Michael Baltzley: I am interested in how nervous systems evolve to create novel behavioral patterns. I study locomotion in gastropods (slugs and snails) and sensory neurons in leeches. My research involves quantifying behavioral patterns in different species, identifying neurons that underlie those behaviors, and comparing the features of those neurons across species.

Erin Baumgartner: My research focuses on teaching and learning in science. I am most interested in understanding how we build and improve scientific literacy in non-scientists. I also am mentoring students who are interested in engaging in animal behavior research.

Sarah Boomer: I use DNA techniques to describe microbial populations. I encourage students to develop their own projects to study microbes from local environments. Recent projects have examined bacterial populations in soils, rivers, and tooth-plaque! Given safety and technical issues, students need to have done well in General Microbiology (BI 331) before proposing project ideas. Students (1-2 per year) develop project ideas in fall, execute in winter, and present in spring.

Bryan Dutton: I study evolutionary relationships among flowering plants (especially members of the Buttercup Family), local floras, plant distribution and demographics in urban areas, and invasive plant species. I currently have students working on research projects dealing with the distribution of trees in municipalities near Western Oregon University.

Karen Haberman: I have studied invertebrates in a range of habitats from coral reefs to polar seas, including my dissertation research on Antarctic krill. Currently, I
use macroinvertebrate communities to assess the effects of both human disturbance and restoration efforts in rivers and estuaries. I am also involved in creating and promoting links between science and the creative arts.  Link to Dr. Haberman’s Research page.

Ava Howard: I study plant ecology and physiology focusing on water dynamics. Recent studies include the anatomy and physiology of invasive plants and Oregon oak-savannah ecology. Students in my lab read primary literature, learn experimental design, collect data and typically present findings at a local or national meeting.

Kristin Latham: I use the amazing fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to study genetics, development, and behavior. Currently I have two projects, both of which involve undergraduate students: 1) analysis of how the fly immune system copes with exposure to pathogens and 2) examination of directional preference in flies.  Link to Dr. Latham’s Research page.

Michael LeMaster: My research focuses on chemical communication among vertebrates. More specifically, I am interested in chemical cues facilitating the reproductive
process. The study of these sex pheromones involves both field- and laboratory-based experimentation using the garter snake as a model system.

Jeffrey Snyder: I am interested in how ecologically- & anthropogenically-induced factors affect species, populations, and individuals. Using primarily birds as a model, I attempt to combine ecological, biological, and behavioral information into cogent, conceptual population models to understand patterns/processes, so as to ensure their survival.






Biology Department

503-838-8452 | or e-mail: duttonb@wou.edu