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

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.

Boughman and Colleagues Investigate the Evolution of Icelandic Sticklebacks
Boughman and Colleagues Investigate the Evolution of Icelandic Sticklebacks

The National Science Foundation awarded Dr. Boughman and a team of researchers a “Dimensions of Biodiversity” grant (worth approximately $1.84 million over five years) to pursue novel research studying the evolution of threespine stickleback throughout Iceland. Jenny is the lead PI on this collaborative project with Jason Keagy (MSU Dept. of Integrative Biology), Gideon Bradburd (MSU Dept. of Integrative Biology), Deborah Stenkamp (University of Idaho), and Hans Hofmann (University of Texas at Austin).