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

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).   

Mobs are, Sometimes, Good
Mobs are, Sometimes, Good

Submitting to mob mentality is always a risky endeavor, for humans or hyenas. A new Michigan State University study focusing on the latter, though, shows that when it comes to battling for food, mobbing can be beneficial.The findings, featured in the journal, Current Zoology, fully describe for the first time, cooperative behavior during fights between two apex predators ­– spotted hyenas and lions.

Mariah Meek Harnesses the Power of New Genomic Tools to Address a Real-World Conservation Problem
Mariah Meek Harnesses the Power of New Genomic Tools to Address a Real-World Conservation Problem

Mariah Meek, a new faculty member in the Department of Integrative Biology, had a paper published in the journal, Ecology and Evolution, this month. The manuscript is called, "Sequencing improves our ability to study threatened migratory species: Genetic population assignment in California's Central Valley Chinook salmon." In this study, Mariah and her collaborators demonstrated the usefulness of genomic resources for identifying genetic markers that allow fast and accurate identification of the imperiled Chinook salmon in the Great Central Valley of California.