Mariah Meek – Principal Investigator
I am a conservation biologist and molecular ecologist, interested in understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain diversity within and among populations. I got my PhD at University of California, Davis with Dr. Bernie May and did a post-doc as a Smith Fellow with Dr. Cliff Kraft and Dr. Matt Hare at Cornell University. The primary motivation for my work is to apply this fundamental understanding of biology to solve pressing problems in conservation and management.
Outreach: Dr. Meek is a founding member of the Coalition for Conservation Genetics, a member of the IUCN North American Conservation Genetics Specialist Group, the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network Genetic Composition Working Group, Vice President of the Society for Conservation Biology Conservation Genetics Working Group, and a member of the Interagency Ecological Program Salmonid Genetics Project Work Team. Dr. Meek is on the editorial board of Conservation Science and Practice.
Dr. Meek was recently awarded a Society for Conservation Biology Early Career Conservationist award and is in the NSF Convergence Accelerator 2021 cohort.
Teaching at MSU: IBIO 341 Fundamentals of Genetics, IBIO 446 Environmental Issues and Public Policy, IBIO 801 Professional Development for Graduate Students
Email: mhmeek[at]msu.edu Twitter: @mhmeek
In 2021 got my BSc in Biology from the College of Charleston. I had the exciting opportunity to conduct research on the worldwide spread of the oyster specific protistan parasite, Bonamia. My interests are in parasite ecology and conservation biology of marine and aquatic systems and how they can be linked to better understand the complexities of parasite-host systems in changing environments.
I studied ecology and wildlife management at Michigan Technological University and conducted my PhD research on Antarctic sea spider systematics and phylogeography at Central Michigan University. I subsequently worked as a fisheries geneticist for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, where I investigated the genetic mechanisms associated with the migration of steelhead and Chinook salmon to inform conservation management of these fishes in the Columbia River Basin. My research interests lie in uncovering genetic diversity and population dynamics to aid conservation efforts of imperiled organisms. For further information regarding my research, see my website (eecollins.wix.com/research).
My research focuses on the use of genetic tools to study population- and species-level relationships in marine and freshwater fishes. The primary motivation for this work is to improve our understanding of evolutionary processes in aquatic environments, and to provide practical information for management and conservation. Find out more about my work on my website.
Email: mamooz [at] msu.edu
I am a geneticist studying the molecular and evolutionary basis of adaptive variation in wild species. I am particularly interested in improving our understanding of the mechanisms that underpin life history diversity in Pacific salmon in order to inform the conservation and management of that diversity.
Sara Hugentobler – PhD Student
My research interests center around the population dynamics and genetics of aquatic species, as well as overall species diversity in aquatic environments. Specifically, I am interested in the mechanisms of population divergence and the barriers to gene flow. I am primarily concerned with how these patterns and processes are relevant for conservation and management.
Miranda Wade – PhD Student
I study conservation genetics and am interested in small population conservation. My research centers around discovering impacts on populations from fragmentation, especially due to anthropogenic change. I hope to use my research to help inform future management actions and to create public outreach programs.
Isaac Paredes – PhD Student
I am incredibly interested in conservation genomics and the use of eDNA to learn more about endangered populations. In particular, I am interested in the effects of anthropogenic influences, such as wildfires and ocean acidification, on population persistence and resilience. Alongside these interests, I am also keenly invested in finding better ways to educate the next generation and providing scientific outreach to underserved communities.
Ben Kline – PhD Student
I am an eco-evolutionary ecologist and that seeks to understand how sources of adaptive variation influence the capacity of populations to respond to environmental change. My research addresses the interplay of molecular mechanisms and environmental variation that contribute to the rise of adaptive variation in populations. Using coldwater fishes as model organisms, I explore the relationship between adaptation, genotypes, and resultant phenotypes to improve conservation of native biodiversity.
I am an undergraduate freshman and Professorial Assistant at MSU, majoring in zoology. My research interests are currently undecided as I explore the variety of classes and subjects at MSU, but I would like to gain more knowledge about the effects of climate change on biodiversity. I am excited to learn more about conservation genomics and field and lab research in general.
Kyle Jaynes – PhD student
I am currently a PhD student in Sarah Fitzpatrick’s Lab in the department of Integrative Biology and interdisciplinary program of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior at Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. I am a biologist driven by questions linking ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology – and most fascinated with amphibians and reptiles. Explore my website for more info: https://kylejaynes.weebly.com/.
Ellery and Asa- Budding Ecologists
Ellery and Asa are interested in the many wonders of the natural world. Ellery is going to be a tiger scientist, but she also has a strong interest in caterpillar ecology. Asa is going to be a tree scientist, but is also collecting a lot of data on the chemical ecology of pretty much anything he can fit in his mouth.
Chai – Lab Mascot
Chai’s research interests are in the behavioral ecology of small mammals, with a particular focus on trying to understand the adaptations that allow squirrels to successfully avoid canine predation.
Torél Beard – Former Undergraduate Researcher
Torél was an undergraduate researcher in the Meek lab from 2018-2019. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Zoology at MSU in May 2019 and was awarded the MSU Outstanding Academic Achievement & Promise in Zoology Award. Torél is currently a Lab Technician at MSU. His research interests are in the genetics and evolution of behavior, and has plans to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in evolutionary biology.
Sierra Kaszubinski – Former MS Student
Sierra got her Master’s in the Meek lab in 2020, co-advised with Dr. Eric Benbow, and was a Department of Defense SMART Scholar. She is now a Forensic Scientist at the DoD Defense Forensic Science Center.
Shannon O’Leary – Former Post-doctoral Scholar
Dr. Shannon O’Leary is now an Assistant Professor at St. Anselm College. Check out her website! Dr. O’Leary studies how spatial heterogeneity in the landscape results in environmental pressures that shape genetic diversity among populations.
Gregorio Martinez-Former Undergraduate Researcher
Gregorio was an undergraduate researcher in the Meek lab during Spring and Summer 2020. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Genomics and Molecular Genetics at MSU in Spring 2020. His research in the Meek lab was fueled by his passion for fly fishing and an admiration for Brook Trout beauty. He can be found here at Wayne State University.
Charlene Tarsa – Former Lab Manager
Charlene is interested in conservation biology and the effects of climate change on populations. She completed her M.A. in Biology at Buffalo State College studying the metagenomic diversity of fungal communities in and outside of ant nests. Charlene was the very first member of the Meek lab and integral in its formation. She is now the Community Science Lab Technician at the Center for the Study of Land, Air, and Water at Bard College.
Arianna Troia – Former Undergraduate Researcher
Arianna got her BS in 2021 at MSU studying Zoology with a double concentration in Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology and Animal behavior & Neurobiology. Her research interests focus on understanding the sustainability of a species from a genetic perspective and how this knowledge is applied to conservation. She is now getting her DVM at the MSU Vet School.