College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology


Welcome to the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) at Iowa State University.

EEOB has many active research programs and opportunities for student interest in conservation biology, ecological and evolutionary genomics, population, community, and ecosystem ecology, quantitative genetics, and other traditional organismal disciplines such as taxonomy. 

Faculty in EEOB are linked through students and research programs to many other departments within the life sciences, as well as to supporting disciplines in the physical and computational sciences.  The diverse knowledge of the EEOB faculty provides unique opportunities for undergraduate students majoring in Biology, Genetics, and Environmental Science, to whom we offer a rich and cutting-edge curriculum.

If you have any questions about programs or opportunities in EEOB, please contact us at 515-294-0133.  We look forward to serving you.


Exotic species alter grassland beta diversity in unexpected ways


wilsey field site


Leanne Martin, a recent graduate of EEB, and Brian Wilsey recently tested how exotic grassland species altered beta diversity (diversity caused by species turnover from place to place) in 42 grassland sites along a latitudinal gradient from Minnesota to central Texas. The paper was published in the journal Ecology.

It has long been hypothesized that exotic species lower beta diversity and homogenize the flora, and Martin and Wilsey found that this indeed was the case within sites.  However, beta diversity was higher across exotic-dominated grasslands than across native-dominated grasslands along the entire latitudinal gradient. This was due to high local dominance, and changing identity of dominant species across exotic sites, suggesting that interpretation of homogenization effects should consider spatial scale.

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Graduate Student Spotlight

Research of Ph.D. candidate, Antonio Cordero, highligted in recent Biology Letters



Over the last 210 million years, turtles successfully colonized and adapted to freshwater, marine, and terrestrial environments worldwide. This ecological diversification is reflected in the remarkable shell variation of living turtles, suggesting that processes governing the formation of the turtle body plan have evolved. In the most species-comprehensive examination of turtle development, PhD student G. Antonio Cordero showed that the evolution of complex shell forms is underpinned by correlated changes in development of the shoulder blade and shell.  Findings of this study, reported in Biology Letters, suggest that the seemingly static body plan of turtles has great potential to diversify, though by means that we have only begun to discover. 

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Recent Graduate Student Spotlights









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News & Updates

EEOB graduate receive NSF Career Development grant

Dr. Chris Chandler, graduate of EEOB, recently received the NSF Faculty Early Career grant for his work with isopods commonly known as pillbugs or potato bugs.

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Haley honored with American Association of University Women Career Development Grant

Hilary Haley spends part of every week as a graduate student at ISU and also as an employee of The Nature Conservancy working at the Dunn Ranch in Missouri.  Her M.S. research focuses on how bee communities respond to grassland restoration.

Attigala awarded for research and teaching efforts

Ph.D. candidate, Lakshmi Attigala was awareded the GPSS Research and Teaching awards April 2, 2015.

Cornette, Ackerman publish ebook with Mathematical Association of America

Calculus for the Life Sciencs: A Modeling Approach is a calculus and differiential equations text for first and second year university students.

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Veldman published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Joseph Veldman and colleagues explore old-growth concept for grasslands, savanna,s and woodlands.

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Janzen featured as ISU faculty leader

Fred Janzen, professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, spends his summers like many of his colleagues doing research. Dr. Janzen, whose research focuses on reptile biology, spends his summer taking a wide range of students to the middle of the Mississippi River for Turtle Camp.

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Tyranny of trees in grassy biomes

Joseph Veldman and colleagues explore the effects of restoration strategies in grassy biomes in Science.

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EEOB alum presented with diversity award

Jeramie Strickland, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Wildlife Society Diversity Award, recognizing hisefforts towards furthering diversity in employment, academic enrollment, or membership.

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Hufford et al. published in Nature Plants

Faculty member, Matthew Hufford and collegues research on the origin and evolution of maize in the Southwestern Unites States was recently published in Nature Plants.

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Seminar Series:

Fall 2015 Schedule to be announced in August.