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

Boldness in Largemouth Mass: Personality Affects Juvenile Survival and Adult Reproductive Success
Boldness in Largemouth Mass: Personality Affects Juvenile Survival and Adult Reproductive Success

Nick Ballew, Kim Scribner, and Gary Mittelbach have published a new manuscript in the American Naturalist. The publication is based on a study done by Nick as part of his Doctoral Dissertation in Zoology (2014) which investigated the effects of boldness in largemouth mass on juvenile survival and adult reproductive success. The findings have important implications for fish conservation and management.

Julia Ganz Publishes Foundational Research About Nervous System Development
Julia Ganz Publishes Foundational Research About Nervous System Development

Julia Ganz, who joined the Integrative Biology faculty this year, recently published a paper in the journal, Developmental Dynamics, about gene expression properties of stem cells in the enteric nervous system (ENS).

Model Explains Barred Owls' Domination Over Northern Spotted Owls
Model Explains Barred Owls' Domination Over Northern Spotted Owls

Barred owls – unrivaled nocturnal predators and procreators – are moving into the Pacific Northwest. They’re encroaching on northern spotted owl territories and outcompeting this smaller, threatened cousin. A model developed at Michigan State University shows how it’s happening and gives wildlife conservationists a highly accurate, yet cost-effective tool to help shape management policies.