Microbiome Biology & Species Interactions
We ask where species interactions fall on the spectrum from competition to mutualism and the evolutionary and ecological contexts that shape these outcomes. Increasingly we focus on the role that microbes play as members of these interaction networks.

Michelle E. Afkhami

Associate Professor


(305) 284-1796
My lab studies the ecology, evolution, and genomics of species interactions at scales ranging from genes to communities using a combination of long term field and greenhouse experiments, mathematical modeling, and laboratory-based molecular methods. While our research spans all types of interactions, we are especially interested in positive...

Kevin M Collins

Assoc. Professor


(305) 284-9058
Our fundamental goal is to understand how neurons communicate in circuits to establish an appropriate level of activity that produces a robust, stable behavior. Our approach is to analyze in detail a model neural circuit that controls egg-laying behavior in the nematode C. elegans. We are taking advantage of the optical clarity and powerful...

Julia Dallman

Assoc. Professor


(305) 284-3954
Determining the mechanisms by which genes influence behavior is the central goal of my research program. The genome-sequencing revolution has identified thousands of genetic mutations that cause neurological disorders that impact human behavior. For any given disorder, mutations in hundreds of different genes can similarly affect behavior, and...

Kenneth Feeley

Assoc. Professor


(305) 284-5748
I study the ecology and biogeography of tropical forests. Specifically, my research is focused on how the structure, dynamics, composition, and geographic distribution of tropical forests (and their constituent tree species) are affected by large-scale anthropogenic disturbances such as climate change, deforestation, and habitat fragmentation....

Lena Maria Mueller

Asst. Professor


(305) 284-0270
Research in my lab aims to elucidate the molecular basis of an intimate partnership of plant roots and symbiotic soil fungi, referred to as arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) symbiosis. AM symbiosis is a mutually beneficial cross-kingdom species interaction centered on nutrient exchange: while the fungus provides the plant with mineral nutrients such as...

Sandra Rieger

Assoc. Professor


(305) 284-9935
How sensory nerve endings in the skin interact with skin cells, such as epidermal keratinocytes, is a fundamentally understudied research area. This knowledge ishowever highly important as these interactions promote wound repair and limb regeneration, and their perturbations are known to lead to disease conditions like peripheral neuropathy. The...

Christopher A Searcy

Associate Professor


(305) 284-5412
My lab is engaged in conservation ecology, the use of ecological principles to answer questions related to basic ecological theory, while also informing conservation practices and management of threatened or endangered species. We are particularly interested in utilizing the most up-to-date mathematical models and statistical methods to inform...

Cynthia Silveira

Asst. Professor


(305) 284-6220
My lab studies a long-known but poorly appreciated member of all microbiomes: bacteriophages. Phages, for short, are viruses that infect bacteria and are the most abundant and diverse biological entities on the planet. Yet, we have only scratched the surface of their biological significance: 50 to 90 % of phages genomes sequenced to date have no...

J. David Van Dyken

Asst. Professor


(305) 284-9054
My lab is interested in understanding how genetics, cell physiology, ecology and evolution interact across spatial scales ranging from molecules to ecosystems to shape patterns of biocomplexity, biodiversity, and organismal design. We take an integrative, systems-based approach combining high-throughput experiments in the model eukaryote,...

Alexandra C C Wilson



(305) 284-2003
My research focuses on characterizing the mechanisms that metabolically and developmentally integrate hosts and symbionts. Symbioses are interactions between species; some symbioses involve one species living inside the cells of the other species - this is endosymbiosis. A compelling challenge in biology concerns identifying and characterizing...