The warmest of welcomes to the newest additions to the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: Aimée Classen, D. André Green, Carly Nowicki and Nate Sanders

Green became an assistant professor Jan. 1, 2020 following his 2018 appointment as a University of Michigan Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in EEB.

Green is broadly interested in how functional complexity emerges across different scales of biological organization, from molecules and cells to organisms and populations. His thesis and present work is focused on understanding the development of phenotypically plastic traits at the molecular scale in order to illuminate general mechanisms that promote or constrain the generation of biodiversity. He is currently working to establish the monarch butterfly as a model to study the molecular genetic ‘design’ of migration and understand how this design influences evolution of the migration strategy.

Nowicki joined the department January 1, 2020 as a lecturer. She studies aquatic ecology, animal diversity and environmental health. She is teaching BIO 173 Introduction to Biology Lab. “Ensuring environmental literacy in the next generation of students cannot be overstated, as environmental issues rooted in basic biological science will continue to impact ecological systems and human health,” her webpage states. “Therefore, it is of great importance to instill the necessary skills in students to clearly comprehend and communicate environmental issues, because many will become influential public voices in the near future. From my teaching and research experiences, I recognize that undergraduate research and applied learning is an integral component to advanced education and scholarship.”

Classen joined EEB July 1, 2020 as a professor. On Sept. 1, 2020, she assumed the directorship of the U-M Biological Station as Professor Knute Nadelhoffer stepped down from that role.

Classen focuses on how global changes impact terrestrial ecosystems at local and global scales. Recently, her lab has focused on three general areas: (1) Understanding and modeling connections among soil organisms, herbivores, plants and ecosystem function (2) Understanding how shifting above- and below-ground biodiversity and global change alters the composition and function of ecosystems and (3) Exploring how scale and location influence ecological patterns and processes. They work across scales from the micro (soil food webs) to the macro (regional carbon fluxes) as well as across diverse terrestrial ecosystems (forests, meadows, bogs, tropics, boreal, temperate). They use a combination of observations, experiments and models to answer ecological questions.

Sanders joined EEB July 1, 2020 as a professor and director of the Edwin S. George Reserve, as Professor Robyn Burnham retired from that position.

Sanders research is at the interface of community ecology, ecosystem ecology and macroecology, with a focus on how global change drivers and interspecific interactions influence the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss. His research program takes advantage of environmental gradients and experimental manipulations arranged at multiple sites with the aim of forecasting the effects of environmental change on biodiversity. His lab does experiments on ants, plant-insect interactions, montane plant communities, and a whole variety of other taxa.

Compiled by Gail Kuhnlein