Ecology, Evolution & Conservation (EEC) Research Group

Faculty within this group focus on basic and applied questions in biology within a dramatically changing world. Our group strives to understand mechanisms and determine their manifest at higher levels of biological organization to affect ecology, evolution, and conservation. We investigate questions transcending the traditional biological organization of individuals, populations, communities, and ecosystems. Faculty and students in this group are highly collaborative within the research group, with other research groups in the department, across the university, and with partner institutions such as Children's Hospital Research Center, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Museum Center, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Graduate Advisors for MS Thesis and PhD Program

* Indicates lab is accepting graduate applications for the upcoming Fall Semester

Josh Benoit

Joshua Benoit*
Lab Website

Email Address:
Research interestInsect stress tolerance, hormonal regulation of metabolism, reproductive physiology
The Benoit lab studies the mechanisms underlying insect stress tolerance and dormancy, reproductive physiology, and regulation of metabolism; with a slant towards medically-important arthropods.


Prof. Buschbeck in her lab

Elke Buschbeck*
Lab Website

Email address:
Research interest: Neuroethology: function and evolution of insect visual systems
The Buschbeck lab studies the function, development and evolution of invertebrate eyes.

Field Station, Theresa Culley's students invarious locations. Eli Williams, a student in the Environmental Field Techniques course, is measuring instantaneous photosynthethetic rates of invasive honeysuckle with the Li-Cor 6400 infrared gas analyzer with Prof Theresa Culley.

Theresa Culley
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest:
Population genetics of plants, invasive species; habitat fragmentation

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Ronald DeBry
Email address:
Research interest: Phylogenetic systematics, molecular forensics

Katie Grogan, photo credit ap sullivan

Kathleen Grogan*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Anthropological genetics, epigenomic response, environmental change. The Grogan lab studies how genetic and epigenetic variation impacts inter-individual differences in health, survival, and reproduction across environmental conditions

Prof. Gross in his lab

Joshua Gross*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Molecular and genetic bases for cave adaptation; evolution and development
The Gross lab studies the genetic and developmental mechanisms that underlie morphological, sensory, physiological and behavioral evolution. We utilize a model system called the blind Mexican cavefish

Prof. Guerra outside working with Monarch Butterflies

Patrick Guerra*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Sensory ecology; orientation and navigation mechanisms; animal architecture
The Guerra lab studies how animals use sensory cues from their environment to move in time and space. Behavioral, physiological, and genetic approaches are used to understand the mechanisms and evolution of animal movement.

Prof. Hobson

Elizabeth Hobson*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Ecology and evolution of social complexity; cognitive ecology; social structure
The Hobson lab research focuses on social information: what animals know about their social worlds, how they come to know it, and what they do with that information.

Prof. Jayne running a snake through an experiment

Bruce Jayne*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Neural control of movement and behavior of ectothermic vertebrates.
The Jayne lab uses comparative studies to determine the relative importance of variation in anatomy, behavior and environmental factors for affecting whole-animal function.

Prof. Lentz and a student measuring trees in the forest

David Lentz*
Email address:
Research interest: Historical ecology, paleoethnobotany

Prof. Matter in a foggy field

Stephen Matter*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Ecology, metapopulation, dispersal, migration, climate change, population, modelling, community

Undregraduate studies photos for Rebecca Farabaugh, Sennott Square and Crawford Hall, June, 24, 2015, 210185

Nathan Morehouse*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interests: Visual and behavioral ecology, coevolutionary dynamics of reproductive traits
The Morehouse Lab studies the visual ecology and reproductive biology of insects and spiders. Research themes include the evolution of visual functions like color vision and gaze control, sensory exploitation, sexual selection, sexual conflict, and life history evolution.


Ken Petren doing research in a cave

Ken Petren*
Email address:
Research interest: Landscape genetics, rapid evolution, ancient DNA, vertebrates


Prof. Polak

Michal Polak*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Evolution of insect reproductive traits; sexual selection
The Polak lab addresses fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. The research pursued encompasses sexual selection, nutritional ecology, and host-parasite interactions.


Prof. Rollmann in the desert with cactus

Stephanie Rollmann*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Genetics and neurobiology of behavior, olfaction; chemical ecology
The Rollmann lab takes a multi-dimensional approach to understanding the genetic and neural underpinnings of chemical communication and behavior by combining behavioral, molecular genetic and neurophysiological approaches.

Prof. Tepe in the woods examining leaves

Eric Tepe*
Lab Website
Email address:
Research interest: Plant systematics, phylogenetics, and evolution of diversity; Curator of the Margaret H. Fulford Herbarium. The Tepe lab takes advantage of tools from molecular systematics and genomics to specimen-based alpha taxonomy to field work and herbarium study to address questions about the evolution and diversification of plants using the “giant genera” Piper and Solanum as model systems.

George Uetz holding up a canister with a spider in it

George Uetz
Email address:
Research interest: Animal communication, sensory ecology and sexual selection; arachnology
The Uetz lab works on the sensory ecology of multimodal communication (visual and vibratory) and its role in sexual selection and species recognition in spiders.