About OEB

OEB provides interdepartmental training for MS and PhD students in ecology, animal behavior, organismal biology and evolutionary biology. Graduate students, post-docs, and faculty study biological processes ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem level, often bridging the gap between basic and applied research. Our faculty and students conduct research in four broad areas:

Animal Behavior: Behavioral ecology, communication, learning
Ecology: Community ecology, population ecology, landscape ecology, conservation biology
Evolutionary Biology: Evolution, phylogenetics, population genetics, molecular evolution
Organismal Biology: Physiology, morphology, paleontology

News & Announcements

Ragweed may follow climate change northward

Professor Kristina Stinson

A new predictive model suggests that climate change may allow common ragweed to extend its growing range northward and into major northeast metro areas, worsening conditions for millions of people with hay fever and asthma. 

Plant ecologist Kristina Stinson, Environmental Conservation, who leads a research team that has been studying this plant for over a decade – particularly how it responds to elevated CO2 levels – worked with climate modeler and corresponding author Michael Case at University of Washington on this project. Details appear online in the journal PLOS One, and were also featured in The Daily Hampshire Gazette, as well as University of Washington News. Read more

Eyes on the prize: What jumping spiders do with eight eyes

jumping_spider_Jakob

Using a specially designed eye-tracker for use with spiders, biologists Elizabeth Jakob, OEB Alumna Skye Long and Adam Porter at UMass, along with colleagues in New York and New Zealand, report in a new paper that their tests in jumping spiders show a secondary set of eyes is crucial to the principal eyes’ ability to track moving stimuli. Read more

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez wins Best Student Presentation Award at the 2018 National Diversity in STEM Conference

OEB PhD student Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez won the Best Student Presentation Award at the annual Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) meeting which was held in San Antonio, TX in October 2018.  Her work “Evaluating the Impact of Overnight En Route Weather over the Gulf of Mexico on Lean Mass of Spring Migrants” investigates direct impacts of temperature and humidity on the body condition of migratory birds after flying non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico, a minimum distance of almost 1000 km.  Mariamar captured songbirds during spring migration on a barrier island off the coast of Florida and measured body condition using Quantitative Magnetic Resonance Body Composition Analysis, and investigated the climatic variables that explained arrival lean body mass. Mariamar is a fourth year PhD candidate in Dr. Alexander Gerson’s lab. 

8th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

Bees’ Medicine Chest Should Include Sunflower Pollen, UMass Amherst Study Suggests

A new study by Jonathan Giacomini and his former advisor, evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with others, found that eating sunflower pollen dramatically and consistently reduced a protozoan pathogen infection in bumble bees and reduced a microsporidian pathogen of the European honey bee, raising the possibility that sunflowers may provide a simple solution to improve the health of economically and ecologically important pollinators. Read more