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

Two OEB Students Awarded 1st and 2nd Place in the 8th annual Life Sciences Graduare Research Symposium

Alison Fowler won first place and John Swenson won second place for their oral presentations in the 8th annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium on November 30. Alison presented her research on the effects of sunflower pollen on wild bumble bee health and reproduction. John, who is a first year student, presented his Master's research research into the evolution and development of cephalic lobes aka the 'horns' of the devil ray. (Link to associated paper) 

Chaise Gilbert selected as a winner in FASEB's 2018 BioArt competition

OEB student Michael Chaise Gilbert was selected as one of the winners of this year's BioArt competition at the Federation of American Societies For Experimental Biology (FASEB). His "Zebrafish Skeletal Image Showing Bone and Cartilage" image won in the Anatomy category. The image of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) shows the bone (green) and the cartilage (red) that comprises the skeleton. Researchers are using this image, and ones like it, to better identify how a mutation in the primary cilia can affect skeletal development, structure, and morphology.(Read more...)

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.