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Ecology and Organismal Biology


Climate change.  Pollution.  Biodiversity Loss.  Invasive species.  Habitat fragmentation.  Disease emergence. These are a few of the topics being addressed by faculty in the Ecology and Organismal Biology group at Virginia Tech.  This group includes faculty from seven departments and four colleges (Science, Natural Resources and Environment, Engineering, and Agriculture and Life Sciences).  In addition to applied research, numerous members of this group are also engaged in research addressing more fundamental questions in ecology and organismal biology.  These include questions relating to animal behavior, stress physiology, biomechanics, carbon and nitrogen cycling in ecosystems, and community structure and function.  Researchers work in wide array of systems, from Virginia to the Andes to Antarctica, and with a diverse array of organisms, including everything from microbes to plants to birds to “flying” snakes.    

In the first year of funding, support from the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech is primarily promoting collaborative research for graduate students within this group.  Recently funded graduate student projects include: a survey of parasites in Virginia streams in relation to water quality, an examination of the role of bacteria and archaea in nitrification in soils of varying pH, and an investigation of the impacts of an invasive, introduced tree on native plants.   

In the future, funding will also support summer research experiences for undergraduates, graduate student recruiting, and statistics and mathematical modeling workshops on campus.   

Fralin Ecology & Organismal Biology Researchers:

Jacob Barney
Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science
(540) 231-6323

Jeb Barrett
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-3827

Lisa Belden
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-2505

E.F. Benfield
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-5802

Bryan L. Brown
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-2065

Dan Dudek
Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM)
(540) 231-0687

Dana Hawley
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-8946

William A. Hopkins
Fish and Wildlife Conservation
(540) 231-7292

Ignacio Moore
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-2112

Erik T. Nilsen
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-5674

John B. Phillips
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-1481

Lynn Resler
(540) 231-5790

Eric Smith
(540) 231-5657

Jake Socha
Engineering Science and Mechanics
(540) 231-6188

Jack Webster
Biological Sciences
(540) 231-8941

Mark A. Williams
(662) 312-4780