PrincipAL Investigator: Nick Keiser
622 Carr Hall
Department of Biology
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
Email: ckeiser [at] ufl [dot] edu
Nick is a behavioral ecologist that studies infectious disease. He is a self-admitted study system collector with an inordinate fondness for invertebrates. He is also a mega-nerd, juggler-in-training, and loves heavy metal.
email: stevencassidy [at] ufl.edu
Steven is a PhD student interested in how behavior can influence species interactions. He completed his B.S. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Pittsburgh studying plant ecology. As an undergrad, Steven studied mutualism disruption in understory plants, and then worked as a lab technician studying how herbivory impacts the evolution of the plant root microbiome. He has also worked with the African social spider Stegodyphus dumicola. He plans to study how the nature of species interactions can covary with behavior and diseases.
email: samanthashablin [at] ufl.edu
Sam is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow who received her B.S. in Ecology & Evolution and B.A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh. As an undergrad, Sam worked with the fungal pathogen Bd, and its interactions with glucocorticoids and frog behavior. During her PhD, she plans to study how an individual’s social behavior impacts their susceptibility to disease and how behavior may underlie both interspecific and intraspecific transmission, especially among more susceptible native species and more resistant invasive species. Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys scuba diving and taking her lizard for walks.
email: eric.trotman [at] ufl.edu
Eric is a recent graduate from the University of Florida, where he earned his B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. During undergrad, through the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, he studied how habitat composition affects the provisioning rate of the Southeastern American kestrel. Eric also partnered with the San Diego Zoo Recovery Ecology team on their reintroduction study of the mountain yellow-legged frog, focusing on how early life history events may affect survival in the wild. During his Ph.D., Eric plans to study amphibian behavior and disease spread, with a focus on conservation practices for threatened species populations.
email: tklee [at] ufl.edu
Travis is a PhD Candidate who received his B.S. in Zoology from Colorado State University. During his undergrad, Travis worked with Trinidadian Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) and their pike cichlid predators (Crenicichla frenata) where he became interested in predator-prey interactions and how predators and prey respond to each other through phenotypic plasticity. During his PhD he has expanded on this interest using empirical studies in various study systems and theoretical models to better understand how both predator and prey plasticity influence their interactions over time. Travis is an outdoor enthusiast who loves mountain biking, snowboarding, scuba diving, and just spending time outside with his wife and two sons. Travis is co-advised by Dr. Colette St. Mary.
Sofia conducts research on the behavioral and physiological underpinings of disease risk and microbial transmission in amphibians. She is currently assisting graduate student Sam Shablin on projects with green frog tadpoles, Cuban tree frogs, and coquí frogs.
Ayana is conducting research on genetic variation in sex-differences in behavior in Drosophila fruit flies. There is extensive genetic variation in the direction and magnitude of sex-differences in immunity, and Ayana's research tests whether flies compensate for increased disease risk with greater infection avoidance behavior.
Emily Durkin, PhD
Evolutionary Ecology of Symbioses
Assistant Professor of Parasitology
University of Tampa
Allison Roth, PhD
Consequences of Animal Sociality
MSc Student 2019-2021
Thesis Title: A multi-scale assessment of the effects on pathogen infection on tick host-seeking behavior
Currently a PhD student at NC State
Tim Colston, PhD
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Tim is a herpetologist by training, but his research integrates biogeography, evolutionary ecology, and host-microbiome interactions. We are currently collaborating on a project focusing on venom evolution and venom-associated microbiomes in social spiders.
Initiative for Venom Associated Microbes and Parasites (iVAMP)
iVAMP is a collaborative, open-source group of researchers worldwide of all career stages and types with the shared interest to expand the reach of each other’s work as well as the direction of the field of venom microbiomics.
PDF of our first paper describing the field of venom microbiomics and introducing iVAMP.
Former visiting students
University of Virginia
Class of 2022
University of Houston
Class of 2020