Christopher Acy christopher.acy at ou.edu

Although my interests are widespread, I am most interested in aquatic invasive species ecology and management. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Lawrence University in 2015 after completing an honors project on varying procedures to disinfect the invasive New Zealand Mud Snail from aquatic equipment. I am currently pursuing a PhD in the lab of Dr. Dave Hambright.

Lab Website



Amy Adams amy.e.adams at ou.edu

I am a Ph.D student co-advised by Dr. Ken Hobson and Dr. Michael Patten. I graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, with a concentration in conservation, with minors in sustainability studies and interdisciplinary studies, and with an international distinction. As an undergraduate, I became interested in what determines species distributions and abundances, which led to research and work experiences involving Great Barrier Reef dinoflagellates and invertebrates, Panamanian rainforests, New Mexican endangered species and forest-dwelling arthropods, and a Colorado grass-endophyte association. I plan to develop an ecological and entomological Ph.D. project that may include resource pulses and arthropod community and population responses to disturbance.

    Mehrnaz Afkhami Mehrnaz.Afkhami-1 at ou.edu

Rajen Bajgain rajen at ou.edu

My primary interest is exploring the relationship between micro-meteorological factors and vegetation feedback under changing climate using Eddy Covariance methods. Major research areas include canopy-atmosphere exchange processes, measurement of fluxes, analyzing and modeling remote sensing data of land surface processes and drought monitoring using remote sensing data.

Personal Website Lab Website

    Elizabeth Besozzi ebesozzi at ou.edu
    Steven Bittner Steven.M.Bittner-1 at ou.edu

Michelle Busch buschmh at ou.edu

Michelle graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014. As an undergraduate she worked primarily in the Cardinale Lab with algal communities that could best be converted to biofuels. Once she graduated, she worked with a non-profit in Uganda and as a lab technician at the University of Houston; focusing on plant-soil-feedback interactions in the Crawford Lab. She hopes to study how anthropogenic effects impact macroinvertebrate communities, hydrology, trophic level interactions, and food webs for her dissertation.

Lab Website


Carolyn Burt carburt at gmail.com

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


Karen Castillioni castilioniik at ou.edu Webpage

My name is Karen Castillioni. I am a PhD student advised by Dr. Lara Souza. I graduated from UNESP (Sao Paulo State University, Brazil) in 2009 with a B.S. in Biology. In 2015, I received my Master’s degree at the same university. As a Master’s student, I assessed the effects of management techniques to control African invasive grasses in a Cerrado Preserve. Currently, I am interested in the role of drought in shaping the structure and function of communities with a focus in grasslands. My main research interests are on biological conversation, climate change effects, biological invasions and restoration ecology.


    Quing Chang n at ou.edu

Russell Doughty Russell.Doughty at ou dot edu

My interest in drought, climate, weather, and biogeochemical nutrient cycling performed by forested landscapes at large spatiotemporal scales is what brought me to OU to pursue a PhD. Using remote sensing technology under the guidance of Dr. Xiangming Xiao, I hope to model carbon and water fluxes over time for the Ouachita Highlands of southeast Oklahoma. I’m a 4th-generation Oklahoman from Talihina. After high school, I earned a BA at Grinnell College (2005) and a Master of Natural Resources from Oregon State University (2014). I returned to Oklahoma in 2013 to work for a non-profit that advocates for the scientific and sustainable management of Oklahoma’s water. I often describe myself as a three-legged stool. My eccentric background is very rich in computer, social, and natural sciences.

Personal webpage.


Samuel Eliades sjeliades at ou.edu

I am a PhD student working with Dr. Cam Siler at the Sam Noble Museum. I received a B.S. in Zoology from North Carolina State University in 2017. As an undergraduate, I completed independent research projects on the systematics of Cyrtodactylus, Gekko, and Hemiphyllodactylus in Laos. It was through these projects that I developed an interest in Southeast Asian herpetology. As a PhD student in the Siler Lab, I am primarily focused on phylogenetics, biogeography, and conservation of Southeast Asian reptiles and amphibians.

Lab webpage.


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

  Katherine Goodenough kgoodenough at ou.edu

II completed my undergraduate at Humboldt State University (California), and I received my MS in ecology from San Diego State University (California) in 2014. There is evidence that some landbird species are likely to complement changes in migratory strategy with changes in key migratory traits which are important for flight efficiency, but relatively few research projects have tested whether this morphological plasticity occurs in seabirds. My aim at OU is to use a seabird model, the Black Skimmer, to assess whether coastal nesting seabirds are also able to complement changes in migration strategy with changes in key migratory traits. My research interests aside from seabirds and migration are predator-prey dynamics (intraguild predation fascinates me), parasitism and its value in the coastal beach system, and ecological applications of stable isotopes. I also like to tinker and develop new field techniques combining old methods with newer applications such as combining radio telemetry and stable isotopes to better understand seasonal variation in diet and movements
  Thayer Hallidayschult
Thayer at ou.edu

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.
    Edward Higgins Edward.D.Higgins-1 at ou.edu

David Hille dhille at ou.edu

I I am enthralled with the world of avian ecology, conservation biology, and biogeography. I am currently applying these research interests in the context of the Neotropics of Central America, where I have spent a transformative portion of my life. I study the population trends and related conservation questions of the avian family Psittacidae (parrots, parakeets, & macaws) in the country of Nicaragua. In addition to knowing what is occurring with the populations of these 16 species I am interested in questions such as: What is the cause of the determined population trends? Does Nicaragua's protected areas system efficiently protect the species of highest conservation concern? Based on species distributions and conservation inadequacies, which regions of the country warrant the greatest conservation attention. My goals are to greater understand the population dynamics of these magnificent neotropical birds under constant anthropogenic threat and pressure and to investigate how conservation efforts and management strategies can best be implemented by local government agencies and NGOs. I have a B.A. in Biology from Northwest Nazarene University and a M.S. in Biology from University of Oklahoma. I work under the advising of Michael Patten.

Lab Webpage


Rachel Hartnett rhartnett at ou.edu

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


Katherine Hooker khooker at ou.edu

I earned my B.S. in Biology from Baylor University in 2014, after which I worked as a field technician in the King Aquatic Ecology lab studying the effects of phosphorus loads on stream ecosystems in Oklahoma and Arkansas. I am currently pursuing a PhD with Dr. K.D. Hambright. My research interests include cyanobacteria and harmful algae blooms (HABs): specifically, their ecology, detection strategies, and management practices. I am developing effective ways to detect these blooms using a combination of remote sensing and qPCR, and am also interested in the microbial communities associated with HABs.

Lab Webpage


Kyle Horton Hortonkg at ou.edu

I received my B.S. in Biology from Canisius College, Buffalo, NY in 2011. As an undergraduate I studied avian migration along the east-coast of the United States, examining stopover ecology and nocturnal flight calls of passerines. I continued my studies in avian migration at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE where I earned my M.S. in Wildlife Ecology under Jeff Buler in 2013. It was during my studies as a master’s student that I began my interest in radar aeroecology, the central theme of my current Ph.D work at OU under Jeff Kelly. I am interested in migration theory, and techniques for answering broad behavioral questions using polarimetric radars. Specifically I am examining tendencies of wind drift compensation, evolution of nocturnal orientation fields, and large-scale phenological patterns of nocturnal migrants


Emily Hjalmarson ehjalmarson at ou.edu

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


Emily Kiehnau emily.l.kiehnau at ou.edu

I earned a B.A. in Biology from Lawrence University in 2015. I am currently a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Larry Weider and I am interested in the fields of aquatic and evolutionary ecology. I am particularly interested in exploring the effect that sediment egg banks have on the ecology and evolution of Daphnia populations.I am working in the lab of Dr. Larry Weider.

Lab Website


Du Ling lingdu at ou.edu

I have background of remote sensing and geographic information system in forests. My research experiences mainly include forest carbon estimation and urban heat island effect monitoring under global warming. In my doctoral study, my research interests may concentrate on ecosystem modelling and forest ecosystem responses to global climate change.

Lab Webpage


Jonathan Lopez Jonathan.W.Lopez at ou.edu

I am an ecologist focusing on freshwater mussels. I am interested in how mussels impact the biological communities and ecosystems around them through nutrient cycles like calcium, carbon, and nitrogen.

Lab Webpage


Jane Lucas jane.m.lucas-1 at ou.edu

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

    Jessica McLaughlin Jessica.F.Mclaughlin-1 at ou.edu
  Traci Popejoy tracypopejoy at ou dot edu

I earned my MS in applied geography from the University of orth Texas. For my master's thesis, I compared freshwater mussel shells from two archaeological sites to a contemporary survey and discussed the conservation implications. I am interested in biogeography and community ecology in freshwater systems. Currently, I am in Dr. Caryn Vaughn’s lab researching nutrient cycling in Oklahoma streams. .

Rebecca Prather rebeccaprather at ou dot edu

Rebecca is from Boerne, Texas. She graduated with a BS in Biology with honors from George Washington University. While there she studied mechanisms of coexistence within Temnothorax by looking at niche partitioning as well as inter- and intraspecific competition. Rebecca is working in the lab of Dr. Michael Kaspari. Her current interests include tropical ecology and the effects of habitat complexity on arthropod performance and distribution.

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

    Golya Schahrokhi Golya.Shahrokhi at ou.edu

Montral Spikes spikesm at ou.edu


Kai Wang Kai.Wang-2 at ou.edu

Kai Wang obtained his B.S. from Washington State University in General Zoology in 2014, and he went to University of Oklahoma for his Master and PhD degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, working with Dr. Cameron Siler. Kai’s
research interests include taxonomy, systematics, and evolution of reptiles and amphibians from Indochina and Himalaya.

Personal Website Lab Website


Brent Tweedy brent.tweedy at ou.edu

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.

Personal Website Lab Website


Xiaocui Wu xiaocui.wu at ou.edu

I received my B.S. in GIS and M.S. in Environmental Remote Sensing from Nanjing University, China. My interests mainly centers on the responses and feedbacks of ecosystems to human disturbances and global climate change. Specifically, my research employs a combined toolset (ecological models, eddy-covariance, remote sensing, spatial analysis and so on) to explore the carbon, water and energy cycle between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems, and examine the responses of ecosystems to disturbances and climate change. My advisor is Professor Xiangming Xiao.

Lab Website


Yao Zhang yaozhang at ou.edu

I’m interested in the remote sensing application in the ecological research. Specifically, I’m working on the improvement of remote sensing data driven light use efficiency models and its application in regional and global carbon cycle studies. I’m also familiar with eddy covariance and sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence data. I work with Prof. Xiangming Xiao in the Earth Observing and Modeling Facility

Personal Website

    Zhenhua Zou zhua.zou at ou.edu