Want to know more about the scientists behind each Data Nugget? Click on their name for a link to their professional websites, or on their Data Nugget to learn more about their research!

 NameInstitutionAbout MeData Nuggets
mbanvilleMélanie BanvilleArizona State UniversitySince she was young, Melanie has had a keen interest for wildlife which led her to pursue a B.S. in Zoology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Shortly after her graduation, she left Canada to travel and work in the United States. She has been working as a professional wildlife biologist on a wide variety of wildlife-related projects for over a decade, eight of which were in the desert southwest. Melanie truly believes that a better understanding of urban ecology is of fundamental importance for the future of all living organisms as our urban boundaries expand and put more pressure on our ecological resources.Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!
barbasch_photoTina BarbaschBoston UniversityI first became interested in science catching frogs and snakes in my backyard in Ithaca, NY. This inspired me to major in Biology at Cornell University, located in my hometown. As an undergraduate, I studied male competition and sperm allocation in the local spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum). After graduating, I joined the Peace Corps and spent 2 years in Morocco teaching environmental education and 6 months in Liberia teaching high school chemistry. As a PhD student in the Buston Lab, I study how parents negotiate over parental care in my study system the clownfish (Amphiprion percula), otherwise known as Nemo.Raising Nemo: Parental care in the clown anemonefish
hbatemanHeather BatemanArizona State UniversityI am a field ecologist and conservation biologist interested in how human land-use affects vertebrate populations and habitats. As Earth’s ecosystems move into a future of growing human influence, restoring the integrity of these ecosystems will become central to the conservation of biodiversity. Human activities tend to perturb ecosystems by suppressing natural disturbances such as flooding or fire. This can lead to a decline in native species and proliferation of non-native species. My research interests lie in exploring population responses to habitat alteration, with a particular interest in amphibians, reptiles, and birds.Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!
4821680Harriet BoothNortheastern UniversityHarriet is interested in how species interactions drive community structure and dynamics in coastal ecosystems as well as how these interactions are altered by human influence. Her graduate research will focus on predator-prey dynamics in a subtidal oyster reef system in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. Specifically, she is examining the combined effects of intraspecific trait diversity and density of stone crabs on oyster survival and growth over time. The mystery of Plum Island Marsh
carrie-branchCarrie BranchUniversity of Nevada RenoI have been interested in animal behavior and behavioral ecology since my second year in college at the University of Tennessee. I research how variation in ecology and environment affect communication and signaling in birds. I have also studied various types of memory and am interested in how animals learn and use information depending on how their environment varies over space and time. Once I finish my PhD I hope to become a professor at a university so that I can continue to conduct research and teach students about animal behavior. In my spare time I love hiking with my friends and dogs, and watching comedies!Finding Mr. Right
robert-buchsbaum-headshot_mediumRobert BuchsbaumMass AudubonRobert enjoys sharing his knowledge and passion for the natural world and is a frequent trip leader and lecturer for Mass Audubon and other environmental groups. His particular interests include marine and coastal habitats, wildflowers, birds, climate change, and alpine ecology. Robert is Mass Audubon’s Regional Scientist in the Southeast, Cape, and Islands Region and has been a staff scientist here since 1987. Make way for mummichogs & Does sea level rise harm saltmarsh sparrows?
20140702-JLH-Kristi-Bugajski-003Kristi BugajskiValparaiso UniversityKristi specializes in the area of forensic entomology. Forensic entomology looks at how insects are used in a court of law. Her specialty is medico-legal forensic entomology, or how maggots can be used to estimate the amount of time that has passed since death. She is interested in oviposition timing and factors that influence oviposition.CSI: Crime Solving Insects
Smiley-150x150Hans DamUniversity of Connecticut-Avery PointI am a biological oceanographer. My research interests are in the biology, ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms, particularly pelagic copepods. Earlier in my career I investigated questions dealing with the role of planktonic organisms in biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, and the formation and fate of marine aggregates. Recently, my interests have broadened to deal with questions of the evolutionary ecology of plankton. Dangerous aquatic prey: can predators adapt to toxic algae?
603798_10152751058695133_1302343582_nSarah Davies University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & University of Texas at AustinI am largely interested in the factors that influence species ranges and species’ potential for adaptation, acclimatization, or dispersal to new habitats in the face of climate change. My work at UNC focuses on understanding the transcriptomic responses of coral host and symbionts to ocean warming and acidification.Won’t you be my urchin?
deserClara DeserNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchClara Deser studies global climate variability and climate change in observations and models, with an emphasis on interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice. Recent projects include the role of internal variability in regional climate change, the effects of projected Arctic sea ice loss on global climate, asymmetries between El Nino and La Nina, and Pacific decadal variability.The Arctic is Melting – So What?
1449132Leila DesotelleMichigan State UniversityMy research explores how food web subsidies can influence communities. I study the Kalamazoo River, which has several dams. Dams change the flow of the water and can increase the production of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton can act as a subsidy both temporally and spatially. Stream insect communities change along the river, and some of this response is to the subsidy from dams. Rivers frequently have multiple dams though many are aging and will be removed in the coming decades. Therefore, understanding how dams change food sources is important for the management of rivers.Float down the Kalamazoo River
LizDuffLiz DuffMass Audubon, Salt Marsh Science ProjectLiz coordinates environmental education in the Great Marsh Region and beyond, primarily in salt marshes and other coastal ecosystems. She provides professional development workshops and courses for teachers. She is conducting long term ecological research with middle and high school students, investigating invasive Phragmites. Liz engages students in stewardship projects, and she is passionate about her work teaching about climate change, working to raise awareness about rising sea levels, and to inspire actions and plan for the future.Make way for mummichogs & Invasive reeds in the salt marsh & Can a salt marsh recover after restoration?
everettMeredith EverettUniversity of WashingtonMy research interests are in how organisms interact with and adapt to their environments on a genomic scale, and how knowledge of these interactions can be applied to conservation and management solutions. My initial SNP discovery research transformed to now focus on developing novel genomic maps for Pacific salmonids and using these maps to discover the genomic regions associated with ecological traits through QTL and association mapping. I am also involved in a project using SNPs to track sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska.Salmon in hot water
mf_profileMichael Finiguerra University of Connecticut-Avery PointMy PhD dissertation investigated the evolution of tolerance to toxins. Today I am a professor at the University of Connecticut, Teaching is my passion. I love interacting with students and coaching them through complex problems. To me, science is more than intellectual content. It is a lens through which to teach critical thinking. Helping my students become independent critical thinkers is my goal. I use my research as a tool for teaching; it connects the real-world to classroom lectures and gives student much needed hands-on experience, in both laboratory and field-settings. Dangerous aquatic prey: can predators adapt to toxic algae?
Iniyan GanesanIniyan GanesanMichigan State UniversityI am interested in the pore size of the chloroplast TOC and TIC protein translocons as well as the degree of folding present in proteins as they pass through chloroplast outer and inner membranes. My area of specialization is Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genomics.Cheaters in nature – when is a mutualism not a mutualism?
2013-02-25 18.11.57Eben GeringMichigan State UniversityOne of the most exciting things I learned as a college student was that natural populations sometimes evolve very quickly. Biologists used to think evolution was too slow to be studied “in action”, so their research focused on evolutionary changes that occurred over thousands (or even millions) of years. I study feral animal populations to learn how rapid evolutionary changes help them survive and reproduce, without direct help from us.Feral chickens fly the coop
Anne-GiblinAnne GiblinMarine Biological Laboratory & Plum Island Ecosystems LTERMy major research interest has been on the cycling of elements in the environment, especially the biogeochemistry of nitrogen, sulfur, iron, and phosphorus. Much of my work has been focused in soils and sediments where element cycling takes place under different conditions of oxidation and reduction. Much of my current research focuses on the nitrogen cycle and has been centered on understanding how ecosystems respond to high nutrient inputs from wastewater and fertilizer.Keeping up with the sea level
kgKristine GraysonUniversity of RichmondI received my PhD in 2010 from the University of Virginia under the mentorship of Dr. Henry Wilbur. I got an NSF International Research Fellowship to Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand to conduct research on sex-ratio bias under climate change in tuatara, an endemic reptile. One of my claims to fame is capturing the state record holding snapping turtle for North Carolina – 52 pounds! In addition to my passion for amphibian and reptile conservation, my current work also examines the spread potential of gypsy moth, an invasive forest pest in North America.When a species can’t stand the heat
Skye GreenlerSkye GreenlerColorado College & USDAThrough independent research with an REU at Michigan State University on nitrogen cycling in prairies and in Costa Rica on bird populations in agroforest ecosystems I have an understanding of research design, field methods, and statistics. I have also worked as a field technician with the USDA ARS in Fort Collins, CO, in a biofuels and agronomy lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and as a laboratory technician in an ocular pathology lab at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.Is chocolate for the birds?
dr-fowleriTravis HageyMichigan State University, BEACONEver since Travis was a kid, he was interested in animals and wanted to be a paleontologist. He even had many dinosaur names memorized to back it up! In college he discovered evolutionary biology, which drove him to apply for graduate school and become a scientist. There, he fell in love with comparative biomechanics, which combines evolutionary biology and mechanical engineering. Today Travis studies geckos and their sticky toes that allow them to scale surfaces like glass windows and tree branches.Sticky situations: big and small animals with sticky feet
hammondMark HammondMichigan State UniversityMark is the Lau lab research technician and resident natural history, lab, and greenhouse guru. He manages all projects in the lab, is a great resource for grad students, and mentors summer researchers. Research in the lab focuses on community ecology and evolutionary ecology. We study how plant populations respond to human-cased environmental change, the ecology and evolution of species interactions, and natural selection in the wild.Invasion meltdown & Springing forward
adam_under_hoodAdam HeckColorado State UniversityI am a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry and Entrepreneurial Studies. Currently, I am continuing my education as a PhD graduate student at Colorado State University in Cell/Molecular Biology en route to a career in biomedical research.Gene expression in stem cells
richard.t.holmesRichard HolmesHubbard Brook Experimental Forest & Dartmouth CollegeRichard is a Research Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, where he is also Harris Professor of Environmental Biology Emeritus. He lives in Grantham, NH.Bye bye birdie? Part 1 & Part 2
chopkinsonCharles HopkinsonUniversity of Georgia & Marine Biological LaboratoryI have been studying estuaries since graduate school and in collaboration with colleagues from around the world, but especially here at Georgia and in Louisiana and Massachusetts (MBL). Estuaries are the most productive natural ecosystems of the world because they receive nutrient and water subsidies from every land use upstream and because of tidal pumping. It’s their location relative to land inputs however that also makes them vulnerable to N-enrichment and eutrophication.Urbanization and estuary eutrophication
Kenkel, CarlyCarly KenkelUniversity of Texas at Austin & Australian Institute of Marine ScienceI received my PhD in 2014 in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from the University of Texas at Austin. My dissertation research investigated the genetic and physiological basis of local adaptation in coral, using Porites astreoides in the Florida Keys as a model system. In addition, I conducted several other studies to develop gene expression biomarkers as a tool for reef managers to rapidly assess stress in natural coral populations.Coral bleaching and climate change
kinsmanLauren Kinsman-CostelloKent State University & Michigan State UniversityI am an ecosystem ecologist interested in the effects of hydrology on aquatic nutrient biogeochemistry and ecosystem function. My research aims to inform larger questions about the resilience of ecosystems faced with environmental change and the ability of humans to manage, restore, and create ecosystems. A recurring theme in my research is the role that sediments play in freshwater ecosystem function (mud matters!).Marvelous mud
IMG_3984Melissa KjelvikMichigan State University & Data NuggetsI am a postdoctoral researcher and co-founder of Data Nuggets. I completed my PhD in Zoology and EEBB at the Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Gary Mittelbach’s Lab. For my research I work with juvenile bluegill sunfish. I am interested in how fitness tradeoffs may lead to the maintenance of individual-level biodiversity, particularly in the behaviors of fish. Dangerously bold
alyciaAlycia LackeyMichigan State University & Murray State UniversityMy research lies at the intersection of evolution, ecology, and behavior. I am interested to examine how populations evolve in response to the environment, especially in cases of environmental change. I study what generates, maintains, and erodes diversity within and between populations. In my Ph.D. research, I explored the evolution of reproductive isolation between limnetic and benthic threespine stickleback fish species pairs. I examined both how divergent sexual and natural selection maintained distinct species and how environmental change facilitated hybridization between one species pair. I am enthusiastic about teaching, mentoring, and outreach.Which guy should she choose? & Fish fights
larsonWesley LarsonUniversity of WashingtonMy graduate research is focused on the use of genotyping by sequencing to acquire data from Chinook salmon populations in western Alaska; these data will provide conservation options and new insights into local adaptation. I am also interested processes influencing variation in the genes of the major histocompatibility complex.Salmon in hot water
jen_lau_2-150Jen LauMichigan State UniversityI am an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding the full range of ways that plant populations respond to changing environmental conditions. Much of my work focuses on how rapid environmental changes (e.g., biological invasions, rising CO2 concentrations, and global climate change) impact population dynamics, species interactions, and the evolution of plant populations.Invasion meltdown & Springing forward
michaelmartinMichael MartinUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County & University of ArizonaI started my college career as an engineer, but after taking a zoology class I was hooked on biology. I was amazed by the millions of different types of animals that have lived, and currently live, on Earth. I needed to know how so many different types of animals evolved, and so I decided to study the process of speciation. I am currently working in a group of stream fish, called darters, to try and learn how differences in mating behavior might lead to new animal species. This work has led me to a more general interest in animal behavior that I now study in fruit flies as well.Are you my species?
erinErin McCulloughUniversity of Western AustraliaI am fascinated by morphological diversity, and my research aims to understand the selective pressures that drive (and constrain) the evolution of animal form. Competition for mates is a particularly strong evolutionary force, and I study how sexual selection has contributed to the elaborate and diverse morphologies found throughout the animal kingdom. Using horned beetles as a model system, I am interested in how male-male competition has driven the evolution of diverse weapon morphologies, and how sexual selection has shaped the evolution of physical performance capabilities.Beetle battles
MorrisJimWebJames MorrisUniversity of South CarolinaMy research spans the basic and applied aspects of the physiological ecology of plants adapted to wetland habitats and the biogeochemistry and systems ecology of wetlands, primarily salt and freshwater intertidal wetlands. We take an approach that combines field work, analytical chemistry, and numerical modeling.Is your salt marsh in the zone?
novak-bioAlyssa NovakCenter for Coastal Studies, Boston UniversityI am a coastal ecologist who uses a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches to understand how coastal ecosystems experience and respond to stressors. The ultimate goal of my research is to provide information that facilitates initiatives to enhance ecosystem resilience. I have worked extensively in seagrass systems. Recently, I expanded my work to salt marsh systems and am investigating marsh-edge subsidence and its relationship to the invasive European green crab.Green Crabs: Invaders in the Great Marsh
828_Ali Mugshot 250pixAlison O’DonnellUniversity of Western AustraliaI have a broad research interest in biogeography and landscape ecology in relation to climate variability and fire regimes. I am particularly interested in utilising dendrochronology (tree ring) techniques to understand past climates and fire regimes of arid and semi-arid regions in Western Australia. I also have an ongoing interest in improving understanding of the interactions between climate and fire and vegetation, topography and ecosystem processes.What do trees know about rain?
1368734335Gal RibakTel-Aviv University, IsraelGal’s field of research covers comparative biomechanics and ecophysiology of locomotion in animals. He studies the biomechanical, physiological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape the diversity of animal abilities to move (e.g. fly, swim jump) through their natural environment. The flight of the stalk-eyed fly
9CB91B30-155D-E635-18608A03FB74AFF6_mediumAshlee RoweMichigan State UniversityI am interested in sensory and motor systems and their role in the evolution of adaptive behavior, particularly traits that mediate interactions between animals. My ultimate goal is to understand how animals adapt to their environment. My research program is integrative and focuses on understanding the biochemical, molecular, genetic and physiological bases of adaptive behavior. To address these questions, I study traits that are at the interface of species interactions.A tail of two scorpions
Ashlee & Matt Rowe 2Matt RoweMichigan State UniversityMy research in behavioral ecology uses integrative approaches to study coevolution between predators and prey. These dynamic interactions show remarkable sophistication, from ground squirrels using rattling they provoke in rattlesnakes to assess the body size and temperature of their reptilian enemies, to grasshopper mice capable of feeding on highly neurotoxic scorpions because of subtle modifications in the mouse’s peripheral nerves. My conservation biology research examines habitat selection and habitat requirements in vertebrates.A tail of two scorpions
leileiLTERLeilei RuanMichigan State University & University of California, BerkeleyLeilei is studying the effects of nitrogen fertilizers on greenhouse gas emissions, a project that will help to maximize crop productivity while reducing emissions. In another research project, Ruan examines biofuel crops. “Most people think that if we use biofuel crops, what we burn doesn’t increase or decrease carbon in the atmosphere,” said Ruan. His research studies that question.Fertilizing biofuels may cause release of greenhouse gasses
gsanfordGregg SanfordGLBRC, University of Wisconsin-MadisonGregg is responsible for the management of a 40 acre intensive biofuel cropping systems trial located at the UW agricultural research station in Arlington, WI. He was involved in the design and implementation of 3 new bioenergy cropping systems trials in WI. Gregg conducts independent research related to the sustainable production of dedicated bioenergy crops with an emphasis on soil quality metrics such as carbon pools and dynamics.Growing energy: comparing biofuel crop biomass
schemske_dougDoug SchemskeMichigan State UniversityThe goal of my research is to characterize the mechanisms of adaptation. This requires information on both the ecological significance of putative adaptive traits as well as an understanding of their genetic basis. Such comprehensive studies are extremely difficult to accomplish; thus it is perhaps not surprising that our current knowledge of adaptation is inadequate. A central theme of my work is the link between temporal and spatial variation in ecological conditions and the adaptive differentiation of populations and species. I rely on ecological and genetic approaches to investigate the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. Winter is coming! Can you handle the freeze?
Elizabeth SchultheisMichigan State University & Data NuggetsI am a postdoctoral researcher and co-founder of Data Nuggets. I completed my PhD in Plant Biology and EEBB at the Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Jen Lau’s Lab. My dissertation research examined the role of biotic interactions during invasion and how release from enemies could drive the success of invasive plants.Do insects prefer local or foreign foods? & Do invasive species escape their enemies? & Springing forward
screenJames ScreenUniversity of ExeterMy research examines climate varaibility and change in the polar regions, and the effects these changes on the global climate system. My research utilises a combination of observational analyses and numerical modeling to elucidate the physical drivers of climate variability on seasonal and longer timescales, and the two-way interactions between polar and lower-latitude regions. Currently, my research focusses on exploring how the inexorable retreat of Arctic sea ice effects extreme weather in Europe and the U.S.The Arctic is Melting – So What?
Jim-Seeb1-528x528Jim SeebUniversity of WashingtonMy research focuses on identifying genetic differences that distinguish one Pacific salmon population from another. My current work uses genetic markers to track the migration of adult salmon in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. My wife, Lisa Seeb, and I run the program which provides an important intersection between the Alaska Salmon Program and the SAFS Molecular Ecology Research Laboratory to conduct both basic and applied research. We want to better understand the genetic mechanisms underlying how salmon respond to environmental change.Salmon in hot water
msuresearchjpg-8020ab42df67cf3cIurii ShcherbakMichigan State UniversityNitrogen-based fertilizers spur greenhouse gas emissions by stimulating microbes in the soil to produce more nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is the third most important greenhouse gas, behind only carbon dioxide and methane, and also destroys stratospheric ozone. Agriculture accounts for around 80 percent of human-caused nitrous oxide emissions worldwide, which have increased substantially in recent years, primarily due to increased nitrogen fertilizer use.The ground has gas!
scientistsPaula StollerValparaiso UniversityI am a hardworking and dedicated person who is personable and enjoys interacting with others. I am also a public speaker. My biggest academic goal is to graduate from Valparaiso University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Science. I would like to go onto graduate school and pursue a Master's in Entomology. I am very passionate about the environment as well.CSI: Crime Solving Insects
Lantao_SunLantao SunUniversity of Colorado at Boulder & National Center for Atmospheric ResearchI am currently a research scientist at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL).The arctic is melting – so what?
img_0287Tomomi SuwaMichigan State UniversityI am broadly interested in population, community, and evolutionary ecology in agricultural and natural systems. I work on topics including plant-insect interactions, biological invasions, and plant-microbe symbiosis. I completed my PhD in Plant Biology and EEBB at the Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Jen Lau’s Lab. My dissertation research examined the role of resource mutualisms in plant adaptation to abiotic environments.Does a partner in crime make it easier to invade?
johnswallowJohn SwallowUniversity of Colorado, DenverMy research fits into the context of evolutionary physiology, focusing largely on how morphology, physiology, and behavior evolve together as an integrated phenotype. I use stalk-eyed flies as a model system to investigate how evolution, driven by sexual selection (e.g. ornamentation that serves as secondary sexual signals), conflicts with locomotor performance and, ultimately, fitness. Sexual selection provides a selective engine with the ability to drive large changes in suites of behavioral, physiological and morphological characters with the potential for rapid speciation. Research in my lab includes ecological, organismal, biomechanical and behavioral approaches.How to escape a predator & The flight of the stalk-eyed fly & How do brain chemicals influence who wins a fight?
robinRobin TinghitellaUniversity of DenverWork in our lab centers on the roles of ecology and behavior in rapid evolutionary change. We work with real organisms in their real habitats, and also use laboratory experimentation and phylogenetic tools to understand the forces that shape diversity in animal communication and social systems. Recently, we’ve been thinking a lot about the consequences of anthropogenic change for sexual selection.How the cricket lost its song Part 1 & Part 2
turnell-headshotBiz TurnellCornell University & Dresden University of TechnologyI am interested in how sexual selection drives evolution, and in the interplay between pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection. For my PhD work at Cornell University I studied a Hawaiian cricket, quantifying the different stages of sexual selection in the field and developing a mathematical model of strategic sperm allocation. As a postdoc at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany I will investigate how sperm metabolism changes in female storage organs, and whether these changes can explain the differences in sperm use patterns we see in different species of Drosophila.Bon Appétit! Why do male crickets feed females during courtship?
243328Martha WeissGeorgetown UniversityMy research focuses on the role of behavior, by both plants and insects, in mediating interactions among the two groups of organisms. The sensory and behavioral attributes of insects, including vision, taste, smell, and touch, as well as a capacity to learn and remember, ultimately shape the insects' ability to interact with and exert selection on plants and on other insects. Similarly, the active behavior of plants allows them to take advantage of insects' sensory and behavioral capabilities. Shooting the poop
me-at-Grand-TetonDanielle WhittakerMichigan State University, BEACONMy current work focuses on avian chemical communication, addressing the following questions: what information is present in a bird's odor, what can birds detect, and what are their preferences when it comes to choosing a mate? Sexy smells
img_0117Amy WorthingtonCreighton University & Washington State UniversityI strive to help my students attain a broader scientific literacy that will serve them long after their formal education is complete. Specifically, I want my students to learn how science works, why it is an ever-changing field, what the scientific method is and how to use it, how to critically evaluate science in the news, and how to effectively communicate science to both peers and laypeople. I particularly enjoy engaging with the general public about science and I frequently seek out unique opportunities to interact with people of all ages. How to escape a predator