and changing world. Our vision is based on the proposition that by examining biological phenomena at all levels of the hierarchy of life in their ecological and evolutionary contexts, we can identify more meaningful questions and develop more meaningful answers. We work across the entire tree of life at all levels of biological organization, ranging from molecules to global ecosystems, over time scales ranging from milliseconds to millennia.

The faculty, postdoc, and graduate student directories provide general descriptions of our diverse research initiatives. A more vivid and dynamic picture can be seen from the news stories posted on our home page and abstracted below. Feel free to contact any of us for more information.

 

Our Research in the News

Gars and Stripes: Research 'Flags' Evolutionary Ancestry of Pigment Patterns in Zebrafish, Spotted Gar
Gars and Stripes: Research 'Flags' Evolutionary Ancestry of Pigment Patterns in Zebrafish, Spotted Gar

Just as the stars and stripes reflect the history of our nation, Ingo Braasch’s “Gars and Stripes” project represents the evolution of genomic and morphological relationships among vertebrate animals—connecting the past with the present. New research published in the Journal of Experimental Zoology and in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology reveals the evolutionary link between fish and other vertebrate animals.

Decomposing Leaves are a Surprising Source of Greenhouse Gases
Decomposing Leaves are a Surprising Source of Greenhouse Gases

Michigan State University scientists, including Integrative Biology's Nathaniel Ostrom, have pinpointed a new source of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that’s more potent than carbon dioxide. The culprit? Tiny bits of decomposing leaves in soil.

$2 Million NSF Grant Awarded to Predict Future Viability of Phytoplankton
$2 Million NSF Grant Awarded to Predict Future Viability of Phytoplankton

Elena Litchman is the lead investigator of a four-year, $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Dimensions of Biodiversity grant to study how genetic and functional diversity in phytoplankton helps them adapt to rising ocean temperatures.