Winter 2024

January 25
David Baum, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Origins of evolution: Chemical ecosystem dynamics and the emergence of life”
February 8
Susanne Renner, Washington University – Department of Biology, “The genetic basis of a plant camouflage trait and the dynamics of plant/butterfly coevolution under climate change”
February 15
Roundtable Speakers, Center for the Environment, “Research Adventures from Madagascar”
February 29
Graduate Students, Washington University – Department of Biology
Chloe Gehret “Carryover effects of salinity impact propagule release by a common marine biofouling species”
Lauren Johnson “Mosquito Activity and Behavior in Light-Polluted Environments”
Maia Jones “RAD Sequencing Approach to Population Genomic Assessment of Cycas candida (Cycadaceae)”
Sean McHugh “Modeling fundamental and realized climatic niches in a phylogenetic comparative framework”
March 7
Albert Soewongsono, Washington University – Department of Biology, “Mathematical perspectives on phylogenetic models of lineage diversification”.
March 21
Nina Fogel, Washington University – Department of Biology, “Microclimate variation across a gradient of urbanization”
April 11
Kevin Cox, Washington University – Department of Biology, “Into the Pond and Beyond: A Journey Into Duckweed Transcriptomics Using Spatial and Single-Cell Genomics”
April 18
Ambika Kamath, University of Colorado – Boulder, “Feminism in the Wild: How Human Assumptions Have Shaped the Science of Animal Behavior”.
April 25
Thomas Valone, Saint Louis University, “Exotic invasion of a desert plant community: causes and consequences”

Fall 2023

Presentations can be viewed on the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

August 31
Dr. Keith Hengen, Washington University – Neuroscience, “A waste of time or a chance to reset the OS: Why do animals sleep?”
September 7
Brittney Peterson, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, “Tales from the Crypts: How insect gut bacteria influence host physiology”
September 14
Jancoba Dorley, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, “Aerobic respiration and processing across stream ecosystems”
September 21
Christopher Topp, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, “What’s going on down there? Phenomics Technologies for Root and Rhizosphere Research”
September 28
Ruth Defries, Columbia University, “Two stories in pursuit of linking science with action: the millet revival and tiger crossings”.
This seminar will be held at Umrath Lounge.


Hosted by The Center for the Environment. Co-hosted by Living Earth Collaborative and the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences.
October 5
Kelly Zamudio, University of Texas – Austin, “Diversification and Conservation of Neotropical Amphibians”
October 12
Sarah Holaday, Endangered Wolf Center, “How ONE WOLF makes a difference”
October 19
Mikhail Tikhonov, Washington University – Physics, “Emergent simplicity in microbial ecosystems”
October 26
Tom Radomski, Washington University – Tyson Research Center, “Assumptions and predictions in process-based models of species’ distributions”
November 2
Wendy Applequist, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Taxonomy of Salicaceae of Madagascar: Implications for conservation”
November 9
Graduate Students – Washington University – EEB
November 16
Graduate Students – Washington University – EEB
November 30
Emma Vaasjo, Saint Louis Zoo, “The microbiome and conservation translocations; an example of endangered greater sage-grouse in managed care”
December 7
John DeLong, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Spring 2023

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

January 26
Dr. Sara Miller, University of Missouri – St. Louis, “Novel traits and the origins of diversity in social wasps”  
February 2
Dr. Kaylee Arnold, Living Earth Collaborative, “Vector microbiome-pathogen-environment associations across multiple scales: Implications for Chagas disease transmission”
February 9
Sponsored by Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Kevin T. Uno, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, “Molecules in mud: Reconstructing Neogene Hominid Environments from Molecular Biomarkers in Terrestrial and Marine Sediments”. Rudolph Hall, Room 301.
Please register here in advance to receive the Zoom link for this meeting.
February 16
Jason Knouft, Saint Louis University, “The potential for the weaponization of water in a changing climate”
February 23
Jeff Meshach, World Bird Sanctuary, “Saving birds the World Bird Sanctuary Way”
March 2
Biology Graduate Students
Sarah Swiston: How the environment shapes diversification and dispersal: a feature-informed phylogenetic method of historical biogeography (+ Lizards!)
Shreenidhi Perukkaranai Madabhushi: Strategies for predation in the social amoeba, Dictyostelium discoideum
Wen-Hsi Kuo: Gene copy number variation and local adaptation in clover
Jhan Salazar: Once upon a time in Colombia: evolution and ecology of thermal physiology in the Andes
March 9
Biology Graduate Students (Phillipa Tanford, Israt Jahan, Sean McHugh, James Lucas-Ojascastro), “TBD”
March 23
Stanton Braude, Washington University, “Evolution of Dogs and Dog Aggression”
Jonathan Losos, Living Earth Collaborative, “Macroevolutionary Trends in the Evolution of Domestic Cats and Dogs”
March 30
Onja Razafindratsima, University of California-Berkeley, “Plants on the move: influence of lemur behavior on seed dispersal patterns”
April 13
Robin McDowell, Washington University,Plant, Prison, Port, and Pigment: Histories of Environmental Racism in Southeast Louisiana”
April 20
Bruce Carlson, Washington University,Signal Diversification and the Evolution of Sensorimotor Integration”
April 27
Nathan Jacobs, Washington University,Toward Dynamic Multimodal Remote Sensing: From Buildings and Populations to Soundscapes and Aesthetics”

Fall 2022

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

September 1
John Grady, Living Earth Collaborative, “Sharks, trees, and dinosaurs: How metabolic power shapes species interactions and global biodiversity”
September 8
Stella Uiterwaal, Living Earth Collaborative, “Diet and foraging in a community of generalist predators, wolf spiders”
September 15
Kara Andres, Living Earth Collaborative, “Environmental DNA for assessing genetic diversity and species abundance”
September 22
Paul Hime, McDonnell Genome Institute – Washington University, “Precision Human Medicine at the Intersection of Biodiversity Science and Functional Genomics”
September 29
Kate Farley, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Listening to Locals: Folk Conservation Among Wild Plant Harvesters in Rural Appalachia”
October 6
Gerardo Camilo, Saint Louis University, “Helping people help bees: The case for branding pollinator conservation”
October 13
Graham Reynolds, University of North Carolina – Asheville, “The Relative Roles of Contingency, Determinism, and Stochasticity in the Evolution of West Indian Boas”
October 20
Rhiannon Vargas, Justin Baldwin, Sean McHugh, Ethan Abercrombie, Washington University

Rhiannon Vargas, “Microbiome of dairy farm workers have compositional similarities to that of dairy cows”
Justin Baldwin, “Avian adaptation to thermal gradients”
Sean McHugh, “Macroevolutionary Shifts in both Realized and Fundamental Biome Affinities”
Ethan Abercrombie, “The Effects of Climate Change on Small-mammal Communities in the Sierra Nevada”
October 27
Brock Mashburn, Anna Wassel, Wen-Hsi Kuo, Lauren Johnson, Washington University

Brock Mashburn, “How connected is the globe?: Biogeographic surprises in Hibiscus”
Anna Wassel, “Why do pawpaws do the things they do? Foundation species’ effects on community assembly”
Wen-Hsi Kuo, “The genetics of the white mark polymorphism in white clover”
Lauren Johnson, “Hormones and Behavior in Anolis Lizards”
November 3
Jizhong (Joe) Zhou, University of Oklahoma, “Microbial Feedbacks to Climate Change: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Perspectives”
November 10
Cristy Portales-Reyes, Saint Louis University, “TBA”
November 17
Liz Mallot, Washington University, “Bugs and Bugs: Insectivory and the Primate Microbiome”
December 1
Danelle Haake, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, “Developments in Community-Driven Science: People, Salt, and Mussels”
December 8
Ed Spevak, Saint Louis Zoo, “Native Foods, Native Peoples, Native Pollinators: An Initiative to Support Pollinators, Native Americans and the Environment”
December 15
Anne Yoder, Duke University, “Cryptic Speciation in Madagascar’s Mouse Lemurs: A Tale of Addiction”

Winter 2021/Spring 2022

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

January 20
Rowan McGinley, Saint Louis University, “Contests in Context: Causes, Costs & Correlations”
January 27
Enrique Jimenez, North Carolina State University, “The Evolution of Recombination Rate Variation”
February 3
Erik Herzog, Washington University, “Clocks Gone Wild: Circadian Rhythms in St. Louis”
February 10
Matthew Dugas, Illinois State University, “Begging for Attention: The Information Content and Function of Offspring solicitations”
February 17
Cristina Macklem, Saint Louis Zoo, “Ongoing Hellbender Research at the Saint Louis Zoo”
February 24
Patricia Olynyk, Washington University Sam Fox School, “Eco Art in a Precarious World”
March 3
Chris Prener, Saint Louis University, “Detrimental Influences: Tracing the Links Between Historical Segregation and Contemporary Inequality in St. Louis”
March 10
Corina Tarnita, Princeton University, “Complexity, Diversity, and Robustness at the Origin of Biological Construction”
March 24
Matthew Rubin, Danforth Plant Science Center, “Growing the Botanical Foundation for Crop Development: Characterizing Patterns of Variation and Covariation in Herbaceous Perennials”
March 31
Kyra Krakos, Maryville University, “Adventures in Undergraduate Education: Seeing Beyond the Wall of Green Using Cross-Discipline Approaches”
April 7
Michael Dawson, Saint Louis Zoo, “Spring Peeper Program Update: What is Happening to Three of Our Smaller Spring-Breeding Frog Species in the STL-Metro Area?”
April 14
Derek Hoeferlin, Washington University Sam Fox School, “Way Beyond Bigness: The Need for a Watershed Architecture”
April 21
Adam Smith, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Addressing the Hutchinsonian Shortfall:  How can we better characterize the fundamental niche of species?”
April 28
Sebastián Tello, Missouri Botanical Garden, “”

Fall 2021

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

September 2
Andrew Kaul, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Processes determining plant species diversity in restored tallgrass prairies”
September 9
Caleb Axelrod, Washington University, “Ecological effects on brain form in adaptively diverging sunfish”
September 16
Theresa Gildner, Washington University, “Lifestyle Variation and Parasitic Disease Patterns: Environmental Exposures and Associated Health Inequities”
September 23
Carlos Daniel Cadena Ordoñez, Los Andes University, “The Origin and Future of a Tropical Biodiversity Hostpot”
September 30
Don Miles, Ohio University, “Integrating physiology and behavior to evaluate adaptive and plastic responses to a changing climate”
October 7
Susanne Renner, Washington University, “What’s the best way to attach a scientific name to a biological entity, and do we need new Codes?”
October 14
Marshall Wedger, Washington University, “21st century changes to agriculture permanently alter the weedy rice genome in the United States”
Ari Miller, Washington University, ” The Evolution and Ecology of Key Innovations”
October 21
Emily Warschefsky, Missouri Botanical Garden, “The Evolution, Domestication, and Improvement of Diverse Crops”
October 28
Toby Kellogg, Danforth Plant Science Center, “Global and local dispersal of ecologically dominant grasses”
November 4
Elizabeth Carlen, Washington University/Living Earth Collaborative, “From the ground up: urban evolution in squirrels and pigeons”
November 11
Fernando David Nájera Muñoz, Saint Louis Zoo/Living Earth Collaborative, “Veterinarians at the forefront of carnivore conservation: challenges and opportunities”
November 18
Fidisoa Rasambainarivo, Saint Louis Zoo/Mahaliana, “Health and diseases at the human, domestic animal and wildlife interface in Madagascar”
December 2
Catherine Werner, Saint Louis City, “Urban Nature and Intentionality: Elevating Eco-Literacy, Urban Biodiversity & Equity”
December 9
Daniel Warren, Saint Louis University, “Life at its Limits: The Extreme Overwintering Biology of Painted Turtles”

Winter/Spring 2021

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

January 21, 2021
Christy Edwards, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Milkweeds, seeds, and genes: a genetic approach to understanding low fecundity in a threatened milkweed”
January 28, 2021
Nicole Miller-Struttmann, Webster University, “Harnessing the power of the people for conservation science: A Shutterbee Story”
February 4, 2021
Tom Anderson, Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, “Mechanisms of Demographic Variability in Aquatic Ecosystems”
February 11, 2021
Justin Baldwin, Washington University, “Isolation and dispersal shape bird diversity on islands”
James Lucas, Washington University, “Does ecological niche modeling look good on paper? Applying methods in global change biology to an ethnobotanical system.”
February 18, 2021
Matthew Albrecht, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Threatened plant translocation: patterns and determinants of success in the United States”
February 25, 2021
Angela Chira, Washington University in St. Louis, “Quantitative approaches to understanding cultural diversity”
March 4, 2021
Sharon Deem, Saint Louis Zoo, “Turtle Conservation as a Vehicle for One Health”
March 11, 2021
Bob Merz, Saint Louis Zoo, “Undertaking conservation: The Saint Louis Zoo’s Effort to Recover a Carrion Beetle Species”
March 25, 2021
James Stroud, Washington University, Department of Biology, “The ecology and evolution of species diversity”
April 1, 2021
Gideon Erkenswick, Washington University in St. Louis, “Decentralizing & Democratizing Wildlife Biosurveillance”
April 8, 2021
Ash Zemenick, Alex Webster, Sarah Jones, Project Biodiversify, Methods for diverse, inclusive, and effective teaching in biology
April 15, 2021
Alex Linan, Missouri Botanical Garden, “From island trees to mountain forests: Exploring patterns and drivers of diversity within biodiversity hotspots”
April 22, 2021
Bronwen Konecky, Washington University in St. Louis, “Fingerprinting changes in the global water cycle over the past millennium”
April 29, 2021
Yoshi Maezumi, University of Amsterdam, “Ancient Anthropogenic Landscapes in the Amazon”

Fall 2020

We will livestream the presentations on Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
at the Living Earth Collaborative YouTube Channel:

September 17
Jess Carag, The Living Earth Collaborative, “Conservation in Madagascar: A One Health Journey”
September 24
Chris Martine, Bucknell University, “Females that look like hermaphrodites and berries that no one eats: Australia’s prickly bush tomatoes”
October 1
Regina Mossotti, Endangered Wolf Center, “Innovative Conservation for Mexican Wolves – Pups to the Wild”
October 8
Michael Landis, Washington University, “Inferring where the wild things were through phylogenetic models of historical biogeography”
October 15
Matt Austin, The Living Earth Collaborative, “Pollination systems in changing environments: plant-pollinator responses to environmental variability”
October 22
Michel Ohmer, The Living Earth Collaborative, Ecophysiology meets disease ecology: understanding amphibian disease dynamics in a changing world”
October 29
Yusan Yang, The Living Earth Collaborative, “Divergent mating behaviors as a driver of rapid evolution: sexual selection, reproductive isolation, and eco-evo dynamics”
November 5
Kurt Petersen, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, “Heterospory is one of the most important traits of land plants. But, what do we really know about its origin?”
November 12
Ximena Bernal, Purdue University, “Ornaments, Enemies and Sensory Filters in the Evolution of Communication Systems”
November 19
Ivan Jimenez, Missouri Botanical Garden, “The nature of Espeletia species”
December 3
Fangqiong Ling, Washington University, “Water in, microbes out: Water in buildings as a model system to study microbial ecology”
December 10
Rachel Becknell, Washington University, “Do soil organisms matter? Determining the role of soil microbes in rare plant reintroduction & ecosystem restoration.”
December 17
Vince Fasanello, Washington University, “Microbes to mountains, why dispersal barriers are higher in the tropics.”

Summer 2020

Tuesday, June 2 – 4:00 p.m.
Stephen Blake, Saint Louis University, “Linking Forest Elephants, Galapagos Tortoises and American Bison – Travels in Lilliput and Brobdingnag”
Tuesday, July 7 – 4:00 p.m.
Maris Brenn-White, Saint Louis Zoo, “Tales of Conservation Veterinarian: Tracking Pathogens and their Hosts in Madagascar, South Africa and More.”
Tuesday, August 4 – 12:00 p.m.
Pete Lowry, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Tropical Botanists Still Discover New Plants in the 21st Century, AND in more ways than you think! Tales from Madagascar, New Caledonia, and elsewhere.”

Spring 2020

Thursdays, 4:00 p.m.

 Rebstock 322  /  Reception Afterwards, Rebstock 309

January 16, 2020
Nathan Muchhala, University of Missouri, Saint Louis, “The Evolution of the Nectar-Feeding Niche Among Neotropical Bats”

January 23, 2020
Gina Lewin, Georgia Tech,  “Microbe-microbe Interactions and the Oral Microbiome”

January 30, 2020

Lauren Augustine, Saint Louis Zoo, “Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Initiatives at the Saint Louis Zoo”

February 6, 2020

Daniel Sasson, Saint Louis University, “A Dry and Lonely World:  Environmental Effects on Reproductive Behaviors

February 13, 2020

David Reznick, University of California-Riverside, “Mode of Maternal Provisioning Builds a Bridge between Microevolution and Macroevolution”

February 20, 2020

Kelley Erickson, Missouri Botanical Garden, “Growth and Spread: Spatial Dynamics of an Invasive Species”

February 27, 2020

Swanne Gordon, Washington University, “Sex- and Morph-biased Dispersal Affect Population Structure and Polymorphism: A Test Using a ‘Non-model’ Model System

March 5, 2020

Anne Tieber, Saint Louis Zoo, “Helping Our Native Birds: The North American Songbird Program at the Saint Louis Zoo”

March 19, 2020


March 26, 2020

Chris Martine, Bucknell University


April 2, 2020

Ivan Jimenez, Missouri Botanical Garden, “The Nature of Espeletia Species”


April 9, 2020

Jhan Salazar, Washington University, “Exploring the Ecology and Evolution of the Thermal Physiology in the Tropics”


April 16, 2020

Michael Landis, Washington University, “Dispelling the Fog of Deep Time:  Phylogenetic Approaches to Infer Ancestral Biome Affinities”


April 23, 2020

Rachel Becknell, Washington University, “Determining the Role of Soil Microbes in Rare Plant Reintroduction and Ecosystem Restoration)”

Vince Fasanello, Washington University, “Understanding Adaptation in Fluctuating Environments: Tools, Techniques, and Insights Provided by a New Experimental Evolution System in Yeast (Saccharomyces Cerevisiae)”


Click on a semester to view the seminar series schedule: