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

Podos Elected President of Animal Behavior Society

Professor Jeff Podos, Biology Department

Biology professor Jeff Podos has been elected the 2017-18 president of the Animal Behavior Society (ABS), the discipline’s principal scientific society in the Western Hemisphere. Read More

Laela Sayigh and team report progress in preventing mass dolphin strandings

OEB faculty member Laela Sayigh is lead investigator on a  team of researchers studying dolphins at Wellfleet Harbor on Cape Cod. This team may have found a way to prevent mass stranding events by listening to dolphin whistles (read more)

LSGRC 7th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium, Friday, November 17!

LSGRC 7th Annual Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium

The 7th annual UMass Life Sciences Graduate Research Symposium will be held on Friday, November 17. The event brings together graduate students from all areas of life sciences research at UMass to present their work in both talks (9:00am - 5:00pm, Life Sciences Laboratories Building, Room S340) and a poster session/lunch (12:30pm - 2:00 pm). This event is open to everyone who wants to learn about the fantastic life sciences work going on at UMass! The schedule for presentations is available on the LSGRC facebook page.

Crosby, Irschick Co-Direct New UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials

From left: A 3D model of a live horned frog captured with Beastcam technology; self-folded and shape-programmed hydrogels; a CAD-based model of a bat skull that can be changed to look like many different species. Images courtesy of the Duncan Irschick, Ryan Hayward and Betsy Dumont laboratories.

Polymer scientist Al Crosby and functional biologist Duncan Irschick, the inventors of the gecko-inspired adhesive, Geckskin, are co-directors of a new, system-wide UMass Center for Evolutionary Materials. It is intended to be a home for researchers from many fields who are interested in pursuing bio-inspired technologies to create new designs and products to benefit people and the environment.

Irschick explains that he and Crosby, inspired by the scientific and intellectual richness of their own collaboration and the success of Geckskin, want to see a center that will “engage people on a deep level of bio-inspiration, not as a buzz word but as a kind of intellectual playground for unstructured creativity. Such centers can be useful to foster collaborations.” Read more

Soil’s Contribution to the Carbon Cycle in a Warming World,  UMass Amherst, collaborative research team identify four-phase pattern in microbes

October 5, 2017

Contact: Janet Lathrop 413/545-0444

AMHERST, Mass. – Microbiologist Kristen DeAngelis and her graduate student Grace Pold at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with colleagues at Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and in New Hampshire, report results in the Oct. 6 issue of Science from their study of warming-related soil carbon cycling changes in a New England hardwood forest.

Over two and a half decades, the team observed periods of substantial soil carbon loss, punctuated by periods of large changes in microbial communities – an episodic rather than steady pattern of warming-related change. DeAngelis and colleagues write, “We found that soil warming results in a four-phase pattern of soil organic matter decay and carbon dioxideflows to the atmosphere, with phases of substantial soil carbon loss alternating with phases of no detectable loss.” (Read more...)