Francisco Acosta facosta at ou dot edu

My initial research interests focused in clinical microbiology and viral diseases, beginning in my undergraduate studies and continuing during my subsequent employment. Afterwards, I went to King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, where I got my MSc degree in Marine Sciences with research on the diversity of microbial communities in the Red Sea. Currently I’m pursuing my PhD degree in Dr. Dave Hambright’s lab, where I want to look into the deeper questions of microbial distribution and ecology in aquatic ecosystems, focusing in disruptive ecosystem events such as harmful algal blooms.

Lab webpage


Alexandra Barnard alexbarnard at

I am interested in speciation and the genetic basis of male-female coevolution, using Enallagma damselflies as a model. Enallagma contains many recently diverged species that differ primarily in their reproductive structures, with a species-specific fit between male and female structures. My research aims to identify whether physical linkage of genes specifying male and female sexual morphology has contributed to their correlated evolution within species, and to the rapid evolution of genital differences between species. I am also interested in how these species differences affect mating behavior and hybridization among sympatric species. I have a B.S. in Psychology from Colorado State University and a B.S. in Biology from the Metropolitan State College of Denver. I came to OU in 2011 and am co-advised by Drs. Ola Fincke and JP Masly.

My webpage:

Fincke Lab Masly Lab


Jessica Beyer Jessica.E.Beyer-1 at

I received my B.A. in biology with honors in 2009 from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. My undergraduate research focused on monitoring and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in the Lower Fox River, WI. My research interests include invasion biology, community ecology, and zooplankton ecology. I’m particularly interested in exploring the community interactions between invasive and native species in Lake Texoma, OK-TX. I’m currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. David Hambright..


Eric Bright brighte at

I received my B.A. in Biology from Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana. After this I received my M.S. from the University of Georgia working under the direction of Dr. Darold Batzer. My research conducted at UGA was examining the lateral variation of aquatic invertebrates across the floodplain of the Altamaha and Savannah Rivers. My current research interests include community ecology of wetland invertebrates and natural history of aquatic invertebrates. I am working on my Ph.D. with Dr. Elizabeth Bergey and I plan to study the ecology of invertebrates in playa lakes.


Jelena Bujan jelena.bujan at

I discovered the world of ants at the end of my studies at University of Zagreb, Croatia. Since then I got my diploma of Biology and Chemistry teacher and together with two colleagues founded Croatian Myrmecological Society, a NGO whose work is completely committed to ant research and educating general public about omnipresent bugs that everyone knows but generally know very little about. My research was focused on Croatian ant fauna, lately on ant communities at small and endangered peat land habitats in Croatia. Right now I’m working on Macroecology project in Mike Kaspari’s AntLab which will not only allow me to work in the exciting field of ant ecology, but it’ll also include my interests in community ecology, global patterns of biodiversity and ecological stoichiometry.


Carolyn Burt carburt at

I received my BA in Biology with Honors from Indiana University in 2007. As an undergraduate, I examined how infection and environmental factors influence the behavior of a New Zealand freshwater snail. My interests include host-parasite coevolution, sexual behavior, and the maintenance of sexual reproduction. I am currently pursuing a PhD in the lab of Dr. Ingo Schlupp, where I am working with live-bearing fishes from the family Poeciliidae.

Lab Website


Billy Culver bculv001 at

I received my B.S. in Marine Biology with a minor in Oceanography, in 2009, from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. I am interested in the fields of ecological genetics/genomics. In particular I am interested in the variation in genes that allow for tolerance for different environmental conditions. Using the model organism, Daphnia, I am looking at the role Carbonic Anhydrase and Chitin Synthase play in pH tolerance over spatial and temporal ranges. I work in Dr. Larry Weider’s lab at the Norman campus and the University of Oklahoma Biological Station, where we are investigating why different genotypes have a superior advantage in eutrophic vs. oligotrophic lakes as compared to other genoptypes in Daphnia over spatial and temporal ranges.


James Cureton curetonj at Webpage

I received my BS in biology with honors and my MS in biology at Sam Houston State University in 2008 and 2010. I am an evolutionary biologist primarily interested in how historical and contemporary evolutionary processes shape patterns of genetic and phenotypic variation.It is well documented that the same selection pressure can lead to shared patterns of phentoypic divergence. However, it is not clear how such shared patterns coupled with an organism's unique evolutionary history leads to genetic and phentoypic divergence. Given their taxonomic and phenotypic diversity in North America, minnows are an excellent group for studying such shared and unique patterns of genetic and phentoypic differentiation. For my PhD, I am working under Dr. Rich Broughton, studying the shared and unique patterns of body shape divergence along a flow gradient. My goal is to understand if flow was an important driver of inter-specific divergence in this group and to elucidate the genomic underpinnings of body shape

Lab webpage. Personal webpage.


Claire Curry cmcurry at Webpage

My current research focuses on the genetic and behavioral dynamics of an avian hybrid zone, using the Tufted (Baeolophus bicolor) and Black-crested Titmouse (B. atricristatus) species complex in Oklahoma and Texas as a model system. Hybrid zones such as this one, where two closely related species' ranges overlap, provide insight into gene flow and speciation mechanisms. Specifically, I am looking at how song, phenotype (plumage and morphology), mate choice, and genetics differ between younger and older hybrid zones. Studying both regions will add to our knowledge of hybrid zone dynamics by comparing different stages of secondary contact in a single species complex. I am a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Michael Patten. I received my B.S. in Biology with honors from the University of North Texas in 2007. My undergraduate thesis focused on how interspecific behavior differences affect aggressive interactions in the dragonfly Plathemis lydia (Odonata: Libellulidae). Additional research interests include speciation, environmental effects on signaling, competition, biogeography, and natural history of birds and insects, with a focus on prairie environments..


Joseph Frederickson Joseph.A.Frederickson-1 at ou dot edu

I am a PhD student in Biology, working with Dr. Richard Cifelli at the Sam Noble Museum. I received a B.A. in Geology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2011. In 2013 I earned my M.S. in Geology from Temple University. My thesis focused on reconstructing ontogenetic changes in the horned dinosaur Cenrosaurus apertus, in order to understand intraspecific variation in this species. My current research interests focus largely on Mesozoic paleoecology and ontogeny in dinosaurs.

Joseph is a GANN Fellow


Aaron Geheber Aaron.D.Geheber-1 at

I am interested in ichthyology, more specifically community ecology, ecomorphology and biogeography of freshwater fishes. My Master’s thesis research focused on spatio-temporal trends in fish assemblage structure of a Southeastern U.S. river system. I demonstrated that structure was regulated by large scale environmental perturbation events, and spatial habitat heterogeneity. Here at OU I am working towards my Ph.D. under Dr. Edie Marsh-Matthews where I am further pursuing my research interests in the ecology of freshwater fishes.

  Thayer Hallidayschult
Thayer at

I graduated in 2008 with a BA in Biology from Lawrence University where I did research on invasive species in the Fox River, WI and the effect of zebra mussels on the food web in Green Bay, WI.
My interests in zoology span across a wide variety of disciplines and ecosystems, but I am most interested in the ecology of aquatic invasives. In particular, I hope to investigate ecosystem impacts of zebra mussels in Lake Texoma, which are a new addition to the already large pool of exotic species in the lake. I am currently working toward a Ph.D. under Dr. Dave Hambright.

Rachel Hartnett rhartnett at

I am working with Dr. Larry Weider toward a PhD after receiving a BS in Biology at UT Austin. I am interested in life-stages of Daphnia populations (i.e. juvenile and adult instars) and how different populations might change their demographic structure in response to abiotic and biotic pressures. I also want to explore how changes in life-stage structure may impact community networks.

Rachel is an NSF Graduate Fellow.

Lab Webpage


Jackson Helms Jackson.A.Helms-1 at

After a few years as an Arabic translator, I got my B.S. in Evolution and Ecology from the Ohio State University. I’m interested in large-scale geographic patterns in nature. Here at OU I will study the factors governing the latitudinal gradient in species diversity, using ants as model organisms.

Jackson is an NSF Graduate Fellow.


Emily Hjalmarson ehjalmarson at

I am a Ph.D. student in Dr. Michael Patten’s lab pursuing my interests in avian ecology and conservation biology with a focus on the Lesser Prairie-Chicken. I received my B.A. with honors at Lawrence University where my hands-on experiences in freshwater, marine, and terrestrial ecology enhanced my already growing interest in the workings of the natural world. My summers volunteering as a wildlife rehabilitator, gathering data with an Earthwatch team, and studying Ornithology from a canoe seat in the Boundary Waters influenced my incorporation of citizen science and public education as part of my future research goals.

Emily is an GANN Fellow.

Lab Webpage


Michael Kistenmacher michik at ou.ed

I am a PhD student working on the reproductive biology of a heterocarpic composite in Dr. Phil Gibson's lab. I received my undergraduate degree in Botany from the University of Oklahoma. My dissertation research focuses on how life history traits such as fruit production, germination requirements, and germination timing are influenced by the maternal environment.

Personal Website

  Diane Landoll dvl04 at

My name is Diane Landoll. I am from Lawton, Oklahoma. I completed a B.S. in Biology at Cameron University in 2008 and completed a M.S. in Zoology at the University of Oklahoma in the summer of 2011. I am interested in natural history and life history strategies, particularly in regards to avian ecology. My current study species is the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, a savannah species. I am working with Dr. Michael Patten.
  Junyi Liang jliang at ou dot edu

I received my B.S. in Agronomy from China Agricultural University and M.S. in Ecology from Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences. I am now a PhD student with Dr. Yiqi Luo at the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology. My interests include the interactions and interdependences of carbon, nitrogen and water cycles at different scales; and acclimation of terrestrial ecosystems respond to sustained climate change.

Jane Lucas jane.m.lucas-1 at

I received my B.A. in Biology at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. While there I conducted research in collaboration with Dr. Mike Kaspari on tropical ant community ecology as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation. My main research interests are in exploring the interactions between above and below-ground ecosystem processes. While at OU, in pursuit of a Ph.D. in the Kaspari lab, I hope to further explore this area of study by examining the complexities of the brown food web and how that in turn affects nutrient cycling and other above ground processes.

Jane is an NSF Graduate Fellow.

Lab Website


Amber Makowicz amber_makowicz at

I am studying kin selection in a unisexual vertebrate, investigating three questions: 1) whether female can identify the same-sister clones from non-sister clones; 2) identifying the mechanism that allows for recognition between clones and 3) if they adjust their behaviors towards other females based on the degree of relatedness. I have also investigated how the social environment influences behavioral changes via audience effects and morphology and species diversification in various livebearing fishes.

Amber is a GAANN Fellow.

Personal Website Lab Website


Karl Roeder karoeder at ou dot edu

I received my BS, and later MS under Dr. Spencer Behmer, from Texas A&M University in Entomology. While there my research primarily focused on exploring how food macronutrient content affected various performance measurements in the generalist caterpillar, Heliothis virescens. Currently as a PhD student in Dr. Mike Kaspari’s lab, I am interested in combining principles of nutritional and community ecology in order to explore the driving factors that shape ant communities across geographically diverse habitats.

Karl is a GAANN Fellow.

Lab Website

  Zheng Shi zshi0609 at

My name is Zheng Shi, a new PhD student with Dr. Yiqi Luo. I have been studying ecology, especially forest ecology since my undergraduate. Ecological modeling and data assimilation will be my research area for my PhD. Jogging and playing soccer are my only two hobbies.

Brent Tweedy brent.tweedy at

I earned my B.S. in Biology from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2008 after which I spent two years writing web-based insurance rating software. I earned an M.S. in Biology from Texas Christian University in 2012 and entered the EEB program at OU in August 2012. My thesis research at TCU investigated how fish predation in small ponds affects the flux of toxic methyl mercury from aquatic ecosystems into terrestrial ecosystems via emergent insects. For my PhD research, I am interested in how freshwater mussel communities affect, and are affected by, changing environmental conditions and other organisms living in stream communities.

Brent is a GAANN Fellow.

Lab Website

  Fei Fei Zhang feifeizhang at

I am a Ph.D. student of EEB program in Zoology Department of the University of Oklahoma. My interests include evolution and population biology of fishes. I got my B.S. and M.S. in Qufu Normal University, China. I researched the relationship of different rat populations using molecular method including microsatellite and gene cloning.I work in Dr. Richard E. Broughton’s lab in Biological Survey.

  Dan Allen dallen at, Webpage

I am interested in the relationship between ecological communities and the ecosystem processes.  Organisms perform important ecosystem processes, such as nutrient recycling or the production of biomass.  But how does the structure of communities (i.e. the presence of certain species or trophic levels, the diversity of species or functional groups within trophic levels) influence ecosystem processes? Given the losses of species from extinctions and extirpations, the addition of species from introduction of nonnative species, and species dominance shifts within communities due to habitat alteration and climate change; it is important to understand how changes in ecological communities are influencing ecosystems as a whole.  In my dissertation research, I am currently using stream communities as a model system to investigate how community structure influence ecosystem processes.  I am currently conducting comparative field studies and mesocosm experiments to investigate the relationship between the diversity and structure of freshwater mussel communities (Bivalvia: Unionidae) and the ecosystem processes they perform.

Update: Dan is an Asst Professor at ASU-Polytechnic

  Dave Gillette

I am an aquatic ecologist, currently investigating the manner in which context of habitat patches affects secondary consumers via trophic pathways. With this work, I am taking theory from the field of landscape ecology, and applying it in an aquatic setting. In addition to this primary focus, I am also involved in projects studying homogenization of fish assemblages, and the effects of fishes on ecosystem processes. My study organisms are fishes and aquatic macroinvertebrates, and I have conducted studies in lakes, rivers, streams and experimental mesocosms
Dave taught at Austin College before he joined the faculty at University of North Carolina-Ashville, where he is currently an assistant professor.

  Punidan D. Jeyasingh

My research attempts to understand the mechanisms that generate and maintain genotypic diversity as well as phenotypic plasticity in major life-history traits. This task requires integrating information from diverse realms within biology (e.g., genetic attributes such as transcription to ecosystem attributes such as nutrient cycling). In the process, I also help refine the framework of ecological stoichiometry that may enable such integration.
Puni is an assistant professor at Oklahoma State.

  Xiaowen Wu

My name is Xiaowen Wu, from China. My English name is Annie. I am studying for a Ph.D degree in Dr.Yiqi Luo’s lab. My interest is Ecosystem Ecology. During my master studies, I focused on the impacts on ecosystem C and N cycles by invasive species, Spartina alterniflora. In the future, my research topic is mainly about simulating and predicting ecosystem’s response to the greenhouse effect.
Update: Xiaowen took a Masters degree and is in private industry in Houston.

  Shenfeng Fei feishenfeng at

I got my bachelor degree in Fudan University, Shanghai, China where I did the research in population biology, studying the invasive affects of alien species. I am now pursuing my PhD degree in Dr. Yiqi Luo's lab. I conduct field experimental approaches in Kessler Farm Field Laboratory and use modeling methods to analyze the impacts of global change on the ecosystem dynamics.
Update: Shenfeng took a Masters degree and is now in computer science program.
  George (Jianzhong) Lu

Master degree in Ecology at Fudan Univ., Shanghai, China in 2005, where I studied the invasive behavior of Solidago canadensis . I am now pursuing the ph D degree in Department of botany and microbiology. My current research will focused on the ecosystem level impact of global change, such as warming and elevated C02, through inversion modeling approaches. My goal is to predict the consequence more accurately for the future impact of the global change. My advisor is Yiqi Luo.
Jianzhong took a Masters degree and is in private industry in Houston.


Gabriel Costa

I did my undergraduate and Masters in Ecology at the University of Brasilia, Brazil. I am now a PhD student with Dr. Laurie Vitt.. My research interests include: Macroecology, distribution modeling, biogeography, natural history and conservation of reptiles and amphibians. My current research focuses on large-scale patterns of species richness, endemism, and the influence of abiotic/biotic factors in determining species distribution range limits. Gabriel's dissertation "Ecological niche modeling: integrating patterns of species richness, factors sharing geographical range limits, and conservation planning", received OU's award for outstanding Ph. D. Dissertation.

Update: My position is Adjunct Professor at the federal university of the Rio Grande do Norte State, in the city of Natal in the Northeast of Brazil.

  Jackie Paritte

My name is Jackie Paritte. I am originally from New Jersey and did my undergraduate work at Cook College at Rutgers University. For my Ph.D. with Dr. Jeff Kelly, I use stable isotope analysis to research the effects of vegetation change on the foraging specialization of birds in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico. I have worked a number of places, including Acadia and Hawaii Volcanoes National Parks. I also enjoy knitting and long walks on the beach.

Update: Jackie is a Veterinary Student at OSU


Ruediger Riesch

I studied Biology at the University of Hamburg, Germany (1996-2005) and graduated with a diploma in biology (major: zoology; minors: microbiology & applied botany) in August, 2003. The past four years I have worked on killer whale (Orcinus orca) acoustics, studying the resident killer whale populations of British Columbia, BC, Canada. For my PhD program, I am working with Dr. Ingo Schlupp on the life history of the amazon molly (Poecilia formosa) and the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). I will further try to investigate how life history traits relate to the maintenance of the stable coexistence in the P. latipinna/ P. formosa–mating complex.

Update: Rudi is a Lecturer at the University of London.

  Donoso David Donoso david_donosov at

I achieved a Licenciatura degree in Biological Sciences in Quito, Ecuador. My past research included studies on morphological variability of vampire bats skulls and a small taxonomic review in the ant genus Leptanilloides. I am pursuing a Ph.D. degree under Dr. Michael Kaspari. My current research interests aim to clarify the input of ants in natural communities and I am working on a taxonomic review of the ant genus Tatuidris using morphological and molecular data.

Update: David is a professor in the Departamento de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja , Ecuador

  Xia Xu Xia.Xu-1 at

I received my B.A. in Landscape Architecture and M.S. in Ecology at Nanjing Forestry University in China. Currently, I am a PhD student with Dr. Yiqi Luo. My research focuses on soil carbon cycling, especially under current global warming conditions. Different methods, such as 14C, incubation, 13C-NMR, are used to investigate the temperature sensitivity of the decomposition of soil organic carbon. Xu is now a postdoc in the Luo Lab.


Jonathan Shik

I study the evolution, ecology, and natural history of ants. My research combines field experiments in a Panamanian rainforest, respirometry studies of Oklahoma grassland ants, and comparative life history studies. I am a PhD candidate in the lab of Mike Kaspari.

Update: Jon holds two post docs: a Madame Curie PostDoc from the European Union and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Fellow.


Natalie Clay

I received a B.A. in Biology and Art at Colby College, Waterville, Maine  where I started usings ants as a model system to answer questions in ecology and behavior.  Most of my previous research has been in tropical ecosystems and I am currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. Michael Kaspari. I am interested in the effects of different abiotic constraints on trophic behavior.

Update: Natalie is a postdoc at Mississippi State University


Nyambayar Batbayar nyambayarb at ou.ed

I have a B.S. in biology from the National University of Mongolia. Then I studied nesting ecology of the cinereous vultures in central Mongolia for my M.S. at the Boise State University. Now I am pursing my PhD under the direction of Dr.Xiao at EOMF lab in OU. I am studying bird migration ecology using remote sensing data and methods. My study object is the bar-headed goose which is a waterbird that mostly occur in Central Asian fresh water lakes and rivers in summer and winter in India. I am interested in modeling breeding habitat, and migratory behavior, paths and timing in relation to environmental variables derived from satellite data..

Update: Nyambayar is the Director of the WIldlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia


Claire Curry

My current research focuses on the genetic and behavioral dynamics of an avian hybrid zone, using the Tufted (Baeolophus bicolor) and Black-crested Titmouse (B. atricristatus) species complex in Oklahoma and Texas as a model system. Hybrid zones such as this one, where two closely related species' ranges overlap, provide insight into gene flow and speciation mechanisms. Specifically, I am looking at how song, phenotype (plumage and morphology), mate choice, and genetics differ between younger and older hybrid zones. Studying both regions will add to our knowledge of hybrid zone dynamics by comparing different stages of secondary contact in a single species complex. I am a Ph.D. candidate working with Dr. Michael Patten. I received my B.S. in Biology with honors from the University of North Texas in 2007. My undergraduate thesis focused on how interspecific behavior differences affect aggressive interactions in the dragonfly Plathemis lydia (Odonata: Libellulidae). Additional research interests include speciation, environmental effects on signaling, competition, biogeography, and natural history of birds and insects, with a focus on prairie environments.

Update: Claire is a postdoc at the University of Manitoba


Pascal Irmscher

I discovered my fascination for unionid mussels during my MS research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where I investigated hydraulic parameters influencing the spatial distribution of freshwater mussels in the Upper Mississippi. As a member of Dr. Caryn Vaughn's lab, my present research focuses on juvenile dispersal strategies as part of the complex unionid reproductive cycle. After a parasitic larval stage, the juvenile mussel detaches from its fish host and sinks to the channel bottom whilst drifting downstream, to colonize existing mussel beds as well as new, suitable habitats. For my Ph.D. research, I plan to address (amongst others) the following two questions: (1) What mechanisms and processes are important for the dispersal and subsequent spatial distribution of juvenile mussels? (2) After accounting for hydraulic, morphological and behavioral factors, how does the spatial distribution of host fishes within a stream reach affect mussel dispersal and distribution? I will investigate these questions by conducting studies in the field, as well as by using experimental approaches in the laboratory. Besides promoting scientific knowledge, my findings will support management strategies that aim for detecting and protecting suitable freshwater mussel habitat worldwide.


Mingzi Xu

I graduated from Fudan University, China with B.S. degree in 2007. My past work had been concentrated on the local bird extinction in Sheshan area, Shanghai. I am now a Ph.D. student with Dr. Ola Fincke. My research interests include evolution, ecology and behavior of sexual signaling. My current researches focus on the female color polymorphism of damselflies in temperate region and UV reflectance of the giant damselfly in the tropics.

Update: Mingzi is a post doc at Cornell University

Personal website.

  Rich Zamor fraggle145 at

My research interests include most aspects of limnology and community ecology. I graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Zoology from e University of Oklahoma. Following this I completed my M.S. in forest resources (with a focuths on fish ecology) under Gary Grossman at the Univ. of Georgia. This research focused on the effects of turbidity on fish foraging. For my Ph.D. with Dr. David Hambright, I am researching the susceptibility of lake communities to golden algae (Prymnesium parvum). I am also interested the potential for self-toxicity within and between strains of golden algae.  I also enjoy anything to do with Sooner football.

Update: Rich is the Assistant Superintendent Water Biologist of the Grand River Dam Authority


Stephanie Strickler

I have a B.S. and M.S. in biology from The University of Tulsa, where I studied the costs and benefits of colonial living in the cliff swallow and later turned to examining the winter ecology of a virus transmitted to cliff swallows by the swallow bug, a blood sucking parasite. For my Ph.D. with Dr. Doug Mock, I am studying mechanisms and evolution of parent-offspring recognition. Specifically, I am using the colonial cave swallow to examine visual and vocal recognition between parents and young. Vocal recognition is known for many swallows, but the facial patterns of nestlings (i.e. white feathers) may provide a genetically-based and therefore more reliable signal, allowing parents to discriminate against unrelated young..

Update: Stephanie is teaching at John Carroll University

Last Updated
eeb at ou dot edu

Carla Atkinson

I I received my BS in biology with honors at Missouri State University in 2006. Following this, I completed my MS in ecology at the University of Georgia working under the direction of Dr. Alan Covich. I am an aquatic ecologist primarily interested in community and ecosystem ecology in the context of food webs. Food webs link ecosystems through the movement of nutrients and energy. Understanding the functional roles species play through the coupling of energy and nutrient movement is imperative to ecosystems. This information allows us to better understand how changes in ecological communities are influencing ecosystems as a whole. Freshwater mussels are an interesting group to study within freshwater habitats due to their role of coupling benthic and pelagic areas of aquatic systems. For my PhD, I am working under Dr. Caryn Vaughn, studying the functional roles freshwater mussels and other aquatic invertebrates under variable environmental conditions in stream habitat

Update: Carla is now on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham