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Background: The Integrative Organismal Biology (IOB) group was formed in 2001 (as the behavior group or IBOB) with the objective of building an inter-departmental group of faculty with complementary expertise and a shared interest in developing interdisciplinary collaborative research. This effort, led by faculty in Biological Sciences, has been highly successful in fostering collaboration and building research strength, as manifested in multi-investigator research projects, training of graduate students across laboratories, successful hires into the group in multiple departments across three colleges (Biological Sciences, Statistics, Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, Engineering Science and Mechanics), an Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior seminar series, a reading group, and generally heightened interaction and intellectual cross-fostering among the laboratories that participate. The original vision of IOB, that students would move seamlessly among laboratories to utilize multiple techniques to conduct cutting edge science, has come to fruition.

Mission: The unique focus of the IOB group is to better understand the interface of the organism and its environment. To understand how an animal interacts with its environment it is necessary to study it at multiple levels. Simply understanding how a cell responds to changes in pH or in the presence of a virus will not tell you how the individual will react to acidification or an infectious agent and what these individual responses will mean for a population. Members of IOB are not limited by levels of organization; they utilize each other’s expertise to develop a more complete understanding of organismal function, and even more importantly, they reach out to the cellular, microbiological, veterinary, and clinical level scientists to build interdisciplinary teams.

Faculty Research interests  Department
Lisa Belden Amphibian ecology, behavior, and physiology
Biological Sciences
Dan Dudek The application of engineering techniques to an array of animal locomotor systems across multiple levels of organization to extract general principles regarding how body structure affects mechanical function in nature Engineering Science and Mechanics
Dana Hawley Animal Disease Ecology
Biological Sciences
Bill Hopkins Physiological Ecology and Ecotoxicology
Fish and Wildlife
Scotland Leman Bayesian statistics on both a theoretical and inferential level, MCMC mixing theory, Data Augmentation for efficient simulation, large scale stochastic modeling, molecular evolution, and coalescence processes Statistics
Adi Livnat Evolutionary dynamics; population genetic modeling; behavioral ecological modeling; sex theory; modularity; conflict and cooperation; research at the interface of computer science and biology Biological Sciences
Ignacio Moore Mechanisms of behavior in free-living vertebrates
Biological Sciences
Joel McGlothlin Evolutionary biology Biological Sciences
John Phillips Sensory ecology and the neural basis of behavior
Biological Sciences
Kendra Sewall Animal Behavior and Neurobiology Biological Sciences
Jake Socha Relationships between form and function in animals, with a broad range of projects involving locomotion, breathing and feeding Engineering Science and Mechanics
Eric Smith Multivariate analysis and graphics, biological sampling and modeling
Jeff Walters Behavioral ecology and conservation biology of birds
Biological Sciences

How to Apply to the Biological Sciences Graduate Program