Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

News & Events

Local University Joins Global 4-day Effort to Digitize Centuries of Data About Life on Earth

October 12, 2021

For centuries, scientists have explored and documented the natural  world, collecting the billions of specimens housed in museums, universities, and field  stations worldwide.  And now, the University of Tennessee and other institutions across the globe want to  help make that information available to the general public.  But they need your help.  The University of Tennessee Herbarium invites ...

Sheldon Receives NSF CAREER Award

August 17, 2021

Kimberly Sheldon, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), was awarded a highly-competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award is NSF’s most prestigious recognition for early-career faculty members and recognizes individuals “who have the potential to serve as academic role models in ...

Budke Receives NSF CAREER Award

August 17, 2021

Jessica Budke, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and director of the UT Herbarium, received a highly-competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). This multi-year, $1.4 million grant will support Budke’s work on parent-offspring conflict in mosses. “The conflict is a striking paradox where ...

Why Are Some Mushrooms Poisonous?

June 21, 2021

Poisonous or edible? Ekaterina Morozova/iStock via Getty Images Plus Karen Hughes, University of Tennessee Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to Why are some mushrooms poisonous and some are not? – Alice T., age 11 You may have noticed that mushrooms ...

Pickled Fish Spawn Eco Clues

April 13, 2021

Pickled Fish Spawn Eco Clues

Tomato Production At Risk Due to Decrease in Buzz Pollinators

February 18, 2021

Tomatoes are the heart of many backyard gardens. Tomato crops are also an important economic revenue in North America. The vegetable we all know as the “T” of a great summer BLT, however, may be in jeopardy due to a decline in its pollinator species because of climate change. According to a study published in Ecological ...

Study Finds Protected Areas Vulnerable to Food Security Concerns

February 11, 2021

Protected areas are critical to mitigating extinction of species; however, they may also be in conflict with efforts to feed the growing human population. Paul Armsworth, professor of ecology and researcher with the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) is the co-author of a new study showing croplands are prevalent in protected areas, which ...

Faculty Honored for Research, Teaching, and Service

January 21, 2021

Each year, Dean Theresa Lee and members of her cabinet, with help from department heads, recognize faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences for their excellence in teaching, research and creative activity, and lifetime achievements.  Due to the ongoing pandemic, however, we were unable to host the annual awards banquet in-person. Each faculty member received ...

Evolution of Tropical Biodiversity Hotspots

December 10, 2020

For decades, scientists have worked to understand the intricacies of biological diversity – from genetic and species diversity to ecological diversity. As scientists began to understand the depths of diversity across the planet, they noticed an interesting pattern. The number of species increases drastically from the Poles to the Equator. This phenomenon, known as the latitudinal ...

The Queen of Spiders Has Retired

December 4, 2020

She has been one of the leading scientists in the field of animal behavior for decades, and a role model for generations of young researchers. Her work with K-12 schools in Tennessee has touched thousands of students over the last 20 years, instilling a passion for biology and for the scientific process. And, as she ...

Congrats to Susan Riechert on her retirement!

November 30, 2020

Congrats to Susan Riechert on her retirement!

Missed the ‘EEB Orientation to the concentration’ workshop last week? Please watch the recording of the workshop for info or an update on EEB procedures and opportunities.

November 19, 2020

Missed the ‘EEB Orientation to the concentration’ workshop last week? Please watch the recording of the workshop for info or an update on EEB procedures and opportunities.

Missed the Grad School Worshop? Catch it Here.

November 11, 2020

Undergrads, if you missed the Grad School workshop earlier in the fall, you can catch it here and hear great advice from current EEB grad students.

Singing in a Silent Spring

September 24, 2020

Birds respond to a half-century soundscape reversion during the COVID-19 shutdown When the novel coronavirus swept across the country, forcing most businesses to close their doors and people to stay home as a measure to stop the spread, people looked to the little things for signs of hope. For Elizabeth Derryberry, hope came in the form ...

Budke Receives NSF Collaboration Grant to Digitize Lichens and Bryophytes

August 26, 2020

Across the planet’s terrestrial surface lives a layer of organisms that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Lichens and bryophytes are hosts to these cryptobiotic communities that play a critical role in stabilizing soil, preventing erosion, absorbing rainfall, and providing nutrients for the growing plants around them. This hidden life creates a critical miniature ...

Kwit, Graduate Students’ Research Featured in Science

August 12, 2020

Charles Kwit, assistant professor of ecology, and his graduate students Chloe Lash and Chelsea Miller studied the microbial communities of seeds to discover what role ants play in seed dispersion. They looked at wild ginger, bloodroot, and twinleaf. Read more about their research and the role ants play in forest ecology in a recent Science article, ...

EEB Head’s statement on racism and police misconduct

June 5, 2020

Dear EEB community, The horrific issues of racism and police misconduct grabbing our attention lately are not news to the black members of our department, who experience it their entire lives. This racism, whether overt or unconscious, is present in our department, our field, and in our community. As Dean Lee stated in her message to the college, systemic changes ...

Kalisz, Heberling, and Collaborators Receive ESA’s Mercer Award

June 3, 2020

Susan Kalisz, professor and head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and former post-doctoral fellow Mason Heberling, now assistant curator of botany at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, received the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) George Mercer Award for their paper, “Phenological mismatch with trees reduces wildflower carbon budgets,” published in Ecology ...

McFarland Coauthors Paper on Spatially Separated Sexes and Extreme Sex Ratios in Hornwort

May 28, 2020

Kenneth McFarland, emeritus greenhouse manager and lecturer in the UT Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, recently co-authored a paper in Frontiers in Plant Science titled “Population Genomics and Phylogeography of a Clonal Bryophyte With Spatially Separated Sexes and Extreme Sex Ratios.” Sexual reproduction plays an essential role in species’ survival and maintenance. Clonality and other ...

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Announces 2020 Award Winners

May 8, 2020

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Announces 2020 Award Winners

Kalisz Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

May 5, 2020

Susan Kalisz, the College of Arts and Sciences Excellence Professor and head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is a newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences class of 2020. “I am honored to join such a distinguished group of scholars and leaders in the arts and sciences,” Kalisz said. ...

Gavrilets Receives Army Research Grants

March 23, 2020

Sergey Gavrilets, a distinguished professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has received more than $1.1 million in grants from the Army Research Office for study into societal resilience using evolutionary models and theories of revolution. Gavrilet’s research is funded by the Department of Defense’s Minerva Program, which is dedicated to predicting future socio-political ...

Kivlin Coauthors Article on Fungal Aerobiota

February 18, 2020

Stephanie Kivlin, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, coauthored a paper titled “Fungal aerobiota are not affected by time nor environment over a 13-y time series at the Mauna Loa Observatory,” published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers used 13 years of collected air samples from Mauna Loa Observatory ...

In Memory of Ed Clebesch

January 16, 2020

As snow blanketed the Smokies, Edward (Ed) Ernst Cooper Clebsch (June 6, 1929 – December 14, 2019) passed away in peace surrounded by his family. He was born in Clarksville, Tennessee, to Julia (Wilee) and Alfred Bernhard Clebsch, an immigrant from Bremen, Germany. Edward Clebsch, professor emeritus, spent most of his life living in Tennessee: Clarksville, ...

Faculty Honored at College Awards Banquet

December 10, 2019

The 2019 College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards banquet took place Thursday, December 5 at the Holiday Inn Downtown. From Diversity Leadership to awards in research, advising, and teaching, the annual awards banquet honors faculty excellence in all areas of the college mission. Elizabeth Derryberry, Charlie Kwit, and Beth Schussler received awards for their work in the Department ...

Harvey Publishes Article on Speciation

December 2, 2019

Mike Harvey, a postdoctoral fellow in the UT Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, published an article titled “Beyond Reproductive Isolation: Demographic Controls on the Speciation Process” in the Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. The article is a review of the past method of determining the cause of speciation – the process of how new species form. ...

Gaoue Coauthors Article about Medicinal Jungle Plants

November 25, 2019

Ourou Gaoue, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, coauthored a paper titled “Non-random medicinal plants selection in the Kichwa community of the Ecuadorian Amazon,” published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Researchers analyzed data collected on indigenous people’s uses of non-random medicinal jungle plants at the local level, rather than at the national level. This is the first time ...

Budke Publishes Paper on Spore Dispersal of Fern

November 25, 2019

Jessica Budke, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of UT’s Herbarium, published a paper titled “Evolution of Perine Morphology in the Thelypteridaceae” in the International Journal of Plant Sciences, that looks at the dispersal of fern spores. Researchers focused their study on Thelypteridaceae, a family of ferns that includes more than 1,000 species. Their research focused on ...

Underground fungal relationships key to thriving plants

October 29, 2019

For a plant to thrive, it needs the help of a friendly fungus–preferably one that will dig its way deep into the cells of the plant’s roots. Plants live in symbiosis with root-associated, or mycorrhizal, fungi. The fungi provide up to 80 percent of the nutrients and water a plant needs to grow, and the plants produce up to 30 ...

Derryberry Recognized in Women of Ornithology Article

October 21, 2019

Elizabeth Derryberry, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, received recognition in a timeline of important female ornithologists in a Cornell Lab of Ornithology article, focusing on the achievements of female ornithologists and their role in determining the causes of evolutionary advancements in birds. Part of Derryberry’s research focuses on the how bird songs are shaped by urban environments. “One of the ...

Do I need to go to grad school and how do I apply?

September 16, 2019

Please join an EEB Undergraduate Brownbag Workshop aimed at answering your most pressing questions about graduate school! A panel of EEB faculty & current UT Grads will answer questions like: – Why grad school? – How to set yourself up for grad school – How to search for programs & advisers – How to apply – What we wish we ...


August 14, 2019

ISLAND CONSERVATION STUDY- GUAM KINGFISHER AND THE BROWN TREE SNAKE 1-2 Student Research Assistants will be hired ($15/hour) to work with a multidisciplinary team evaluating the likelihood of Guam kingfisher Todiramphus cinnamominus reintroduction success on the western Pacific island of Guam. STUDY DESCRIPTIONSince 1988, the critically endangered Guam kingfisher has survived solely in captivity. Now only ca. ...

New Study on Microbes and Plant Competition

June 25, 2018

A new study published in Ecology Letters suggests there is more to plant competition than ecologists initially thought. Plants interact with many biotic entities – from other plants and microorganisms to animals – but little is known about the relative influence each of these interactions has on determining plant growth and survival. Most plants compete with ...

2018 EEB Awards

May 15, 2018

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department had their annual awards ceremony on Friday, May 11, 2018. Congratulations to: o 2018 EEB Outstanding Master’s Thesis: Chad Stachowiak o 2018 EEB Jim Tanner Outstanding Dissertation: Sara Lipshutz o 2018 EEB Best Progress Toward Dissertation: Chloe Lash o 2018 EEB Sandy Echternacht Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student: Melqui Gamba-Rios o 2018 EEB Outstanding ...

Hollaender Fellowship for Lampley

April 28, 2018

Congratulations to Jayne Lampley (Schilling Lab), who has received a Hollaender Fellowship from the Division of Biology! This Fellowship recognizes an outstanding graduate student within the division, that shows outstanding academic qualifications, research accomplishments, and scientific/professional promise.

EUReCA award for Cahill

April 28, 2018

There were some amazing entries from EEB for the April 16-20 EUReCA (Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement) event! Congratulations to Samantha Cahill (Giam Lab) for winning an Arts & Sciences Award in EUReCA with her research Spatial Analysis of Mountaintop Mining’s Impact on Water Quality and Macroinvertebrates. Honorable mention went to Alexis Case’s (Hughes Lab) ...

Chancellor’s Award for Chen

April 25, 2018

Congratulations to Miranda Chen (Schussler Lab) for winning the 2018 Extraordinary Community Service Chancellor Award!

Plant Sale April 24-25

April 24, 2018

The EEB Greenhouses will be having a plant sale on Tuesday & Wednesday, April 24 & 25, from 11:00 – 1:00 in front of Hesler Biology Building. Plants for sale include Begonia, Ghost plant, Golden trumpet, Panda plant, Jewel orchid, Cape sundew and more. We will be accepting cash or check (no credit cards). Prices range ...

Fighting Invasives in Knoxville

April 17, 2018

Thirty volunteers came out to help remove invasive plants from Deans Woodlot (near Alcoa Highway, south of UT’s main campus) at the end of March.  Everyone had a great attitude and was eager to remove invasive plants! Below are a some pictures of before, after, and the mound of material removed.      

NSF Award and Recognition for EEB

April 13, 2018

EEB undergraduate Justin Baldwin and EEB graduate student Maggie Mamantov (Sheldon Lab) both received honorable mentions in the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. This program selects early career students with high potential in science. Amanda Wilson Carter (postdoc, Sheldon Lab) was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology! Using dung beetles, she ...

2018 Shipley-Swann Graduate School Fellowship

April 11, 2018

Congratulations to EEB graduate student Miranda Chen. Miranda was selected as a recipient of the 2018–2019 Shipley-Swann Graduate Fellowship. By receiving this fellowship, Miranda is being recognized as one of the most promising graduate and professional students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

2018 Mini-Term Courses

April 10, 2018

We are pleased to offer three mini-term courses this year. We are confident that you will love each of these courses. Email to override pre-req Natural History of the Smokies – 70213 – CRN 461-001 “Natural History of the Great Smoky Mountains”. This course is a field ecology course that includes a one-week field trip. Course ...

Grad Student Senate Awards

April 5, 2018

The Graduate Student Senate Awards were held on April 4.  Check out all the winners from EEB! Graduate Research Mentor of the Year:  Associate Professor Elisabeth Schussler Excellence in Teaching:  Justin Hendy (Small Lab) Excellence in Research: Sara Lipshutz (Derryberry Lab) Excellence in Service: Alannie Grant (Kalisz Lab)  

EarthFest 2018

April 4, 2018

The 19th Annual Knoxville EarthFest will be held on Saturday, April 28 from 10am-5pm at the Knoxville Botanical Garden. There will be talks and activities like helping build bat boxes.  The GREBE (Graduate Students in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution) Outreach Committee will have a booth. It’s going to be super fun, especially for kids, so plan to come out! Check out ...

Gross Receives SEC Award

March 30, 2018

Professor Louis Gross was honored with the 2018 SEC Faculty Achievement Award this week.  The award recognizes professors from the 14 Southeastern Conference schools who have outstanding records in teaching and scholarship. Honorees from each university receive an honorarium and become their university’s nominee for SEC Professor of the Year, to be awarded later this ...

Science as Poetry

March 29, 2018

At the heart of a liberal arts education is the intersection of science and art. In his new book, Elements of Chance, Art Stewart, adjunct professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, presents science-flavored poems for scientists. “Poetry and science are not at odds with one another,” Stewart says. “Rather, these two great constructs ...

Course Offerings Fall 2018

March 28, 2018

In addition to the regular course offerings this fall, the following new courses may be of interest!   Course Number Credits Schedule Course Title Instructor(s) Poster Psych 601 CRN 52384 Psych 482 CRN 51071  3 Fri, 9:05 am -12:05 pm Austin Peay 411 The Function, Evolution, and Neuroscience of Play Burghardt Psych601 FWF 325 3 Tu/Th 9:40 am – 12:25 pm 113 Plant Biotech Wildlife Vegetation and Habitat Kwit FWF325  

Kalisz & Fukami Elected to ASN Leadership

March 27, 2018

EEB Department Head Susan Kalisz has been elected as President 2020 of the American Society of Naturalists.  Congratulations! Alumnus Tadashi Fukami (PhD 2003) has also been elected to the leadership of ASN, as Secretary 2019-2021.  

Papes Seminar 3/29

March 20, 2018

EEB Assitant Professor Mona Papes will give a seminar in the Geography department on Thursday, March 29. Click here to view the poster. Why Geography Matters to Ecologists: Geographical Patterns of Biodiversity Thursday, March 29th in the Burchfiel Geography Building Room 301. Reception with cookies and coffee to start at 3:30, talk from 4:00-5:00. In this talk, I will provide an ...

I Will Make Tennessee Proud

March 15, 2018

Pre-eminent entomologist Carl Huffaker (’38, ’39) never forgot the kindness of a UT president. By Brooks Clark (’16) Among the pleasures of working in UT alumni relations are the occasions when long, lost alums or their families come back to campus and we get to revisit the old sights and introduce them to the new show. Last ...

New Plant Species and Habitat Near Knoxville

February 27, 2018

A paper describing the discovery of a new plant species, the Leatherleaf Tassel Rue (Trautvetteria fonticalcarea), was just published by recent UT graduate Aaron Floden (PhD 2017) in the Nordic Journal of Botany. Floden, writing with his PhD advisor Prof. Ed Schilling, also provided the first published description of the unique habitat in which this ...

Three Minute Thesis Competition

February 22, 2018

Two EEB grad students are competing in the 3-minute thesis competition next week: Jordan Bush (Simberloff Lab) and Sara Lipshutz (Derryberry Lab). This is a University-wide competition, so we are doing well to have two EEB-ers representing us! See pdf for details. Jordan and Sara are speaking on February 26, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. in room ...

Tewksbury Seminar 2/16

February 13, 2018

Josh Tewksbury, of Future Earth, is the EEB seminar speaker this Friday (Feb. 16), at 3:30 PM in 307 SERF.  This seminar is affiliated with the Haines Morris Endowment-funded seminar series, “Why Natural History Matters in the 21st Century.” The talk is entitled “Natural History’s place in Science and Society” (poster).  

Darwin Day 2018

February 6, 2018

Darwin Day at UT is hosting 2 events coming up this weekend and early next week! We have Darwin’s Birthday Party at the McClung Museum on Saturday, Feb. 10th from 1-4pm with cake, scavenger hunts, crafts, and Darwin himself. Monday, Feb. 12 at 7pm we have Dr. Nizar Ibrahim (discoverer of Spinosaurus, an aquatic dinosaur) coming to campus to give a lecture. For more information, ...

Simberloff Amongst Most Cited

February 1, 2018

Professor Daniel Simberloff is one of two UT faculty members who have earned the distinction of being among the most cited researchers in the world, according to Clarivate Analytics, formerly Thompson Reuters. It’s the second such recognition in a row for Simberloff. Those measurements came in relation to specific findings and papers rather than a cross-examination of ...

Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity

January 29, 2018

UT is home to a new Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity (DySoC), led by  Director Sergey Gavrilets.  Other EEB faculty involved in the center include Nina Fefferman and Lou Gross. “The goal of the Center is to promote connections and collaborations between different researchers focusing on various aspects and levels of human social behavior. ...

No Fortuitous Short-Cuts When Deciding Conservation Priorities

January 20, 2018

The Armsworth Lab has a new open-access publication out in Nature Communications: “Factoring economic costs into conservation planning may not improve agreement over priorities for protection.”  It is a collaboration between an interdisciplinary team of UT researchers with scientists at The Nature Conservancy and focuses on how best to identify candidate areas for establishing nature ...

Energy and Environment Forums, Spring 2018

January 20, 2018

The list of seminar speakers for the Spring 2018 Baker Center Energy and Environment Forums has been released!  Download the pdf here. Thursday, February 1—Laura Ogden, Energy and Environment Forum, 1–2:30 p.m., Toyota Auditorium. Ogden will present “Trace Impressions of Being: Loss, Change, and Wonder in the Fuegian Archipelago ” Dr. Ogden is an associate professor ...

Stachowiak Fellowship Finalist

January 9, 2018

Graduate Student Chad Stachowiak (Armsworth Lab), is a finalist for a 2018 Presidential Management Fellowship. “The PMF Program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. It was created more than three decades ago by Executive Order and has gone through many changes over the years. The Program attracts and ...

Pierson Photography on Display

January 9, 2018

Graduate Student Todd Pierson (Fitzpatrick Lab) has some of his beautiful photography on display (and for sale) at Trailhead Beer Market in South Knoxville.  EEB uses some of his photos on the website.  Check it out!  

Etnier Ichthyology Endowment Established to Support Research, Improve Aquatic Biodiversity in Tennessee

December 15, 2017

Representatives from the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced the establishment of the Etnier Ichthyology Endowment at a reception on the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus Thursday, December 14. “TVA is proud to be partners with the University of Tennessee, and David Etnier has been a big part of that partnership for ...

Course Offerings Spring 2018 (updated 1/9/18)

December 4, 2017

In addition to the regular course offerings this spring, the following new courses may be of interest!   Course Number Credits Schedule Course Title Instructor(s) Poster FWF 590, s.1; CRN 29418  3 11:10am-12:25pm Tu Th Rare Species Biology, Conservation and Management Charles Kwit poster EEB 461, CRN:31987 9:40-10:55am Tu Th Behavioral Ecology poster EEB 461, CRN:31595 3 8:00-11:00am M Mixed Severity Wildfires Karen Hughes poster EEB 461, CRN:26971 EEB 504, CRN:26273 3 12:40-1:55pm Tu Th Invasion Biology Dan Simberloff Christy Leppanen poster 1 poster 2 EEB 461 EEB 602 3 Landscape Ecology, an online course poster EEB ...

50th Anniversary of Island Biogeography Studies

November 9, 2017

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the seminal Simberloff and Wilson island biogeography studies, the Bulletin for the Ecological Society of America published a special extended edition of their “Paper Trail” series in October. In this series, young researchers tell stories of how a particular paper influenced them, and the original authors of the ...

Kwit Featured in Podcast

November 8, 2017

Assistant Professor Charles Kwit was featured in the November 4 podcast of Tennessee Farm Table, entitled “The Wild Persimmon of Appalachia.”  He starts talking around 2 min 25 sec into the podcast.  He talks about the biology of the native persimmon, Diospyros virginiana.

Fall 2017 EEB Newsletter Now Available!

November 6, 2017

The Fall 2017 issue of Explorations, the EEB Newsletter, is now available!  You can view the newsletter as a printable pdf.

UT’s Etnier Fish Collection Featured in Research

October 18, 2017

Adjunct Assistant Professor Ben Keck just published two articles, each describing a new species of fish that relied on specimens from the David A. Etnier Ichthyological Collection at UT.  Congratulations, Ben!  

Herbarium Awards and Fellowships Available, 2017

October 18, 2017

The EEB Collections Committee is pleased to announce the following three awards from the Hesler Fund to support and enhance herbarium-based research at UTK. Please share these award announcements with any students, colleagues, and collaborators who might be interested in applying. Student Research Awards – Awards are available for research in the areas of systematics, ecology, biogeography, conservation, and ...

Teaching Resource Development Award for Poppenwimmer

October 16, 2017

Tyler Poppenwimer (Gross & Bailey Labs) won an award to develop online teaching resources to enhance the teaching of Math 152 in spring 2018. The award, offered by UT’s Office of Information Technology, is open to Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA). The grant is awarded for the enhancement of a course by utilizing OIT-supported technologies and innovative ...

Press for Burghardt: Snakes that recognize whether they are venomous

October 11, 2017

Professor Gordon Burghardt has a new article out in Journal of Comparative Psychology with Akira Mori called, “Do tiger keelback snakes (Rhabdophis tigrinus) recognize how toxic they are?” (DOI: 10.1037/com0000075) The findings of the article have been picked up by places like New Scientist. Tiger keelback snakes do not make their own venom; they store and ...

Milt (PhD 2015) Recognized by Conservation Biology

October 1, 2017

Austin Milt (PhD 2015, now a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin) won third place in Conservation Biology’s ‘Rising Star’ award for his manuscript, “The Costs of Avoiding Environmental Impacts from Shale-Gas Surface Infrastructure.” The Rising Star award considers all student led papers published in Conservation Biology in 2016. This award is judged by a ...

Press Takes Interest in New Blum Article

September 17, 2017

Associate Professor Mike Blum has a new paper out in the journal Ecosphere this month, called “Socioecological disparities in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.”  Some science news outlets have picked up on the article: Science News Online Science Daily The paper’s findings are particularly topical as communities in Texas and Florida begin to rebuild after recent hurricanes Harvey ...

Magic Mushroom Effects on Insects

August 25, 2017

There is an August 23, 2017 article in New Scientist about hallucinogenic mushrooms and their insect-repellent properties.  The article mentions work done at Ohio State, and the Matheny Lab helped with the research, particularly former grad student Hailee Korotkin (MS 2017). There’s a similar article in The Atlantic.

New Book from Matheny

August 23, 2017

EEB’s Brandon Matheny, together with Neale Bougher from the Western Australian Herbarium, authored a book that came out in June 2017 called Fungi of Australia: Inocybaceae.  This major revision describes a total of 137 recognized species, of which 101 are new to science!  Read the full description from the publisher, below. From Csiro Publishing The family Inocybaceae ...

New Faculty’s Research Featured on The Atlantic’s CityLab

August 11, 2017

Associate Professor Michael Blum joined EEB on August 1.  He has been researching rats in New Orleans, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  His research is featured in an August 9 article on The Atlantic’s CityLab website called, “Will Cities Ever Outsmart Rats?“.  

Fall 2017 Seminar Calendar

August 11, 2017

The Fall 2017 EEB Seminar Calendar can now be viewed at  It may take a week for the seminars to appear on the “Upcoming Events” feed at the bottom of the EEB homepage.

Buried in their Work!

August 11, 2017

EEB Volunteers get Dirty Digging Roots to Help with Invasive Species Research In July, a group of EEB faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students, family, and friends helped dig roots as part of a study of belowground communities associated with hemlock trees.  Prof. Daniel Simberloff and Christy Leppanen (EEB lecturer and postdoc), are collaborating with ...

Gross Named Fellow of Society for Mathematical Biology

July 26, 2017

A distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT), Gross is also the founding and current director of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) and director of UT’s Institute for Environmental Modeling. His research focuses on computational and mathematical ecology, with applications to plant ...

Burghardt in the News

June 25, 2017

Professor Gordon Burghardt appears in the June 23 Knoxville News-Sentinel, in an article by Philip Kronk called, “Fear of snakes may date to evolution in Africa.” Burghardt also appears on The Evolution Institute website, in a conversation with Kevin Laland, author of “Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind.”  They discuss adaptive trends and ...

Penley Fellowship for Bayliss

June 14, 2017

Shannon Bayliss (Bailey Lab) has received a Penley Fellowship from the Graduate School at UT.  This award is quite new and was first bestowed in 2016.  Awardees are selected on the strength of the applicant’s ability to make a persuasive case for the importance of their project and evidence that the fellowship is necessary to ...

Freeberg Featured in Natural History

May 27, 2017

The June 2017 issue of Natural History has a ½ page article featuring Adjunct Professor Todd Freeberg.  The article reports on a behavioral ecology study he conducted with colleagues on naturally-occurring flocks of over-wintering Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice, and white-breasted nuthatches to find out why some birds regularly travel in mixed-species flocks. Author:  Wilson, Niki Source:  Natural ...

BSA Research Award for Benoit

May 26, 2017

Amanda Benoit (Kalisz Lab) has won a Botanical Society of America’s 2017 Graduate Student Research Award for her proposal, “Sit-and-wait predators as drivers of plant mating system evolution.”  She will be recognized at the Botany conference in Fort Worth, TX, in June.  Congratulations!

Gavrilets and the Role of Social Norms

May 24, 2017

Sergey Gavrilets has coauthored a recent paper in PNAS called “Collective action and the evolution of social norm internalization.” Following social norms can sometimes be costly for individuals if norms require sacrifice for the good of the group. The study sheds light on the power of norms and the origins of cooperation. Read the NIMBioS ...

DoD Fellowship for Scott

May 22, 2017

Shelby Scott (Gross Lab) has been awarded a three-year 2017 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship!  The NDSEG Fellowship is sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory, the Office of Naval Research, and the Army Research Office. The American Society for ...

Sigma Xi Award for Rivarola

May 17, 2017

Maria Daniela Rivarola (Simberloff Lab) won the Sigma Xi Student Superior Presentation in November 2016, at the Sigma Xi Annual Meeting & Student Research Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Congratulations!

EEB Departmental Awards 2017

May 10, 2017

Congratulations to all the graduate students, undergraduate students, and staff who received awards at the EEB Awards Ceremony on May 1.   To view more photos, please visit the EEB Facebook page.  For more information about any of the awards below, please visit the Departmental Awards and Scholarships page. 2017 EEB Outstanding Master’s Thesis Alix Pfennigwerth (Schweitzer ...

Division of Biology Awards 2017

May 10, 2017

EEB congratulates our graduate students who won awards from UT’s Division of Biology!   These awards can be given to any graduate students in Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB), Microbiology, or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. 2017 Cokkinias Award – Rachel Wooliver (Schweitzer Lab), for outstanding scholarly achievements. 2017 Teaching Award – Cassie Dresser (Fitzpatrick Lab), for outstanding ...

Discover Magazine Interviews Burghardt, Pruitt- UPDATE

May 8, 2017

The June 2017 issue of Discover Magazine has an article on play behavior in non-mammalian animals.  Called “The Play’s the Thing,” it features interviews with Professor Gordon Burghardt and alumnus Jonathan Pruit (PhD 2010, Riechert Lab, now on the faculty at UC-Santa Barbara). The article references a paper published in 2012 that was written by ...

Science Writing Award for Bush

May 2, 2017

Graduate student Jordan Bush (Simberloff Lab) will receive the J. Paul Blakely Award of Excellence in the category of Science Writing, Graduate Division at an awards ceremony on May 4, 2017. This award from the East Tennessee Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC-ETC) recognizes students with an interest in technical/professional communication or science writing, from ...

Nature Ecology & Evolution paper for Van Nuland

April 29, 2017

Finishing graduate student Michael Van Nuland (Schweitzer Lab) has a new paper out in Nature Ecology & Evolution with Joe Bailey and Jen Schweitzer: Divergent plant–soil feedbacks could alter future elevation ranges and ecosystem dynamics Congratulations!  A pdf of the article can be viewed here.  Or, read a press release at Tennessee Today.

EEB Awards & Graduation Ceremonies May 1, 2017

April 23, 2017

EEB will host the annual EEB Awards Ceremony at 3pm on Monday, May 1, in SERF 307.  Food and drink will be provided. EEB will host the first EEB Graduation Ceremony in the same location, immediately following the Awards Ceremony, at 4pm.  The ceremony will last approximately one hour, and Department Head Susan Kalisz will recognize ...

2017 Chancellor’s Honors Awards for EEB

April 23, 2017

Two members of EEB received awards at the Chancellor’s Honors Award Banquet on April 19, 2017: PhD candidate Cassie Dresser (Fitzpatrick Lab) & Associate Professor Beth Schussler 2017 Graduate Student Teaching Award Cassie Dresser Unlike many PhD candidates who focus solely on research, Cassie Dresser has wanted to teach since arriving in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary ...

Shipley-Swann Fellowship for Pierson

April 17, 2017

Todd Pierson (Fitzpatrick Lab) has been awarded a Shipley-Swann Graduate School Fellowship for 2017-18. The fellowship recognizes graduate students across campus who demonstrate academic excellence; it provides students with a stipend of $5,000 for the year. Congratulations, Todd!  

Graduate Student Senate Awards 2017

April 17, 2017

Congratulations to the EEB grad students who won Graduate Student Senate awards this year. There are a few different categories: Research: This award is presented to graduate students who have received national and/or international recognition in their fields and show professional promise in their areas of research and creative achievement. Sam Borstein (O’Meara Lab) Angela Chuang (Riechert Lab) Aaron ...

Gavrilets Elected to American Academy

April 13, 2017

Distinguished Professor Sergey Gavrilets has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Founded in 1780, the American Academy is of the nation’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers.  The academy has served the nation as a champion of scholarship, civil dialogue, and useful knowledge.  Its membership encompasses over 4,600 Fellows ...

Beyond Academia 2017

April 11, 2017

EEB’s GREBE (Graduate Researchers in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution) collaborated with FOSEP (Forum on Science Ethics & Policy) to host the Beyond Academia: Environmental Edition forum on April 8. The event consisted of Q&A sessions with panelists and networking sessions. There were a variety of panelists from government agencies, NGOs, the CDC, ORNL, science policy organizations, ...

Hughes, Matheny, and Petersen in News-Sentinel

April 5, 2017

The Knoxville News-Sentinel has an article on the research that Karen Hughes, Brandon Matheny and Ron Petersen are doing on the post-fire growth of fungi in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Check it out at

EEB a Large Presence at STEM Symposium

March 23, 2017

The 3rd Annual Women in STEM Research Symposium was held Tuesday, March 21, 2017 in Hodges Library from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m..  Hosted by Pipeline–Vols for Women in STEM, the symposium featured over 90 presentations from UT graduate students doing research in STEM-related fields, from Animal Science, Kinesiology, and Nursing, to Chemistry, Physics, and ...

Gavrilets Article Getting Attention

March 21, 2017

EEB Professor Sergey Gavrilets has a new paper out in Scientific Reports called “The evolution of extreme cooperation via shared dysphoric experiences.”  It’s only been a week, but people all over the world are excited about the research; check out the press links, below! Finnish: German: Italian: Ukrainian: Russian:

EEB Students Win NSF GRFP Fellowships

March 20, 2017

EEB students have done very well again in the 2017 round of NSF GRFP (Graduate Research Fellowship Program) fellowships!  Our congratulations go to finishing undergraduate Patrick McKenzie (Armsworth Lab), incoming graduate student Rachel Swenie (Matheny Lab), and current PhD student Morgan Roche (Kalisz Lab). In addition, two EEB alumni won GRFP awards: Robert Connell (BS 2015, ...

NSF-DDIG Grants for Grant and Borstein

March 20, 2017

Alannie-Grace Grant (Kalisz Lab) and Sam Borstein (O’Meara Lab) have been awarded Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grants from the National Science Foundation.  Congratulations to you both! Grant’s dissertation research is entitled, “Selection, niche breadth and plant mating system evolution: Are wider niche breadths of selfing species shaped by water limitation?” Borstein’s dissertation research is called, “Morphological consequences of ...