Apply for an outreach grant!

It’s that time of year again. We are accepting proposals for the Animal Behavior Society Outreach Grant. We plan to award several grants up to $1,000 this year. Proposals are only 1 page and are due December 1, 2018. You must be a member of ABS to apply. What are you waiting for?!




Please support…

…my research on purring crickets by helping me complete a field season this winter. This kickstarter will cover costs for me as well as an undergraduate I’m mentoring. Every dollar helps, and you can get fun prizes. Thanks so much!

Purring Cricket Kickstarter:

SAU in the community


Joseph Lappie from SAU teaching me screen printing

I was checking out the farmers market in Davenport and ran into the SAU art department! They were teaching the public how to screen print. I printed a tote! How cool is that? I just want to take a moment to give a shout out to St Ambrose. The faculty and the students are engaged in the community and committed to service. It’s pretty amazing. I’m feeling lucky to be an Ambrosian.

Student research is…

…chugging along at Nahant marsh! The Biology Department at St. Ambrose University builds independent research experiences into every undergraduate class! Currently, seven groups of three students in the middle of data collection. All seven projects are SO creative. I cannot wait to find out the results! Stay tuned…

Purring paper!

I’m thrilled to announce that our purring cricket paper came out today! I have loved working with this fabulous group of people to try to figure out what is going on with the field crickets in Kalaupapa National Park–they sing a novel song that sounds like a purr! Check out the first installment in what promises to be a page-turner of a series 😉

High severity fires…

fire paper graph…decreased herbivore damage by about 50% in our study that was just published today in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. Furthermore, the effect of fire on insect herbivore damage was mostly direct, but indirect effects mediated through changes in plant quality were also significant. Our results have important implications for the effects of climate-driven increases in fire severity on plant-insect interactions. I had a blast working with Shannon (PI) and members of the Murphy lab on this fun project that was way outside my area of expertise. Thanks for including me Shannon!

Congrats Lindsay!

About a year ago I posted about the long journey from conception of an idea to submitting it for publication. Two students in my evolution class created a game to teach evolution by natural selection to third graders. The NGSS now suggests that we teach this topic as early as third grade, but there are very few resources available for teachers. I have been working closely with Lindsay Todd, the lead author, for almost 2 years, and this week her hard work was rewarded! Our paper was accepted in the journal Children and Science. I’m very proud of Lindsay’s perseverance and great attitude. She was a joy to work with–if only St. Ambrose had a graduate program!

I’m an Ambrosian now

I’m excited to call Davenport, IA and St. Ambrose University my new home. The faculty and staff have been incredibly welcoming and helpful. I’ve already found lots of fun vintage shops around town, several great music venues, and a great art scene. I also got to tour Nahant Marsh where I’ll be helping the students in my bio class conduct original independent research 3 days per week! Stay tuned to find about about the exciting projects they design…