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Curriculum Information:

Faculty Members and Current Research

Jeb Barrett The influences of soils, climate variability, hydrology, and biodiversity on biogeochemical cycling from the scale of microorganisms to regional landscapes
Lisa Belden The role of community composition in disease dynamics, within two main systems: structure-function relationships in the amphibian microbiome and disease dynamics in freshwater trematode systems
Fred Benfield Historical and contemporary effects of landscape disturbance on biodiversity and ecosystem processes in southern Appalachian streams; stream/riparian zone interactions.
Bryan Brown Community ecology in aquatic systems: keystone mutalisms in streams; the metacommunity concept and stream ecosystems; the influence of habitat heterogeneity on community stability; isolated wetlands ecology and conservation; community assembly priority effects and disturbance; effects of perturbations on aquatic communities.
Cayelan Carey The interactions between eutrophication, biogeochemical cycling, and plankton communities in changing lake ecosystems; interest in how local communities value and interact with their water resources, which has implications for water quality.
Dana Hawley The ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie host susceptibility, pathogen virulence, and transmission; social behavior and disease, evolution of pathogen virulence in a novel host, causes and consequences of phenotypic immune variation.
Khidir Hilu The evolution of flowering plants (angiosperms) and land plants in general using DNA sequence information; includes both basal angiosperms and eudicots.  Emphasis on the rapidly evolving plastid gene matK and the trnT-trnF region.
Erin Hotchkiss Stream and River Ecology, Limnology, Ecosystem Ecology; linking biological and physical processes with carbon and nutrient sources, cycling, and fate; quantifying effects of environmental change on water quality and ecosystem function; identifying patterns and consequences of terrestrial-aquatic connectivity within river networks; monitoring changing resources in freshwater food webs
Joel McGlothlin The evolution of complex phenotypes, with a particular interest in the evolution of phenotypic integration; how natural selection shapes groups of traits to produce well-adapted organisms; using empirical and theoretical approaches and incorporate ideas and techniques from diverse fields, including evolutionary genetics, behavioral ecology, and physiology.
Ignacio Moore Physiological and behavioral adaptations to unique environments; behavioral endocrinology, physiology, and ecology of tropical birds; interactions between stress and reproduction in reptiles and amphibians.
Erik Nilsen Interaction between native and foreign invasive species; vascular adaptation of Rhododendron species to drought and freeze-thaw cycles; ecology of invasive species; cold tolerance of photosynthesis in biomass fuel plants; adaptive significance of leaf anatomical characters in Malaysian Rhododendron species (Vireya).
Brent Opell Spider systematics and evolution; adhesive mechanisms of spider prey capture threads from orb-webs; molecular and morphological systematics of spiders.
John Phillips Neuroethology and sensory ecology; magnetic field detection, specialized photoreception mechanisms in vertebrates, long-distance navigation, coevolution of color signals and chromatic processing.
Kendra Sewall Animal behavior and neurobiology; how neural and behavioral processes - and the environmental and developmental factors that impact those processes - contributed to animals' survival and reproductive success.
Mike Strickland The interrelationship between microbial communities and ecosystem processes; how changes within the microbial community (e.g. composition, physiology, and population/community level interactions) affect and are in turn influences by ecosystem processes (e.g. litter decomposition, carbon sequestration).
Jeff Walters Evolution of cooperative breeding in birds; ecological basis of sensitivity to habitat fragmentation; evolution of social behavior and life history in birds and primates; dispersal behavior; conservation of endangered birds.
Susan Whitehead Plant evolutionary responses to multi-species interactions; chemical ecology of seed dispersal and fruit defense; domestication and plant defense; agricultural applications of chemical ecology