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Samantha Capel
483 Morrill Hall
(Advisor - Ken Paige)
John Crawford
449 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)
Evan Doughty

My primary research interests involve paleontology, geology, and niche modeling. Specifically, I am interested in Cenozoic mammals with a focus on the Tayassuidae (peccaries) and other artiodactyls. (Advisor: Jon Marcot)
Kim Drager
683 Morrill Hall

I am interested in the nest architecture of soil dwelling ants (both ancient and modern) and how nest structure varies between ant species and geological environments.  Most of my work utilizes ant nest casts using molten metal, plaster, or acrylic as a medium. I use three-dimensional scans of nest casts to measure geometric properties of ant nest architecture, which can be used as references for identifying ant nests preserved in the fossil record. Three-dimensional scans are also used as inputs for modeling ant nest effects on physical, chemical, and hydrological properties of the surrounding soil.

(Advisor: Andy Suarez)
Michael Grispo
17C Burrill Hall
(217) 244-2931
It is of no doubt how sight is important in the fitness of organisms from aquatic to terrestrial. The lens plays an essential role in refracting light onto the retina to produce clear images, requiring lens proteins (crystallins) to be densely packed together while maintaining transparency. Proteins, especially closely related proteins, at very high concentrations tend to aggregate, falling out of solution. Lens crystallins evolved not only to refract light, but to also maintain solubility extremely crowded conditions. While mammalian lenses are quite dense, teleost fish lenses are substantially more dense and are far more tolerant of cold temperatures -- resisting cold cataracts well below freezing conditions. I aim to address how the teleost fish crystallins have evolved to maintain solubility at very high concentrations while also resisting cold cataracts at extremely cold temperatures. (Advisor: Chris Cheng)
Matt Grobelny
17C Burrill Hall
My research interests primarily focus on the physiological adaptations of organisms to extreme marine environments. Currently, I study the survival strategies of Antarctic Notothenioid fishes using behavioral and genomic techniques to uncover how these organisms adapted to the freezing Southern Ocean. (Advisor: Chris Cheng)
Christopher Holmes
449 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)
Cody Jones
483 Morrill Hall
(Advisor: Ken Paige)
Alec Luro

Behavioral & cognitive ecology, evolution, avian brood parasitism and species recognition in birds (Advisor: Mark Hauber)
Joshua (Miles) Mesa
483 Morrill Hall
My research focuses on plant-animal interactions with an emphasis on the plant compensatory response following herbivory. Currently, I am testing whether plant compensation and resistance are molecularly interdependent and therefore positively correlated with one another. This is in contrast with the classic view that plant compensation and resistance are redundant strategies for defense against herbivory and should be mutually exclusive. (Advisor: Ken Paige)
Lisa Mitchem
202 Vivarium, MC-144

In regards to my research interests, I am interested in studying the connection between fish color patterns/sexual dimorphism and mate selection behaviors. Long term, I am interested in seeing how varying mate selection within a species impact evolutionary changes. (Advisor: Becky Fuller)

Niraj Rayamajhi

(Advisor: Julian Catchen)
Angel Rivera-Colón

Research Interests: Genomics, genome evolution. (Advisor: Julian Catchen)
Michelle St. John
202 Vivarium, MC-144
Research Interests: Ecology, evolution, and behavior of fish. Specifically, looking at mate choice, sexual selection and speciation of killifish. (Advisor: Becky Fuller)
Lynette Strickland
449 Morrill Hall
I am interested in molecular and genomic evolution, essentially, the changes within the genome and/or accompanying proteins, that facilitate the phenotypic and morphological adaptations of an individual, population, or species to their environment. Currently, I am studying the genetic and developmental mechanisms of color variation in Cassidine beetles, it's ecological significance and how color polymorphisms are maintained in populations. (Advisor: Carla Caceres)
Veronica Yoon
17C Burrill Hall
I am currently studying the evolutionary biology and physiology of the most derived species of Antarctic fishes (Notothenioidei: Channichthyidae) through the analysis of genetic data. (Advisor: Chris Cheng)