Background: The southern Appalachian Mountains harbor a wide variety of habitats and a remarkable diversity of terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Moderate temperatures, high precipitation (>1800 mm / year), and continuously flowing streams provide ample resources across the complex landscape. Forests are dominated by deciduous oak species and an evergreen understory of Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel.
Overall The field of systematics endeavors to discover and describe the diversity of life and to place this diversity in an evolutionary framework and hierarchical classification. Ultimately, these activities provide a logical and stable system of taxonomic information, one that is useful and critical to all fields of biological science. Projects in my laboratory include many aspects of organismal biology but focus on three major areas:
Despite the prevalence of corn- and soybean fields around Ames, central Iowa has a number of excellent locations for collecting aquatic insects. These include several rivers, lakes and marshes within easy driving distance of Iowa State University. The following are but a few possibilities: