Opportunities for Graduate Study
in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas (KU-EEB) seeks applications from highly qualified and motivated graduate students. KU-EEB includes 41 faculty members and about 70 graduate students whose research focuses on three broad topical domains: Biodiversity and Macroevolution, Ecology and Global Change Biology, and Evolutionary Mechanisms.
Facilities to support graduate education and research include world-class collections in our museums, equipment and expertise in molecular biology including DNA sequencing, growth chambers and greenhouses, and extensive field station land holds for establishing controlled experimental plots or for investigating non-manipulated systems.
Successful applicants to our graduate program receive a financial support package that includes a stipend and tuition sponsorship. Doctoral students receive a five-year package, and master’s students receive a two-year package. The department provides support for travel to present results at national and international professional meetings. Funds to support graduate student research are also available through departmental endowment funds.
Applications from all qualified students will be given serious consideration; however, we specifically seek students whose interests match the descriptions below. Students who wish to pursue research in these areas are encouraged to contact prospective faculty mentors to introduce themselves and describe their academic goals and research experiences and interests.
Faculty members currently seeking new graduates students include those listed below:
The Billings lab explores how global change perturbations such as rising atmospheric CO2 , land use change, rising temperatures, and changing water availability influence forest and grassland carbon and nitrogen pools and fluxes.
The Blumenstiel lab investigates evolutionary arms races, selfish genes and epigenetics. Using approaches that include population genetics, molecular evolution, next-gen sequencing and molecular biology, the lab’s aim is to characterize evolutionary conflict in the battleground of the germline.
The Cartwright lab studies cnidarian phylogeny and evolution. In particular the lab is seeking a graduate student interested in studying the evolution of hydrozoans through phylogenetics and developmental gene expression.
Research in the Chaboo lab uses phylogenetic methods to study evolution of leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae).
We study the evolution of biological diversity using a combination of field work, laboratory experiments, and molecular analyses. Most of our studies involve West Indian reptiles.
The Gleason lab studies the evolutionary genetics of behavioral isolation between Drosophila species through analyses of genes influencing courtship behavior.
Research in the Hileman lab integrates phylogenetic, molecular evolutionary, and molecular developmental approaches to investigate how flowers have evolved such a diversity of form.
The Holder lab explores phylogenetic methods. In particular lab members are interested in improving the statistical and computational tools used to estimate the genealogical relationships between organisms.
The Jensen lab studies parasitology with a particular emphasis on the systematics, morphology, biodiversity, and life-cycles of tapeworms. The lab is seeking a Ph.D. student to participate in an NSF-funded Planetary Biodiversity Inventories project to document the diversity of elasmobranch (ray and shark) tapeworms from around the world.
The Orive lab explores evolutionary genetic theory, focusing on models of population structure and organisms with complex life histories. Current research in the lab focuses on modeling host-endosymbiont systems.
The Peterson lab is comprised of a large group of graduate and undergraduates students who work on diverse topics in systematics, ecology, disease biology, and biogeography. Particular interests include studies of transmission risk of diseases such as fluviruses, filoviruses, and Chagas disease; phylogeography of bird lineages; and ecological niche modeling.
The Sikes Lab studies the ecology of microorganisms, mainly fungi. Our goals are to 1) discover and describe the largely unknown microbial diversity in soils 2) use these organisms to answer fundamental questions in ecology and 3) develop microbial amendments as tools to improve management and restoration of ecosystems.
The Smith lab investigates ecosystem ecology and is recruiting a master’s or doctoral student who has interest in one or more of several research areas: (1) responses of phytoplankton and other microbial communities (including pathogens) to the eutrophication of freshwater and/or marine ecosystems; (2) interactions between host nutrition and the outcome of infectious disease; (3) the ecology of algal biofuel production; and (4) metabolic ecology, with an emphasis on the factors that regulate the size and cellular number of eukaryotic organelles.
The Taylor laboratory includes undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars, all interested in various topics of paleobiology and paleobotany. Some of these include fossil plants as deep time climate proxy records, the biology and evolution of fossil plants from the Paleozoic and Mesozoic of Antarctica, fossil fungi and other microbes including their evolution and symbiotic interactions through time.
Members of our lab study the ecology of inland water ecosystems, especially rivers and ephemeral wetlands. Our experimental (field and lab), descriptive, and modeling research at the community through macrosystem levels uses various modern ecological methods, including stable isotope analysis of food webs and GIS models of the ecological effects of river hydrogeomorphic structure.
Research in the Ward lab focuses on understanding how global change factors influence the physiology, population structure, and evolution of plant species. More specifically, the lab seeks to understand the effects of global change drivers that alter plant resource availability, such as changing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, changing precipitation regimes, and rising temperatures.