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

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.

Fresh Discoveries From an Old Fish: Gar is the New Biomedical Friend of Zebrafish and Human
Fresh Discoveries From an Old Fish: Gar is the New Biomedical Friend of Zebrafish and Human

The genome of a slowly evolving fish, the spotted gar, is very similar to the genomes of both zebrafish and humans, and can be used as a ‘bridge species’ that opens a pathway to important advancements in biomedical research focused on human diseases. That is the conclusion of an international research consortium outlined in a paper lead-authored by newly appointed MSU assistant professor Ingo Braasch.

Trinidadian Guppies: A New Model System for Conservation?
Trinidadian Guppies: A New Model System for Conservation?

Sarah Fitzpatrick, a postdoc at MSU's W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, and researchers from Colorado State University have documented genetic rescue in guppies, which was recently published in Evolutionary Applications. These findings suggest that this species could also provide a model system for informing effective conservation and management of imperiled populations.