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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.



Research interests


Lisa Belden

Amphibian ecology, behavior, and physiology

Biological Sciences

Dana Hawley

Animal Disease Ecology

Biological Sciences

Bill Hopkins

Physiological Ecology and Ecotoxicology

Fish and Wildlife

Meryl Mims

Conservation ecology of freshwater ecosystems, including amphibians, fishes, and macroinvertebrates

Biological Sciences

Ignacio Moore

Mechanisms of behavior in free-living vertebrates

Biological Sciences

Joel McGlothlin

Evolutionary biology

Biological Sciences

Sterling Nesbitt

Evolution of Mesozoic terrestrial vertebrate assemblages through major Earth events (e.g., climate change, extinctions)


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


Michelle Stocker

Macroevolutionary patterns and processes of biodiversity and morphological disparity


Josef Uyeda

How biological processes give rise to the large-scale, macroevolutionary patterns of diversity

Biological Sciences

Jeff Walters

How biological processes give rise to the large-scale, macroevolutionary patterns of diversity

Biological Sciences

Susan Whitehead

Evolutionary Ecology of Plant Interactions

Biological Sciences

How to Apply to the Biological Sciences Graduate Program