- Ph.D., Ecology, Kent State University
- M.A., Systematics & Ecology, University of Kansas
- B.A., Biology, University of Kansas
- Associate Professor, Biology
- Dakota Wesleyan University
Currently, my lab focuses on comparative microbiome studies in which the microbiomes of different populations or species are compared for differences in diversity, composition, and function. Our primary study organisms are spiders, but my students have also investigated microbiome differences in different species of ants, different populations of crickets, different species of spiders, and different populations of bison. Students in my lab learn many sampling techniques as we have diverse taxa we investigate, and they learn DNA extraction, quantification, PCR amplification for DNA barcoding, and the bioinformatics necessary to study the microbiomes of these different target animals. Students who do a summer experience in my lab will choose their own project for microbiome comparison, ranging from comparing two or more different populations, species, or even biofilms (the microbiota that lives on the surface of things). They would then learn how to extract the needed microbial DNA, and how to use bioinformatics to analyze the data returned to us from the sequencing facility.