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, developmental biology

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, Biology

Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Dominique R. Alfandari

Professor of Developmental Biology, Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Cell migration in Developmental systems

Courtney C. Babbitt

Associate Professor, Biology

Associate Professor, Commonwealth Honors College

Evolutionary Genomics

Madelaine Bartlett

Associate Professor, Biology

Evolution of plant development; Molecular evolution

Tobias Baskin

Professor, Biology

Regulation of Plant Morphogenesis During Growth & Development

Jesse Bellemare

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Plant ecology, biogeography and evolution

Eric L. Bittman

Professor Emeritus, Biology

Circadian Rhythms, Reproduction, and Seasonal Changes in Brain Function

Jeffrey L. Blanchard

Associate Professor, Biology

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

Bethany A. Bradley

Professor, Environmental Conservation

Biogeography and spatial ecology of terrestrial plant invasions

Patricia Brennan

Associate 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, Mt. Holyoke College

Carbon cycling in northern wetlands

John P. Buonaccorsi

Professor Emeritus, Mathematics and Statistics

Statistical theory, methods and applcations, Quantitative ecology

Bruce Byers

Associate Professor, 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, Kinesiology

Muscle mechanics and modeling in human motor performance

Theodore Castro–Santos

Adjunct Assistant Professor, 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 and Environmental Studies, Amherst College

Reproductive behavior of birds and fishes

Erin Conlon

Associate Professor, 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

Lecturer/Adjunct Research Associate Professor, Biology

Curator of Fishes, Natural History Collections

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

Andy J. Danylchuk

Professor, Environmental Conservation

Fish conservation, recreational fisheries, sustainable aquaculture

Kristen M. DeAngelis

Professor, Microbiology

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

Graziella V. DiRenzo

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Assistant Unit Leader, USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research

Quantitative ecology, population dynamics, applied ecology

Robert L. Dorit

Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

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

Joseph S. Elkinton

Professor, Environmental Conservation

Population dynamics and biological control of invasive forest insects

Jenn Fair

Research Hydrologist, USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Laura Figueroa

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Agroecology, applied ecology, pollinator health, invertebrate monitoring

John Finn

Professor Emeritus, Environmental Conservation

Network Analysis of Acoustic Telemetry

Lillian Fritz–Laylin

Associate Professor, Biology

Quantitative Evolutionary Cell Biology

Alexander R. Gerson

Associate Professor, Biology

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

Jessica Gersony

Assistant Professor

How plants respond to climate change, and physiological processes underpinning how plants interact with the changing climate around them

John G. Gibbons

Associate Professor, Food Science

Genomics, Evolution, Bioinformatics

Cynthia Gill

Associate Professor of Physiology, Hampshire College

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

Gary B. Gillis

Professor of Biological Sciences, Mt. Holyoke College

Biomechanics and neuromuscular control of vertebrate locomotion

Curtice R. Griffin

Professor, Environmental Conservation

Wildlife ecology and conservation

Alex Haro

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Research Ecologist and Section Leader, USGS 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

Professor, 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

Professor of Biology, Amherst College

Evolutionary forces that shape systems of inheritance and disease transmission

Martha Hoopes

Professor of Biological Sciences, Mt. 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 II, Biology

Animal Behavior, Vertebrate Ecology, and Conservation Biology

Duncan J. Irschick

Professor, Biology

Functional Morphology, Evolution, and Behavioral Ecology

Elizabeth M. Jakob

Professor, Biology

Animal behavior, especially perception, learning, and social behavior

Abigail Jensen

Associate Professor, Biology

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

Norman A. Johnson

Adjunct Research Assistant Professor, Biology

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

Professor, Anthropology

Comparative biology of primates and other mammals

Ilia Karatsoreos

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, Biology

Developmental neurobiology; axon guidance and forebrain patterning

Laura A. Katz

Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Genome evolution and biodiversity studies of microbial eukaryotes

Paul S. Katz

Professor, Biology

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


Ashley D. Keiser

Assistant Professor, Stockbridge School of Agriculture


Terrestrial Ecosystem Ecology; Climate Change Biology; Soil Ecology; Biogeochemistry

David King

Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station

Wildlife ecology and conservation

Lisa Komoroske

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Conservation genomics and ecophysiology in marine and freshwater ecosystems

Michael L. Lavine

Professor Emeritus, Mathematics and Statistics

Statistical Theory and Methods

R. Mark Leckie

Professor, Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences

Micropaleontology, Biostratigraphy, Paleoceanography

Susannah B. Lerman

Adjunct Research Professor, Environmental Conservation

Urban and suburban ecology, wildlife conservation, and citizen science

Benjamin Letcher

Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Section Leader, USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Population ecology of stream fishes

Rachel A. Levin

Senior Lecturer in Biology and Environmental Studies, Amherst College

Plant systematics, biogeography and ecology

Li–Jun Ma

Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Fungal comparative genomics, eukaryotic genome evolution and organism adaptation

Meghan Graham MacLean

Lecturer, 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, Biology

Adjunct Professor, Environmental Conservation

Scientist Emeritus, USGS Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center

Environmental Physiology of Fish

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

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Research Ecologist, USGS

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

Keith H. Nislow

Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Research Fishery Biologist, USDA Forest Service

Ecology and conservation biology of stream fishes and invertebrates

Benjamin Normark

Professor, Biology

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

Melinda Novak

Professor Emerita, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Behavior of microtines and primates

Klaus Nüsslein

Professor, Microbiology

Microbial ecology of terrestrial and aquatic environments

Sarah Partan

Associate Professor of Animal Behavior, Hampshire College

Visual and acoustic communication in mammals

Jeffrey E. Podos

Professor, Biology

Mechanisms and evolution of vertebrate behavior, bioacoustics

Adam H. Porter

Associate Professor, Biology

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 Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Mt. Holyoke College

Evolution and development, history of evolutionary theory

Luke Remage–Healey

Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Neural basis of behavior

Stephen Rich

Professor, Microbiology

Molecular Evolution and Population Genomics of Arthropod-borne Microbial Pathogens

Alan M. Richmond

Retired Senior Lecturer, Biology

Curator of Amphibians and Reptiles, Natural History Collections

Phylogeography of New England amphibians and reptiles

Allison H. Roy

Research Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Freshwater ecology, fish and macroinvertebrates, urban ecology, conservation

Laela Sayigh

Associate 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, Food Science

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

Nathan Senner

Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Lynnette Sievert

Professor, Anthropology

Evolution of menopause

Paul R Sievert

Adjunct Associate Professor, Environmental Conservation

Conservation biology, physiological ecology and biostatistics

L. David Smith

Professor of Biological Sciences, Smith College

Ecology and evolution of marine predator-prey interactions

Allison Snow

Adjunct Professor, Biology

Maria Stager

Assistant Professor, Biology

Michelle Staudinger

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Ecologist, USGS

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

Alexander Suvorov

Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences

Graduate Program Direction, Environmental Heath Sciences

Effects on behavior by environmental xenobiotics with endocrine disruptive properties

Ethan J. Temeles

Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies, Amherst College

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

Elsbeth Walker

Professor, Biology

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

Paige S. Warren

Professor, Environmental Conservation

Urban ecology, human-environment interactions, animal behavior

Tammy L. Wilson

Research Assistant Professor, Environmental Conservation

Unit Leader, USGS Massachusetts Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research

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