Lab Members

Mariah Meek – Principal Investigator

mariah and salmonidI am a conservation biologist and molecular ecologist, interested in understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain diversity within and among populations. 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 member of the IUCN North American Conservation Genetics Specialist 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.

Mariah Meek CV 2017 –   Google Scholar Profile

Email: mhmeek[at]          Twitter: @mhmeek

Charlene Tarsa – Lab Technician


I am interested in conservation biology and the effects of climate change on populations. I completed my M.A. in Biology at Buffalo State College studying the metagenomic diversity of fungal communities within and outside of ant nests, and I am excited to study conservation genomics and diversity in the Meek lab.

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 – MS Student

Miranda Wade

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.




Sierra Kaszubinski – MS Student

SFK Lab PhotoI am an Integrative Biology master’s student at Michigan State University. I recently graduated from the University of Arizona, receiving a B.S. in Organismal Biology. While at the University of Arizona, I was involved in several projects working with human and plant pathogens, and was president of the Criminal Justice Association. I am a Department of Defense SMART Scholar, and will work for the U.S. Army Defense Forensic Science Center upon graduation. I am interested in the next generation sequencing applications to forensic science.

Sierra is co-advised by Dr. Benbow in the Department of Entomology:

Do not hesitate to contact Sierra with any questions: kaszubin[at]

Ellery – Budding Ecologist


Ellery studies the diversity of tastes in her environment and is on a quest to identify the most crinkly material in the world. She is also researching the ecology and behavior of the Giant Schnauzer.



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.