The research of the Department of Integrative Biology is focused on fundamental areas of biology: evolution, ecology, behavior and development. We seek an integrated understanding of biological complexity. Specifically, to understand (1) how higher level organismal and ecological complexity emerges from lower level genetic and behavioral processes, (2) how lower level mechanisms are shaped by higher level organismal, ecological and evolutionary processes, and (3) how biological systems at all levels respond to perturbations and changing conditions.
Achieving an integrated understanding of biological complexity is a major theoretical and empirical challenge. It is essential that we meet these challenges in order to address problems that arise from failures of integration, such as developmental disease, or from limits on the resilience of organisms and ecosystems in the face of environmental change. These themes not only guide our research, they form the core of our popular and successful undergraduate major, a high-impact graduate program, and outreach through BEACON, GK-12, the MSU Museum and ad hoc initiatives.
Visit our directory for summaries of faculty research.