Faculty by Research Area

Biodiversity

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Maybe Berenbaum,  May

maybe@illinois.edu
216A Morrill Hall / 318B Morrill Hall
217-333-2910 / 217-333-7784

Professor & Head, Swanlund Chair
Entomology, PEEC

Jbrawn Brawn,  Jeffrey

jbrawn@illinois.edu
W-503 Turner Hall
217-244-5937

Professor and Head, NRES
Animal Biology, PEEC

Photo Cameron,  Sydney

sacamero@illinois.edu
215B Morrill Hall
217-333-2340

Professor
Entomology, PEEC

Cao Cao,  Yong

yongcao@illinois.edu
Illinois Natural History Survey
217-244-6847

Affiliate
INHS, NRES, PEEC

C cheng Cheng,  C.-H. Christina

c-cheng@illinois.edu
17E Burrill Hall
217-333-2832

Professor
Animal Biology, PEEC

Photo Dalling,  James

dalling@illinois.edu
286 Morrill Hall
217-244-8914

Professor and Head
Plant Biology, PEEC

My research concerns the population and community ecology of tropical trees, with a particular interest in understanding how soil nutrient availability and soil microbial communities shape the composition and diversity of tree communities. Much of my work is carried out with collaborators at the <a href="http://www.stri.si.edu">Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute</a>, in Panama, either on <a href="http://www.stri.si.edu/english/visit_us/barro_colorado/index.php">Barro Colorado Island</a> or at the <a href="http://www.stri.si.edu/english/research/facilities/terrestrial/fortuna/index.php">Fortuna Forest Reserve</a>, where I maintain a network of forest dynamics plots described <a href="http://www.life.illinois.edu/dalling/publications/105.pdf">here</a>
Dietrich Dietrich,  Christopher

chdietri@illinois.edu
282 Natural Resources Building
217-244-7408

Affiliate, Associate Center Director, Systematic Entomologist
Entomology, PEEC, INHS

Downie Downie,  Stephen

sdownie@illinois.edu
239 Morrill Hall
(217) 333-1275

Professor, SIB Associate Director of Academic Affairs
Plant Biology, PEEC

Despite multidisciplinary studies using non-molecular characters, historical relationships among and within many families of flowering plants remain unclear. Reconstruction of phylogenies from molecular data is now routine in systematics and continues to provide valuable insight into evolutionary processes and relationships. We are using the record of molecular change contained within the chloroplast and nuclear genomes to trace evolutionary histories and elucidate patterns of phenotypic character evolution in the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae), a plant family of much ecological, economical, and pharmaceutical interest. Current research is focused on the perennial, endemic umbellifers of western North America, such as <i>Cymopterus</i> and its allies, with the goals of clarifying generic- and species-level boundaries and revising the classification of the group. Unique structural rearrangements of the chloroplast genome are useful as systematic characters, in part because their rarity suggests phylogenetic stability. Of additional research interest is the detection, characterization, and phylogenetic circumscription of these structural mutations.
No photo Epifanio,  John

epifanio@illinois.edu
217-244-5059

Affiliate
INHS, NRES, PEEC

Aht Harmon-Threatt,  Alex

aht@illinois.edu
255 Morrill Hall
217-333-3108

Assistant Professor
Entomology, PEEC

Fhu Hu,  Feng Sheng

fshu@illinois.edu
265 Morrill Hall
217-244-2982

Professor and Dean of LAS, and a Ralph E. Grim Professor of Geology
Plant Biology, School of Integrative Biology, PEEC

I work at the interfaces of biological, geological and climatological sciences. The overall objective of my research is to understand patterns and mechanisms of long-term ecosystem dynamics under changing climatic conditions. To achieve this objective, I use "the natural experiments of the past" that are archived in geological deposits. These deposits offer a long-term holistic perspective into past environmental conditions, some of which do not exist today but may be analogs of different climatic conditions in the future. In pursuing my research interests, I integrate traditional paleoecological analyses and state-of-the-art analytical tools (e.g., genomic, isotopic, and numerical-modeling techniques). My students and I have conducted field research from the tropics to the Arctic to address a wide array of global change questions. We have authored more than 100 scholarly articles in top-tier disciplinary and interdisciplinary journals. I served as Head of the Department of Plant Biology from 2008-2014, and am currently Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences where I work with the science departments to promote research, teaching, innovation, and public service. Despite my administrative duties, I continue to enjoy working closely with my students on their research projects. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact me directly to explore research of mutual interest.
Kpjohnso Johnson,  Kevin

kpjohnso@illinois.edu
284 Natural Resources Building, 607 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, IL 61820
217-244-9267

Affiliate, Principal Ornithologist
Animal Biology, Entomology, INHS, PEEC

Kent Kent,  Angela

akent@illinois.edu
S-510 Turner Hall
217-333-4216

Director of PEEC, Professor
NRES, PEEC

Amiller7 Miller,  Andrew

amiller7@illinois.edu
2003 Robert Evers Lab

Affiliate
Plant Biology, PEEC

With an estimated 1.5 million species, fungi constitute the most diverse group of eukaryotic organisms on earth, second only to insects in the number of species thought to exist. However, only 80,000 species or 5% of fungi have been described so far indicating a great deal of fungal biodiversity remains to be discovered. Ascomycetes constitute the largest known group of fungi with over 32,000 species, of which pyrenomycetes account for almost 25%. Pyrenomycetes are an economically and ecologically important group of fungi in that they contain the “fruit flies” of the fungal world (i.e. Neurospora crassa, Podospora anserina, Sordaria fimicola) as well as significant destructive pathogens including the causative agents of chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica), dutch elm disease (Ophiostoma ulmi), and the recently discovered beech bark disease (Nectria coccinea). Phylogenetic relationships of ascomycetes, especially those in the Class Sordariomycetes, are poorly known. My research incorporates modern molecular techniques with traditional taxonomic methods to test morphological-based classifications from the ordinal level to the species level. Well-supported phylogenies provide clues as to which morphological characters may be informative for predicting evolutionary relationships and which are misleading. In most cases, molecular phylogenies do not reflect current classifications leading to new insights regarding character evolution in pyrenomycetes. We are currently conducting an inventory of the pyrenomycetes of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to determine their diversity, abundance, distribution, seasonality, and host specificity throughout the Park. This data will greatly add to our understanding of the biology and natural history of these organisms. Surveys currently being conducted in tropical regions will allow us to better understand biogeographical patterns of pyrenomycetes throughout the New World.
Miller james Miller,  James

jrmillr@illinois.edu
N-407 Turner Hall
217-244-3896

Associate Professor
NRES, PEEC

Jodwyer O'Dwyer,  James

jodwyer@illinois.edu
183 Morrill Hall
217-244-7806

Assistant Professor
Plant Biology, PEEC

Ecological systems are the archetypal complex systems. They are typically heterogeneous, display non-equilibrium phenomena, are strongly interacting, noisy, and adapt over time. I bring together theory, experiment, and empirical data to try to understand how ecological processes drive the patterns of species and organisms we see in nature. Some phenomena are almost universal across widely differing systems, which aids the prediction of patterns of biodiversity with limited knowledge of the underlying processes. Other patterns are highly contigent, providing important signatures of the differences between ecological systems. My research explores this tension, with the ultimate goal of establishing what are the key forces driving biodiversity across the globe.
Photo Paige,  Ken

k-paige@illinois.edu
483 Morrill Hall
217-333-7802

Professor
Animal Biology, PEEC

Caphilli Phillips,  Christopher

caphilli@illinois.edu
185 NRB
217-244-7077

Adjunct Assistant Professor/Affiliate
Animal Biology, PEEC

Photo Punyasena,  Surangi

spunya1@illinois.edu
139 Morrill Hall
217-244-8049

Associate Professor
Plant Biology, PEEC

My research focuses on the role that climate has played in the long-term evolution of Neotropical forests, primarily through the reconstruction of paleoecological and macroevolutionary trends of individual plant clades from the fossil pollen record. Despite its modest standing in the popular imagination, fossil pollen is an ideal source for paleoecological information. The palynological record is one of the most ubiquitous terrestrial fossil records. Pollen and spores are abundant, resist degradation, and are found at the bottom of most water bodies, past or present. For this reason, the palynological record is expressly suited for quantitative analyses of continuous, long-term trends in plant ecology and evolution, including time-series analysis of origination and extinction rates, migration, and functional morphological evolution. Paleoecological analyses complement neo-ecological approaches to the study of Neotropical forest composition, diversity, and structure, providing extensive temporal information that is unattainable through other forms of investigation. My approach to understanding the relationship between plant diversity and climate has been multifaceted, investigating both modern spatial and Holocene/Late Quaternary temporal patterns in Neotropical vegetation. Current research includes (1) exploring Quaternary and deep-time (pre-Quaternary) patterns of tropical plant diversity, ecology, and evolutionary change; (2) developing and applying quantitative vegetation models of paleotemperature and paleoprecipitation; and (3) developing quantitative measures of pollen morphology. The aim of this interdisciplinary research program is to develop a temporal picture of tropical forest evolution in order to better understand how community composition and functional ecology are affected by climatic change. The results provide a means of testing regional and global climate models, as well as predicting the response of tropical forests to anthropogenic climate forcing.
Roca Roca,  Alfred

roca@illinois.edu
441 Animal Sciences Laboratory
217-244-8853

Associate Professor
PEEC

Schooley Schooley,  Robert

schooley@illinois.edu
W-401B Turner Hall
217-244-2729

Associate Professor
NRES, PEEC

Rstumpf Stumpf,  Rebecca

rstumpf@illinois.edu
Department of Anthropology
217-333-8072

Professor
PEEC

Sjtaylor Taylor,  Steven

sjtaylor@illinois.edu
229 Natural Resources Studies Annex
217-244-1122

Affiliate, Senior Conservation Biologist
INHS, PEEC, Entomology

Rwhitakr Whitaker,  Rachel

rwhitakr@illinois.edu
C222 Chemical and Life Sciences Laboratory
217-244-8420

Associate Professor
Molecular and Cellular Biology, PEEC

Jwhitfie Whitfield,  James

jwhitfie@illinois.edu
215 Morrill Hall
217-333-2567

Professor
Entomology, PEEC

Yannarell Yannarell,  Anthony

acyann@illinois.edu
S-522 Turner Hall
217-333-2398

Associate Professor
NRES, PEEC