Karen Alofs

By |

My research focuses on how environmental change, including climate, invasion and habitat destruction influences freshwater ecological communities across space and time. I am involved in a collaborative interdisciplinary project funded by a MIDAS Propelling Original Data Science (PODS) Grant: CHANGES: Collections, Heterogeneous data, And Next Generation Ecological Studies.We are developing protocols for integrating heterogeneous natural science datasets to investigate the impacts of environmental changes on species. Our project focuses on climate change impacts on inland lake fish communities across Michigan, drawing on more than a century’s worth of data and specimens archived at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology (UMMZ) and the Institute for Fisheries Research (IFR), which is a cooperative unit of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Division and the University of Michigan.

Hernán López-Fernández

By |

I am interested in the evolutionary processes that originate “mega-diverse” biotic assemblages and the role of ecology in shaping the evolution of diversity. My program studies the evolution of Neotropical freshwater fishes, the most diverse freshwater fish fauna on earth, with an estimate exceeding 7,000 species. My lab combines molecular phylogenetics and phylogeny-based comparative methods to integrate ecology, functional morphology, life histories and geography into analyses of macroevolutionary patterns of freshwater fish diversification. We are also comparing patterns of diversification across major Neotropical fish clades. Relying on fieldwork and natural history collections, we use methods that span

Neil Carter

By |

Carter’s research combines quantitative, theoretical, and field approaches to address challenging local to global wildlife conservation issues in the Anthropocene. His work includes projects on endangered species conservation in human-dominated areas of Nepal, post-war recovery of wildlife in Mozambique, human-wildlife coexistence in the American West, and the effects of artificial lights and human-made noise on wildlife habitat across the contiguous US. Research methods focus on: (1) spatializing both human and wildlife processes, (2) probabilistic methods to infer human-wildlife interactions (3) simulation models of coupled natural-human systems, and (4) forecasting and decision-support tools.

Andrea Thomer

By |

Andrea Thomer is an assistant professor of information at the University of Michigan School of Information. She conducts research in the areas of data curation, museum informatics, earth science and biodiversity informatics, information organization, and computer supported cooperative work. She is especially interested in how people use and create data and metadata; the impact of information organization on information use; issues of data provenance, reproducibility, and integration; and long-term data curation and infrastructure sustainability. She is studying a number of these issues through the “Migrating Research Data Collections” project – a recently awarded Laura Bush 21st Century Librarianship Early Career Research Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Dr. Thomer received her doctorate in Library and Information Science from the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign in 2017.

Jeffrey Regier

By |

Jeffrey Regier received a PhD in statistics from UC Berkeley (2016) and joined the University of Michigan as an assistant professor. His research interests include graphical models, Bayesian inference, high-performance computing, deep learning, astronomy, and genomics.

Aaron A. King

By |

The long temporal and large spatial scales of ecological systems make controlled experimentation difficult and the amassing of informative data challenging and expensive. The resulting sparsity and noise are major impediments to scientific progress in ecology, which therefore depends on efficient use of data. In this context, it has in recent years been recognized that the onetime playthings of theoretical ecologists, mathematical models of ecological processes, are no longer exclusively the stuff of thought experiments, but have great utility in the context of causal inference. Specifically, because they embody scientific questions about ecological processes in sharpest form—making precise, quantitative, testable predictions—the rigorous confrontation of process-based models with data accelerates the development of ecological understanding. This is the central premise of my research program and the common thread of the work that goes on in my laboratory.

James R. Hines Jr.

By |

Professor Hines’ research focuses on the analysis of the donative behavior of Americans, and how it affects the intergenerational and interpersonal transmission of economic well-being. To what extent do parents leave property to their children and others, and how is this behavior affected by legal institutions, taxes, social norms, and other considerations? While there are no comprehensive sources of data on wills, trusts, lifetime gifts, and other forms of property transmission, there is ample available information from legal documents that with the help of natural language processing can hopefully be coded and analyzed in a systematic way.

Patrick Schloss

By |

The Schloss lab is broadly interested in beneficial and pathogenic host-microbiome interactions with the goal of improving our understanding of how the microbiome can be used to reach translational outcomes in the prevention, detection, and treatment of colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, and Clostridium difficile infection. To address these questions, we test traditional ecological theory in the microbial context using a systems biology approach. Specifically, the laboratory specializes in using studies involving human subjects and animal models to understand how biological diversity affects community function using a variety of culture-independent genomics techniques including sequencing 16S rRNA gene fragments, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics. In addition, they use metabolomics to understand the functional role of the gut microbiota in states of health and disease. To support these efforts, they develop and apply bioinformatic tools to facilitate their analysis. Most notable is the development of the mothur software package (https://www.mothur.org), which is one of the most widely used tools for analyzing microbiome data and has been cited more than 7,300 times since it was initially published in 2009. The Schloss lab deftly merges the ability to collect data to answer important biological questions using cutting edge wet-lab techniques and computational tools to synthesize these data to answer their biological questions.

Given the explosion in microbiome research over the past 15 years, the Schloss lab has also stood at the center of a major effort to train interdisciplinary scientists in applying computational tools to study complex biological systems. These efforts have centered around developing reproducible research skills and applying modern data visualization techniques. An outgrowth of these efforts at the University of Michigan has been the institutionalization of The Carpentries organization on campus (https://carpentries.org), which specializes in peer-to-peer instruction of programming tools and techniques to foster better reproducibility and build a community of practitioners.

The Schloss lab uses computational tools to integrate multi-omics tools in a culture-independent approach to understand how bacteria interact with each other and their host to drive processes such as colorectal cancer and susceptibility to Clostridium difficile infections.

Kathleen M Bergen

By |

Kathleen M Bergen, PhD, is Associate Research Scientist in the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Bergen currently has interim administrative oversight of the SEAS Environmental Spatial Analysis Laboratory (ESALab) and is interim Director of the campus-wide Graduate Certificate Program in Spatial Analysis.

Prof. Bergen works in the areas of human dimensions of environmental change; remote sensing, GIS and biodiversity informatics; and environmental health and informatics. Her focus is on combining field and geospatial data and methods to study the pattern and process of ecological systems, biodiversity and health. She also strives to build bridges between science and social science to understand the implications of human actions on the social and natural systems of which we are a part. She teaches courses in Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems. Formerly she served as a founding member of the UM LIbrary’s MIRLYN implementation team, directed the University Map Collection, and set up the M-Link reference information network.