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Students

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Zachary Bergeron
202 Vivarium
(Advisor - Becky Fuller)
Fred Benham
433 Morrill Hall
(Advisor - Zac Cheviron)
David Birlenbach
671 Morrill Hall

I study changes in the community structure of North American mammals from the Paleocene and Eocene (approximately 66 through 34 million years ago). In order to study these changes I look at the size and shape of fossil teeth. Tooth dimensions are a great way to determine diets and body size, which will be useful for determining an organisms role in an ecosystem (e.g. carnivores, herbivores). Observing these changes in the composition of mammalian communities over time will provide insight into the evolution of mammals. (Advisor - Jon Marcot)

John Crawford
471 Morrill Hall
I study Ecology, Rapid Evolution, and Invasion biology in Zooplankton. I use am currently studying the life-history evolution of Daphnia pulicaria. I will also be studying various aspects of the invasive zooplankton Daphnia lumholtzi. Through methods in invasion biology, evolutionary ecology, and resurrection ecology, I aim to determine a potential mechanism for the success of effective invasive species. This should either show that an effective invasive species is the product of preadaptation in the native range or rapid evolution in the invaded range. (Advisor - Carla Caceres)
Lauren Fields
17C Burrill Hall
(217) 244-2931

I study the ecological physiology of blood antifreeze proteins in order to better understand the biology of these extreme cold adapted organisms. Research interests also include thermal tolerance of fish adapted to a narrow temperature range, quantitative measures to determine antifreeze amount, and human impacts on the fragile Southern Ocean ecosystem. (Advisor - Art DeVries)

Michael Grispo
17C Burrill Hall
(217) 244-2931

(Advisor - Chris Cheng)

Christopher Holmes
471 Morrill Hall

(217) 300-2324

My research focuses on the role of zooplankton dispersal and subsequent colonization on community assemblages in aquatic ecosystems. Studying these metacommunity dynamics will help us understand how zooplankton populations will respond to habitat alteration and how overall ecosystem biodiversity will be affected. (Advisor - Carla Caceres)

Katie Hughes
465 Morrill Hall


(Advisor - Karen Sears)

Joshua (Miles) Mesa
483 Morrill Hall


(Advisor - Ken Paige)

Katie Murphy
17 Burrill Hall

(217) 244-2931

(Advisor - Chris Cheng)
Torrey Rodgers
2020 INHS, 1816 S. Oak

I study the use of noninvasive genetic techniques for research and conservation of elusive small felids. Specifically, I am integrating noninvasive genetic techniques with camera trapping to study social organization and kin-structure in ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in Panama, and I am testing metrics for estimating population density using fecal noninvasive genetics for use in small felid conservation.

(Advisors - Ed Heske and Robert Schooley)

Nicholas Sly
433 Morrill Hall

 

I study the genetic and developmental basis of color patterns in birds. I'm interested in how these mechanisms might either constrain or facilitate rapid evolution of color patterns. (Advisor - Zac Cheviron)

 

Daniel Sorensen
465 Morrill Hall

 

(Advisor - Karen Sears)

 

Maria Stager
433 Morrill Hall

 

I am evaluating the effects of day length and temperature on seasonal variation in metabolic performance and correlated differences in underlying gene expression profiles of a common song bird in order to gain insight into the fundamental mechanisms of avian metabolic flexibility. (Advisor - Zac Cheviron)

 

Laura Stein
437 Morrill Hall
(217) 333-2308

I am interested in how behavioral plasticity and parental effects influence evolutionary patterns.  Specifically, I am testing the flexible stem model of adaptive radiations by examining how plasticity in parental care and subsequent parental effects on offspring interact to influence rapid, adaptive evolution using the threespine stickleback as a model. (Advisor - Alison Bell)

Daniel Urban
465 Morrill Hall
(217) 244-7724
I am interested in evolutionary developmental biology and paleontology, specifically seeking to uncover the mechanisms that drive large-scale evolutionary transitions. Currently working on limb development and digit reduction in Laurasiatherians. (Advisor - Karen Sears)
Bill Wills
683 Morrill Hall
(217) 333-3687
My research explores how ecology constrains or facilitates the evolution of caste structure and division of labor in social insects. I will examine the significance of body size distributions in ants by analyzing the costs and benefits of worker size versus number tradeoffs in polymorphic ant species (highly variable worker body size). (Advisor - Andy Suarez)
Xuan Zhuang
17C Burrill Hall
(217) 244-2931
Molecular evolution of mitochondial genes in the teleost suborder Notothenioidei (order Perciformes), evolution and functional physiology of NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 in Antarctic notothenioid fishes. (Advisor - Chris Cheng)