My interest in the biological sciences began as a child and was nurtured
by my father and by a dedicated high school biology teacher. When I started
college in 1992, I intended to go into anthropology. My curiosity in
the use of molecular data (DNA sequences) to study human origins prompted
me to volunteer in a number of different laboratories that specialized
in phylogenetics (the study of relatedness using DNA sequences) as an
undergraduate. My research focus gradually shifted from primate evolution
to invertebrate evolution, and ultimately to the experimental evolution
of microbial populations.
In 1998, I graduated from The University of Texas at Austin
with a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and subsequently
began a PhD program in Zoology at the University of Idaho
. In 2000, I transferred to The University of Florida and
then followed my current lab group to the University of Montana
in 2001. At the University of Montana , I had the opportunity
to interact with the faculty and students of the microbial
ecology program, and they have ignited my interest in the
intersection of microbial evolution and ecology.
Currently I am working on the manufacture and use of microarrays
to study evolutionary changes that occur in experimental
populations of E. coli . My dissertation work will
focus on the nature in which populations diverge upon their
establishment in various novel environments.
Frank Rosenzweig, Division of Biological Sciences
I came to Missoula four years ago as a PhD student in the College of
Forestry and Conservation to study under Dr. Steven Running
as a part of the Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG). NTSG
is a remote sensing and ecological modeling lab that focuses on pioneering
new approaches for addressing regional ecological problems using emerging
satellite technologies, geographic information systems (GIS), computer
simulation and visualization, and biophysical theory. My own research
is on developing ways to predict vector-borne diseases using remotely
sensed data and climate modeling. My current focus is on developing a
forecast model for hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), based on modeled
distributions of the disease reservoir and vector, the deer mouse.
I grew up in New Mexico , and have a B.A. in Archaeology and an M.A.
in Biogeography from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque . I
spent a number of years working as an archaeologist across the southwestern
US, and became interested in using GIS and modeling to predict archaeological
site distributions. While working toward my M.A. degree I began to use
GIS and remote sensing technologies to address ecological problems, specifically
temporal variability and spatial patterning in biotic and abiotic resources
at regional scales. For my Master's thesis I developed a large-scale
predictive model for HPS based on distribution of human cases in the
Four Corners region of the southwest. Here at the University of Montana
I am working to improve this model, using a more sophisticated remote
sensing data set and incorporating vector (deer mouse) population dynamics.
My research is interesting to me because it is very interdisciplinary,
and integrates a number of fascinating areas of research: wildlife biology,
landscape ecology, epidemiology, climatology, remote sensing and GIS,
public policy, public health, and education.
My interests outside of academia include backpacking, skiing, hiking,
kayaking, canoeing, bicycling, and exploring. I love the outdoors, and
believe strongly in the importance of conservation of natural resources
and wild places. I hope to use my training and skills to work toward
better stewardship and increased awareness of our natural heritage.
Steven Running, College of Forestry and Conservation
As a kid in Iowa , I grew up fascinated with nature. Both of my parents
are very nature-oriented, and all of our family vacations involved outdoorsy
trips like canoeing, hiking, and camping. Although I had always spent
my free time exploring the environment, when it came time for me to decide
what to study in college, it never occurred to me that I could actually
make this hobby my career. Instead, I ended up trying to make the most
of my science skills by studying engineering at Iowa State University
After I got my BS degree, I worked for 5 years as an electrical engineer
for a large corporation. During this time, I realized that while I thrived
in a scientific field, I wanted to apply my skills in a way that was
more beneficial for the environment. I decided to go back to school in
Wildlife Biology and do my master's research overseas in a country that
really needed help in developing their conservation management strategies.
As part of my master's program at the University of Montana , I did
my research as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines . This is a
biodiverse country that has undergone a high degree of environmental
degradation but has very little focus on conservation. During my four
years in the Philippines , I was one of the only biologists for hundreds
of kilometers. I realized early on, that if I were to going to have any
impact on the conservation of wildlife where I was living, I would need
to choose an important topic and include educating Filipinos about the
environment as part of my work. I chose to study two endangered species
of flying-foxes for my work, because these were hunted animals that played
important ecological roles in the rainforest. I included Filipino students
as field assistants and spent a lot of time promoting hunter education.
As a result, there is now a network of flying-fox managers in the Philippines
monitoring their endangered flying-foxes. I am continuing to support
their efforts by focusing my PhD. on the conservation management of the
Scott Mills, College of Forestry and Conservation
My interest in ecology stems from the simple allure of understanding
the natural world. As a child, I spent countless carefree hours catching
frogs, crawdads, snakes, blue jays, squirrels, spiders and scorpions.
My aim as an adult has been to fashion that recreation into a career.
I graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in anthropology.
I then joined the US Forest Service, spending three years as an archaeologist
and two as a wildlife biologist. Deciding that I preferred biology to
archaeology and realizing that I wanted to teach, I enrolled at the University
of Nevada, Reno, and began studying for a teaching certificate in biology.
Near accreditation, I became inspired by my ornithology instructor to
pursue a PhD in zoology. I wanted to teach, to be sure, but she made
me realize that I still had lots of unanswered questions.
I have moved around quite a bit with my current lab group, from the
University of Idaho to the University of Florida to here. In that time,
I have focused on topics such as the evolution of aging and the evolution
of alternative reproductive strategies. I have also served as a teaching
assistant in biology, zoology, invertebrate zoology, clinical microbiology
and microbial physiology. Here at the University of Montana I study microbial
ecology, and my thesis work investigates the cycling of arsenic by bacteria
in contaminated lakes and reservoirs. My current funding has me looking
at the microbiology of a mining-impacted lake in Ontario, Canada, with
the goal being that I provide some sound advice as to how to ameliorate
a pretty serious problem of arsenic in the water.
My intention to return to the classroom remains, so I am especially
pleased with the launch of the ECOS Program here at UM. It is going to
put me back into a position of really teaching, and that's one of the
few things I'm genuinely good at.
Frank Rosenzweig, Division of Biological Sciences
I grew up in Missoula , near the University, where my dad was a professor.
My parents spent a lot of their free time outdoors and were
generous in sharing their love of wild places with their kids. We spent
our summers hiking, swimming, canoeing and exploring Montana, where an
interest in wild plants and animals took root. I spent hours behind the
University, where Dr. John Craighead kept eagles and hawks - and where
I was first captivated with birds of prey and wildlife biology.
Although I wanted to become a wildlife biologist, I went to Middlebury
College in Vermont , where I majored in Art and Biology.
I spent half of a year at the University of Virginia in a Landscape Architecture
program, where I decided it was the wrong career, and to confirm that,
I moved to New York City to work for a high-class architectural firm.
I rescued myself by applying for a job with the Peregrine Fund and went
to Boise State University to receive my Master's degree in Raptor Ecology.
During my master's research I was lucky to work in the rainforests of
Guatemala , studying two species of falcons - the laughing falcon which
specializes in snakes, and the bat falcon, that eats bats, butterflies
and small birds.
My appreciation for wild places and the animals they protect continued
to grow and I returned to the Rocky Mountains to work on
the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone Park and Central
Idaho. From there, my interest in social mammals took over
and I joined a project in northern Botswana in Southern Africa , studying
one of the most social of all carnivores, African wild dogs. I study
their movements, scent marking behavior, scent mark chemistry and ranging
habits. I am focusing on manipulating the placement of territorial scent
marks to help conserve this endangered species to limit their encounters
with livestock, domestic dog diseases and automobiles. This work is the
basis of my Ph.D. in the department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences
at the University. I'm back home, but still able to travel
abroad to wild places across the world.
Erick Greene, Division of Biological Sciences
I was raised in the Salt Marshes of coastal Georgia and from an early
age had a strong interest in the natural world, in particular plants
and fungi. Southeastern salt marshes are among the most productive systems
on earth. At age 13 I would peddle my bike to across the island at midnight
to look for sea turtles or the rare Green fly orchid. It was this environment
gave me an appreciation for the natural world.
I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in
Botany. UGA was home to the late Eugene Odum, a pioneer of ecological
research, who gave several lectures to my introductory Ecology class.
He always stressed the importance of teaching more comprehensive ecology
to students at the pre-college levels. I worked in the fungal ecology
lab of Dr. David Porter on the decomposer communities of the salt marsh.
David Porter was a great mentor who encouraged me to follow my interests
no matter how obscure. During my time in there I spent most weekends
in the southern Appalachian Mountains , an environment with some of the
greatest deciduous tree diversity and the greatest amphibian diversity.
Upon graduation from Georgia I took a position at the University of
Maine with Dr. Joyce Longcore studying a fungal pathogen of amphibians
responsible of several extinctions. I studied the environmental conditions
of the fungus to help amphibian biologists predict and model outbreaks
and I studied the enzyme production of the fungus to learn how it kills
its host. Maine is a pristine state that is 20% wetlands, which I explored
with all my free time.
After receiving my Master's in Botany/ Plant Pathology from Maine I
worked at the University of Georgia 's Herbarium where I gained a greater
appreciation for plant diversity. Before taking my current position at
the University of Montana I traveled through Europe working on organic
farms with my fiancé and learning the importance of sustainable
agriculture. I am currently working in the lab of Dr. Matthias Rillig
where I am studying the ecology of arbuscular mycorrhizal communities
for my PhD.
Matthias Rillig, Division of Biological Sciences
I have been interested in ecology for as long as I can remember. I started
hiking on the Appalachian Trail with my family at the age
of three, and my Grandparents and my Mother started me out as a naturalist
by teaching me about the plants and birds we'd see along the trail. When
I was 6, a naturalist visited our school several times, and I decided
right then and there that I would love to
teach ecology. As an undergraduate, I studied ecology and natural history,
including scientific illustration, at the University of California ,
Santa Cruz. I was awarded a M.S. in Organismal Biology and Ecology (OBE)
from The University of Montana in 1995, and am currently pursuing my
PhD in OBE here at The University of Montana. I am a plant community
ecologist, and my research in Dr. Ragan Callaway's lab involves the invasive
weed, knapweed. I am interested in studying mechanisms of knapweed invasion
into our local native prairies, and why the human introduction
of some plant species results in astounding increases in their abundances
and competitive effects. I have a diversity of teaching experience, including
my recent work with Missoula 's K-12 schools through the
Montana Natural History Center as their first "Visiting Naturalist".
This position involved designing curriculum, coordinating visits with
teachers and volunteers, and teaching experiential science and ecological
education both in the classroom, and in the outdoor "classroom". I have
also taught ecology, natural history, and outdoor adventure curriculum
to at-risk and adjudicated youth in an outdoor setting; college biology
and ecology as both a teaching assistant at The University of Montana
and as an adjunct professor at Montgomery Community College in Maryland
; and I have designed, taught, and directed numerous outdoor adventure
and science summer camps. I love teaching, ecological research, and "getting
out there", and am always
looking forward to more of just that!
Ragan Callaway, Division of Biological Sciences
From an early age I knew that I wanted to study science. As a child
I would often take long hikes through the swamps that bordered my granddads
farm. Many times during those adventures I would find some creature that
intrigued, and I would bring it home study it for awhile then release
it. I was first exposed to the science of ecology during my 8 th grade
year. It was at this time that several middle schools competed in the
ECO challenge: which was a competition designed by the Florida Natural
Parks System to test students' knowledge of natural history and ecology.
I was accepted to the ECO team that represented my school. Following
the competition my science teacher told me I had a real knack for science
and that I should actively pursue this subject in high school as well
I received my undergraduate degree in plant science from the University
of California Santa Cruz. I first became interested in plants while
taking and introductory class in Botany/Plant Pathology. After
spending many hours discussing plants with the course professor
he offered me a job. I found Plant Pathology incredibly interesting
so much so that when I graduated from UCSC I began to apply to
plant pathology graduate programs. Eventually I was accepted into
a graduate program
After graduating from UCSC and before entering graduate school
I moved to Missoula in search of adventure. Eventually I accepted
a position with Bitterroot Restoration Inc, as a consultant. I
felt that the work I was doing had real importance so I delayed
my entrance into graduate school. As a land restoration consultant
I saw how pollution is severely influencing ecosystems. At a conference
on land restoration I first learned about phytoremediation (use
of plants to remove pollutants from contaminated areas). I became
so intrigued with the idea of using plants to cleanup the environment,
that I quit my job and applied to graduate school. Currently I
am studying in the lab of Dr. Rillig, the focus of my study is
determining how Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi influence the phytoremediation
Matthias Rillig, Division of Biological Sciences
I study the ecology and genetics of fish, in particular mountain whitefish
(Prosopium williamsoni) and bull trout
(Salvelinus confluentus), fish species that occur
here in western Montana. I became interested in studying
fish ecology when I was young, when I would go fishing in
Maine with my parents and grandparents. I especially remember
being fascinated by dissecting their stomachs to figure out
what the fish were eating. When I was in high school I found
that I really loved biology, thanks to one of my first biology
teachers, Mrs. Brough. As an undergraduate at Northwestern University
(near Chicago ), I worked in a molecular biology laboratory
where part of my job was taking care of zebrafish. I realized
then that I could combine my interests in fish with my desire
to study biology.
After I graduated from college, I worked for the US Fish and
Wildlife Service in southwestern Alaska. I lived in a remote
field camp where we studied native rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus
mykiss), Dolly Varden char (Salvelinus malma ,
close relatives of bull trout), and Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.).
The fish in these remote rivers fascinated me and I wanted
to learn all about them. I realized that in the future I wanted
to combine the study of fish ecology with the genetic principles
I learned as an undergraduate. In addition, I realized I
wanted to study natural populations of fish with the end goal
of conserving these populations into the future, both as a graduate
student and throughout my career.
As a graduate student at the University of Montana , I am working
on a project where I determine patterns of genetic relatedness
among populations of both mountain whitefish and bull trout.
I am also trying to determine if the huge pinocchio snout that
some mountain whitefish have is related to the food they eat,
if it helps them attract mates, or both. For the first part
of this, I analyze how many and what types of insects mountain
whitefish with different snout sizes eat. So, in a way, I have
come full circle back to my childhood, when I was dissecting
stomachs of fish.
Fred Allendorf, Division of Biological Sciences
I lived in rural Missouri (Ozarks) during elementary school and spent
a great deal of time exploring the woods by myself. I think this time
had a great influence on my eventual path in biology. I enrolled in an
honors Ecology course as a freshman at the University of Florida that
solidified my interest in ecology. The course included weekly field assignments
and a 6-week field assignment that opened up an entire world of questions
to me. I received my Associate of Arts degree from the University of
Florida and decided to transfer to Oregon State University to complete
my Wildlife Science degree. During my tenure at OSU, I gained exciting
field experiences in remote locations in Alaska and was fortunate to
spend time working with spotted owls after graduating. I decided University
of Montana would be a great place to attend graduate school and moved
to Missoula and began developing relationships with professors working
on topics I was interested in. While I was waiting for the right graduate
project to come up, I began working for the Forest Service in Missoula
on the Forest Plan Revision team, focusing on fisheries and hydrology
issues. This position developed into incredibly diverse tasks allowing
me to participate in many aspects of forest planning and management,
including direct involvement in writing biological assessments for proposed
projects. Over time, my experiences have helped me decide how my skills
can contribute to conservation most effectively. My Master's research
at The University of Montana focused on wildlife responses to thinning
and prescribed burning, a more and more common forest treatment. I recently
began a PhD. that will focus on fire-associated species, and how their
populations may require different management techniques. I plan to continue
to conduct conservation related research that can be successfully applied
to management issues.
Fred Allendorf, Division of Biological Sciences and Dr.
Diana Six, College of Forestry and Conservation