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

Big Science? It's in Our Nature
Big Science? It's in Our Nature

Richard Lenski, called “The Man Who Bottled Evolution” by Science Magazine, was able to pinpoint the genes that give bacteria the beneficial mutations to outperform their ancestors, information important for human health.

Nicole Thompson: Pursuing Her Childhood Aspirations
Nicole Thompson: Pursuing Her Childhood Aspirations

Nicole’s curiosity about the natural world began at an early age. She spent countless days of her youth turning over logs in search of salamanders, stirring up river beds to catch crayfish, and fishing with her father in western Michigan. According to Nicole, “Such a fascination with the natural world came from being raised in a family that celebrated every neat creature I captured. At a young age, I recognized the beauty and intrinsic value of earth and its inhabitants.” Despite her early interests, Nicole never planned to study Zoology in college. 

What's on Tap?
What's on Tap?

Chances are, wherever there is water there are Spartans. Researchers from dozens of disciplines across the globe study, monitor and protect our waters—from joining the front lines of the Flint water crisis response to combating the effects of climate change to ensuring access to safe, plentiful water for all. Integrative Biology graduate student, Kateri Salk, is featured.