OEB brings together more than 75 faculty, providing critical mass needed for effective graduate training. Our faculty are drawn from 10 departments at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and from across the Five College System (Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith Colleges), as well as from off-campus institutions. OEB faculty are engaged in cutting edge research, with research clusters in four broad areas:

Animal Behavior

Behavioral ecology, communication, learning


Community ecology, population ecology, landscape ecology, conservation biology

Evolutionary Biology

Evolution, phylogenetics, population genetics, molecular evolution

Organismal Biology

Physiology, morphology, paleontology

All OEB faculty are listed below. To help applicants to our graduate program locate a faculty sponsor, the faculty list can be filtered by four broad research areas.  A list of faculty who are activiely seeking graduate students can be found HERE

Name Research Interests
Lynn Adler

Professor, Biology

Ecology and evolution of insect-plant interactions

R. Craig Albertson

Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts

Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Dominique R. Alfandari

Professor of Developmental Biology, University of Massachusetts

Cell migration in Developmental systems

Courtney C. Babbitt

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Evolutionary Genomics

Madelaine Bartlett

Associate Professor, Biology

Evolution of plant development; Molecular evolution

Tobias Baskin

Professor, Biology

Regulation of Plant Morphogenesis During Growth & Development

Annaliese Beery

Associate Professor, Departments of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Biology, Smith College

Neuroendocrinology of social behavior

Jesse Bellemare

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Plant ecology, biogeography and evolution

Eric L. Bittman

Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology

Circadian Rhythms, Reproduction, and Seasonal Changes in Brain Function

Jeffrey L. Blanchard

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Microbial cellular and community networks; influence of environmental change on the evolution of molecular processes; systems biology; bioinformatics

Bethany A. Bradley

Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Biogeography and spatial ecology of terrestrial plant invasions

Patricia Brennan

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Mt. Holyoke College

Evolutionary consequences of interactions between behavior, morphology and the environment

Jill L. Bubier

Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, Mount Holyoke College

Carbon cycling in northern wetlands

John P. Buonaccorsi

Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Statistics

Statistical theory, methods and applcations, Quantitative ecology

Bruce Byers

Senior Lecturer of Biology

Acoustic communication in birds

Ana Caicedo

Professor, Biology

Evolutionary genomics of adaptation and divergence in wild, weedy and crop plant species

Graham Caldwell

Associate Professor of Kinesiology

Muscle mechanics and modeling in human motor performance

Theodore Castro–Santos

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology

Biomechanics and Behavior of Migratory Fishes; Bioengineering of Fish Passage Structures

Brian S. Cheng

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Marine global change ecology and the dynamics of predator-prey interactions

Ethan D. Clotfelter

Professor of Biology, Amherst College

Reproductive behavior of birds and fishes

Erin Conlon

Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Statistical methods in genomics and bioinformatics

Daniel R. Cooley

Professor of Plant Pathology, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Epidemiology, ecology and sustainable management of plant diseases

Cristina Cox Fernandes

Adjunct Research Associate Professor and Curator of Fishes, Department of Biology

Ecology and evolutionary diversity of neotropical freshwater fishes, particularly within the Amazon River

Andy J. Danylchuk

Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Fish conservation, recreational fisheries, sustainable aquaculture

Kristen M DeAngelis

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology

Community ecology and physiology of soil microbes, climate change, plant-soil interactions

Stephen DeStefano

Research Professor of Environmental Conservation

USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Leader

Urban and suburban wildlife, forest wildlife, and human-wildlife interactions

Graziella V. DiRenzo

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Department of Environmental Conservation

Assistant Unit Leader of Wildlife

U. S. Geological Survey

MA Cooperative Research Unit

Quantitative ecology, population dynamics, applied ecology

Robert L. Dorit

Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Molecular evolution; comparative & statistical approaches to molecular & genome evolution

Gerald B. Downes

Professor, Department of Biology

Development and function of spinal cord networks

Joseph S. Elkinton

Professor of Environmental Conservation

Population dynamics and biological control of invasive forest insects

John Finn

Professor of Environmental Conservation

Network Analysis of Acoustic Telemetry

Lillian Fritz–Laylin

Associate Professor of Biology

Quantitative Evolutionary Cell Biology

Alexander R. Gerson

Assistant Professor, Biology

Integrative ecological physiology of birds, energetics, water balance, bird migration

John G. Gibbons

Assistant Professor of Food Science

Genomics, Evolution, Bioinformatics

Cynthia Gill

Associate Professor of Natural Sciences, Hampshire College

Human and comparative physiology, neuroscience, endocrinology, herpetology, conservation biology, and behavioral biology

Gary B. Gillis

Norman Wait Harris and Emma Gale Harris Foundation Professor of Biological Sciences; Associate Dean of Faculty; Director of the Science Center, Mount Holyoke College

Biomechanics and neuromuscular control of vertebrate locomotion

Barry Goodell

Research Professor, Department of Microbiology

Fungal biochemical mechanisms involved in human disease, and also involved in the degradation of lignocellulose biomass and xenobiotics

Steven Goodwin

Deputy Chancellor and Chief Planning Officer;

Professor of Microbiology

Evan Grant

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Conservation

Research Wildlife Biologist, Conte Anadromous Fish Lab

Ecology and management of amphibian populations and habitat

Curtice R. Griffin

Professor and Department Head of Environmental Conservation

Wildlife ecology and conservation

Alex Haro

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Environmental Conservation

Ecologist and Section Leader, Fish Passage Engineering S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Fish behavior and migration; fish passage

Rachel Hestrin

Assistant Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Plant-microbe interactions, biogeochemistry, ecosystem response to change, sustainable agriculture

Brigitte M. Holt

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Biocultural evolution of the genus Homo, functional morphology and biomechanics of the appendicular skeleton, paleoecology, forager ecology, Old World prehistory, Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene ecology, bone mass and physical activity.

Michael Hood

Associate Professor of Biology, Amherst College

Evolutionary forces that shape systems of inheritance and disease transmission

Martha Hoopes

Professor, Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College

Spread dynamics, impacts, and lag times in invasion ecology, as well as metacommunity dynamics, particularly for plants and herbivores.

Peter W. Houlihan

Senior Lecturer in Biology

Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Ecology, and Conservation Biology

Duncan J. Irschick

Professor, Department of Biology

Functional Morphology, Evolution, and Behavioral Ecology

Elizabeth M. Jakob

Professor, Biology Department

Animal behavior, especially perception, learning, and social behavior

Abigail Jensen

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Molecular and cellular mechanisms of vertebrate retinal development and retinal disease.

Norman A. Johnson

Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Biology & Environmental Conservation

Evolutionary genetics, evolution of development

Adrian Jordaan

Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Ecosystems, modeling, tagging, movement, trophic dynamics, diadromous, marine,
fisheries, historical ecology

Jason M. Kamilar

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Comparative biology of primates and other mammals

Ilia Karatsoreos

Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

The general research objective in our lab is to understand the neural and physiological systems that the brain and body use to protect us from harm and adapt to changes in the environment. We focus on biological rhythms, stress, immunology, and metabolism

Rolf O. Karlstrom

Professor, Department of Biology

Developmental neurobiology; axon guidance and forebrain patterning

Laura A. Katz

Elsie Damon Simonds Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Genome evolution and biodiversity studies of microbial eukaryotes

Paul S. Katz

Director of Neuroscience and Professor of Biology

Neuroethology, central pattern generators, single neuron RNA-seq, developmental neuroscience, evolution of neural circuits, molluscan systems


Diane A. Kelly

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Neurobiology, biomechanics, and evolution of reproductive systems.

Jane Kent

Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Quantifying age, gender, and activity based changes in human skeletal muscle function. Measuring the roles of neural activation, intramuscular metabolism, contractile function and blood flow in the development of muscle fatigue in a variety of populations.

David King

Adjunct Research Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Research Wildlife Biologist USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, Amherst

Wildlife ecology and conservation

Lisa Komoroske

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Conservation genomics and ecophysiology in marine and freshwater ecosystems

Michael L. Lavine

Emeritus Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

Statistical Theory and Methods

R. Mark Leckie

Professor and Department Head, Geosciences

Micropaleontology, Biostratigraphy, Paleoceanography

Susannah B. Lerman

Adjunct Research Professor, Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Urban and suburban ecology, wildlife conservation, and citizen science

Benjamin Letcher

Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Section Leader, Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Population ecology of stream fishes

Rachel A. Levin

Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology, Amherst College

Plant systematics, biogeography and ecology

Li–Jun Ma

Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Fungal comparative genomics, eukaryotic genome evolution and organism adaptation

Meghan Graham MacLean

Lecturer of Quantitative Ecology, Department of Environmental Conservation

Aboveground carbon consequences of future land use in New England, Carbon accounting of timber from current harvest trends in Massachusetts, Modeling direct and indirect impacts of forest insects and pathogens, and Inclusive pedagogy in quantitative undergraduate biology

Stephen D. McCormick

Adjunct Professor of Biology

Research Physiologist, Conte Anadromous Fish Lab

Environmental Physiology of Fish

Kevin McGarigal

Professor of Environmental Conservation

Landscape ecology, ecosystem management, wildlife ecology

Jill Miller

Professor of Biology, Amherst College

Ecology and evolution of plant reproductive systems, molecular phylogenetic systematics, population and evolutionary genetics, hybridization and speciation

Toni Lyn Morelli

Research Ecologist, Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Climate change ecology, montane and boreal wildlife, and decision analysis and translational ecology for climate adaptation  

Keith H. Nislow

Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Research Fishery Biologist, USDA Forest Service

Ecology and conservation biology of stream fishes and invertebrates

Benjamin Normark

Department Head and Professor of Biology

Evolution of alternative genetic systems; evolution of host range; scale insect systematics

Melinda Novak

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Behavior of microtines and primates

Klaus Nüsslein

Professsor of Microbiology

Microbial ecology of terrestrial and aquatic environments

Sarah Partan

Associate Professor, School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College

Visual and acoustic communication in mammals

Jeffrey E. Podos

Professor, Department of Biology

Mechanisms and evolution of vertebrate behavior, bioacoustics

Adam H. Porter

Associate Professor of Biology

Admissions Committee Chair, OEB

Evolutionary biology; hybridization, introgression & speciation; ecological genetics; evolution of regulatory genetic pathways; computer and mathematical modeling; invasion and range expansion; insects, especially butterflies and moths

Stan P. Rachootin

Professor of Biological Sciences, Mount Holyoke College

Evolution and development, history of evolutionary theory

Luke Remage–Healey

Program Leader / GPD of Neuroscience and Behavior Program; Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Neural basis of behavior

Stephen Rich

Professor of Microbiology

Molecular Evolution and Population Genomics of Arthropod-borne Microbial Pathogens

Alan M. Richmond

Lecturer in Biology

Curator of Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles , NaturalHistory Collections

Phylogeography of New England amphibians and reptiles

Charles Ross

Associate Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Hampshire College

Ecological and evolutionary genetics of hybrid zones and speciation

Allison H. Roy

Research Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Freshwater ecology, fish and macroinvertebrates, urban ecology, conservation

Laela Sayigh

Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior, Hampshire College

Social behavior and communication of cetaceans (whales and dolphins)

Tristram Seidler

Extension Assistant Professor, Biology

Plant ecology, plant diversity, invasive plants, climate change

David A. Sela

Associate Professor, Department of Food Science

Nutrition, human milk, gut microbiome, systems biology, host-microbe interactions/co-evolution, translational research

Lynnette Sievert

Professor of Anthropology

Evolution of menopause

Paul R Sievert

Research Associate Professor of Environmental Conservation

Conservation biology, physiological ecology and biostatistics

L. David Smith

Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program

Ecology and evolution of marine predator-prey interactions

Michelle Staudinger

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Science Coordinator, DOI Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center

Climate change impacts on coastal biodiversity and trophic relationships

Kristina Stinson

Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Plant Ecology, Invasive Plants, Biological Responses to Global Change

John Stoffolano

Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Behavior and physiology of flies especially of the adult crop organ and the mechanisms regulating filling and depletion

Chris Sutherland

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Population, spatial, statistical and applied ecology

Alexander Suvorov

Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Effects on behavior by environmental xenobiotics with endocrine disruptive properties

Ethan J. Temeles

Professor of Biology, Amherst College

Foraging behavior; Territoriality; Intra- and Interspecific competition; Resource partitioning; Mutualism; Coevolution;
Sexual dimorphisms and polymorphisms

Elsbeth Walker

Professor, Biology Department

Molecular genetic approaches to studying mechanisms of metal ion homeostasis in plants

Paige S. Warren

Professor of Environmental Conservation

Urban ecology, human-environment interactions, animal behavior

Tammy L. Wilson

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Conservation

USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Assistant Unit Leader

Landscape ecology, spatial ecology, wildlife conservation and management, structured decision-making