Meeghan Gray

My research interests have focused on the behavioral ecology of large mammals, particularly the interactions between males and females, especially in the context of sex and reproduction. I have always been fascinated with why individuals mate with certain individuals and how those decisions impact levels of parental investment, offspring survival, and future conflict between the sexes. The majority of my research has stemmed from management based projects that I use to examine major themes in behavioral ecology. Currently, I am studying bobcat health and presence in suburban West Reno.

Chad Cross

Dr. Cross is trained as a multidisciplinary scientist. He received is PhD in Ecological Sciences (focus in Quantitative Ecology and Statistics) from Old Dominion University in Norfolk Virginia. He additionally holds several master’s degrees: Computational & Applied Mathematics/Statistics (Old Dominion University), Medical Entomology & Nematology (University of Florida), and Counseling (University of Nevada, Las Vegas). His undergraduate training was at Purdue University, where he earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in biological sciences and the other in wildlife science. Dr. Cross has several active areas of research. These include: (1) Public Health: Investigations in population health related to chronic and infectious diseases, with special emphasis on quantitative methodology and use of large databases; (2) Epidemiology & Biostatistics: Applications of statistics and epidemiological principles to problems in the health sciences – for example clinical trials, multivariate models, and population sampling strategies; (3) Medical Entomology & Parasitology: Applied research and field work in arthropod-borne and parasitic diseases, including population-based estimation of disease burden and the intersection of medical entomology and forensic science; (4) Quantitative Ecology: Applications of statistics to problems in the environmental and ecological sciences – for example Bayesian models for estimating avian fatality around wind turbines and mark-recapture sampling; and (5) Psychometrics: Applications of statistics to problems in the psychological sciences – for example randomized controlled trials for interventions and pattern recognition for finding clusters of patients with shared pathology.

Donald Price

A major theme in my research is to understand how species adapt to diverse environmental and biological factors and diverge into new species. The evolutionary changes that permit species to survive and reproduce across a wide range of environments has resulted in a remarkable range of biological complexity.

My research group studies the interplay of behavior, ecology, genetics, and physiology to determine how species adapt to environmental changes and how diversification of populations leads eventually to the formation of new species. One focus of my group is the amazing Hawaiian Drosophila, which boasts up to 1,000 species in several taxonomic groups. Using genome sequencing and gene expression analyses coupled with detailed behavioral and physiological measurements we have identified genes that are involved in temperature adaptation between two species and between two populations within one species along an environmental gradient. We have also identified genes and epicuticular hydrocarbons that are involved in behavioral reproductive isolation and hybrid sterility between species. Initial studies have begun on the interaction with microbes, (bacteria and yeasts) that are important for food, internal parasites/symbionts, and possibly host-plant associations. In collaboration with others, we are also investigating the genetics of Hawaiian bats and birds, Drosophila melanogaster, the invasive Drosophila suzukii, and Hawaiian Metrosideros trees.

Angela Smilanich

My research focuses on the ecology and evolution of diet breadth via physiological studies of multitrophic interactions between plants, herbivores, and natural enemies. Specific avenues of study include: (1) evolutionary ecology of insect immunity (2) investigation of plant secondary chemistry as insect immunosuppressant, and (3) behavioral adaptations of herbivores to host plants.

Bryan Sigel

Bryan J. Sigel is a conservation ecologist interested in how human activities affect biodiversity at multiple spatial scales. He is a California native and received his B.S. from UCLA. He completed his doctorate in 2007 at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he studied the effects of forest fragmentation on lowland tropical bird communities in Central America under the direction of Dr. Thomas W. Sherry.

Dr. Sigel joined the faculty at Tulane University in 2007 as a Visiting Assistant Professor where he taught courses in Introductory Biology and Vertebrate Biology. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Dr. Sigel worked with the Biodiversity Research Institute to assess the impact of the spill on colonial waterbirds. He also pursued research as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Caz Taylor at Tulane University, investigating the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on shorebird and intertidal invertebrate communities. Dr. Sigel joined the faculty of Nevada State College in 2012.

Grant Mastick

To build a brain, the embryo must produce a spatially organized array of a vast number of neurons, then interconnect them. Our research group uses genetic and molecular approaches in mouse and chick embryos to investigate the functions of specific genes in brain development. This research has implications for the molecular therapy of neurological disease and injury, and is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Our current research is on the migration of neurons and their axons through the developing brain. We investigate how molecular signals guide axons to migrate precisely long distances on longitudinal pathways, how cranial nerves grow out to connect to muscles, and also how neuron cell bodies settle in specific positions. Our studies focus on a system of signals, the Slit/Robo repellents and the Netrin attractants, to understand the mechanisms by which opposing signals are integrated by neurons.

Gayle Dana

Dr. Dana is the NSF EPSCoR Project Director and the Nevada State EPSCoR Director. Dr. Dana’s expertise is in surface water hydrology and energy balance of desert, seasonally snow-covered, and polar regions. Present research projects include 1) nutrient and sediment source assessment for TMDL development in the Lake Tahoe and Truckee River Watersheds; (2) hydrochemical modeling in a Lake Tahoe watershed (3) effects of fire on nutrient dynamics in forested watersheds, (4) evaporation from lakes and reservoirs in support of the Truckee River Operating Agreement, and (5) spatially distributed energy balance modeling for climate change detection in Antarctica. Dr. Dana is the Science Advisor to the Truckee River TMDL and Watershed Council, and is a collaborator with the McMurdo Dry Valleys Long Term Ecological Research project.

Sudeep Chandra

Dr. Sudeep Chandra is an Associate Professor, Biology at the University of Nevada, Reno.  His laboratory conducts limnological studies related to the restoration or conservation of aquatic ecosystems. His projects include recovering native species, managing nonnative species, understanding the affects of land use change (mining, urbanization, etc) on water quality, and developing natural resource management & conservation plans for the world’s largest, freshwater fishes. We recognize that science is critical in developing longer-term, sustainable public policy.

David Charlet

Dr. Charlet’s  research concerns the natural history of arid regions. His studies focus on the Great Basin and Mojave Desert, a region that includes most of Nevada and some of each of the surrounding states. Most of his research involves how plants are distributed across landscapes and regions.

John “Jay” Arnone

My research focuses primarily on understanding the effects of global environmental change (a.k.a. “climate change”) on the functioning and structure of terrestrial ecosystems, and deciphering the underlying ecological mechanisms driving the responses. This includes the study of how rising atmospheric CO2, changes in ambient temperature, interannual climate variability (e.g. anomalously warm years or heat waves), reductions in biological diversity, and large periodic disturbances (e.g. wildfire) affect plant physiological processes, plant growth and survival, plant populations and plant communities, as well as ecosystem processes and feedbacks. Although my interests in ecology are broad, I am particularly keen on understanding how belowground processes are impacted by changing ambient environmental conditions (e.g. fine root dynamics, activity of soil fauna, soil hydrology and root biology). I attempt to bridge traditional ecological disciplines and seek out collaboration with scientists from other disciplines to address these wider-ranging ecological questions.

My research group and I also apply our expertise to directly address real-world environmental questions and challenges for clients such as the U.S. Department of the Interior, Southern Nevada Water Authority, Sempra Energy, American Vanadium, Washoe County Air Quality Management, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the Gas Technology Institute.