Lab Members

  • Associate Professor, Biology
    Director, Environmental Science Program
    B.A. Biology, Colgate University (minor in Philosophy)
    Ph.D. Evolutionary Biology, University of Notre Dame
    (319) 335-3006

    My research interests revolve around the central question: why are insects so astoundingly diverse?  There are more species of insect on Earth than any other type of animal, and as strange as it is to say, we still don't have any good consensus as to how many insect species there actually are. Insects, particularly parasitic wasps, are small, often mophologically cryptic, and poorly studied compared with other animal taxa. I study the evolution, ecology, behavior, and taxonomy of many different insect species, with an eye to understanding the patterns and processes underlying their diversity.

  • PhD Candidate
    B.S. Biology, University of Iowa (minor in Dance)
    M.S. Biology, University of Iowa

    My projects focus broadly on how ecological interactions between species can drive the evolution of reproductive isolation and speciation. I study interactions between the specialist Sunflower Maggot Fly (genus Strauzia) and their host plant species (genus Helianthus and other Asteraceae). My primary project aims to evaluate the relative contributions of pre- and post-zygotic reproductive barriers to reproductive isolation between recently diverged lineages of Strauzia. This project carries the larger purpose of understanding patterns of ecological speciation across a continuum of divergence. In addition, I am working on several other projects that include completing a phylogeny of the genus Strauzia, measuring patterns of host plant use, and evaluating the evolutionary impacts of morphological differences between Strauzia species.

  • PhD Candidate
    B.A. Biology, Albion College

    Anna is interested in the evolutionary histories of various parasitoids, inquilines, and other associates of cynipid gall wasps found on North American oak trees. She has collected tens of thousands of insects from across the continental United States and is using a variety of molecular and ecological methods to understand their histories. The inquiline genera Synergus and Ceroptres are of particular interest.

  • MS Student
    BS, University of Illinois - Chicago

    Sofia is interested in the role of host in the evolution of Ormyrus parasitoid wasps that attack various oak gall wasps in North America. One species in particular, Ormyrus labotus, appears to attack a great diversity of different host galls, and thus is a putative generalist. Sofia is using ecology, morphology, and phylogeny to determine whether O. labotus is truly a single, oligophagous species or a complex of more specilized specialists. She is also sequencing thousands of Ultra-Conserved Element (UCE) loci to infer the first phylogeny of North American Ormyrus asscoiated with oak galls.

  • MS Student
    B.A., Environmental Sciences, University of Iowa

    Sarah's MS research investigates genetic variation and species interactions among woodland fungi.