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Kevin Baldwin

Research Interests
I am an ecophysiologist who is primarily interested in how parasites affect the physiology, behavior, and whole organism performance of their hosts, particularly reptiles, amphibians, fish, & insects. Secondarily, I have an interest in the ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals in aquatic systems such as Prozac and its metabolites. Students have conducted projects on host behavior modifications by Toxoplasma gondii on the white-footed mice and flukes (Ornithodiplostomulum) on fathead minnows. Students have also investigated the running performance of anolis lizards (Anolis carolinensis) and flight performance of dragonflies (Odonata) in response to varying parasite loads. Student projects are as varied as the diversity of parasites and their hosts and not limited to any particular taxonomic group.

Selected Publications

K.S. Baldwin and R. Sanford 1987. Ambystoma tigrinum californiense (California tiger salamander) Predation. Herpetological Review 18(2):33.

K.S. Baldwin. 1989. Laboratory Manual for Vertebrate Zoology at UC Santa Barbara


Ken Cramer

Research Interests
In general, I am broadly interested in animal ecology, diversity, and behavior and students have worked with a wide variety of organisms from mice to snakes. However, in my laboratory students generally focus on some aspect of spider behavior or ecology, often working with the brown recluse spider. I am interested in the distribution and natural history of this spider in Illinois and Iowa and have set up a web page to collect data from the general public, the Brown Recluse Project.
Students have worked on foraging behavior of recluses including studies on their preference for live or dead prey and the possible use of olfaction. Also, we have investigated the cold temperature tolerance in brown recluses. Many other projects on the behavior and ecology of this species are waiting to be done! Other students have worked with various orb-weaving spiders to investigate some of their behaviors such as constructing a stabilimentum or web-shaking. Studies of diversity of spiders in different habitats such as restored and virgin prairies also hold great potential for research.

Selected Publications

Cramer, K. L. 2008. Are brown recluse spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) scavengers? The influence of predator satiation, prey size and prey quality. J. Arachnology 36:140-144.

Cramer, K. L. and A. V. Maywright. 2008. Cold temperature tolerance and the distribution of the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa (Araneae, Sicariidae) in Illinois. J. Arachnology 36:136-139.

Cramer, K. L. 2003. The influence of precipitation change on spiders as top predators in the detrital community. Chapter 20 in North American Temperate Deciduous Forest Responses to Changing Precipitation Regimes. Ecological Studies vol. 166, ed. P. J. Hanson and S. D. Wullschleger. Springer, New York, NY, 472 pp.


James Godde

Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in DNA structure, especially that found associated with various repetitive elements of DNA. Although repetitive DNA is often irreverently referred to as "junk" DNA, it apparently plays an important structural role in the genomes of higher eukaryotes. Perturbing the structure of such DNA repeats appears to have detrimental effects on the cell. For instance, the expansion of certain repetitive DNA sequences has been linked with a number of human diseases. My previous work has studied the packaging of such repeats into chromatin, where DNA is wrapped around spools of protein in the nucleus.
Two classes of research projects are ongoing in my lab which enable us to elucidate the function of repetitive DNA:

1) “Wet lab” experiments using the thermophilic bacteria, Thermus thermophilus, to better characterize these repeats.
2) “In silico” experiments using computers to search for repetitive elements.

The former approach is currently being used to isolate large plasmids from the bacteria (megaplasmids) which contain CRISPRs (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) and to compare sequences from different strains. In the future, I would like to isolate our own strains of the bacteria to continue this analysis.
Other projects in my laboratory involve computer-based analysis of genomic sequences, or bioinformatics. People who study this field of science are usually called "data miners" since they take large amounts of data and extract important sequences from them. Since I’m more concerned with junk DNA, my students are more akin to "data junk collectors", or if you prefer, "bioinfomaniacs." The focus here centers on the identification and analysis of repetitive sequences in a wide range of eukaryotic genomes and the prediction of the "bendability" of DNA in these repetitive regions, with the hopes of someday being able to predict their ability to assume structural roles in the genome.

Selected Publications

Godde, J. S. (in press) “Biotechnology” in Encyclopedia of Global Warming, Salem Press: Pasadena, CA.

Godde, J. S. & Ura, K. (in press) Dynamic alterations of linker histone variants during development., Int. J. Dev. Biol.

Godde, J. S. & Ura, K. (2008) Cracking the enigmatic linker histone code., J. Biochem. 143:287-293.

Godde, J. S. & Bickerton, A. J. (2006) The repetitive DNA elements called CRISPRs and their associated genes: evidence of horizontal transfer among prokaryotes., J. Molec. Evol., 62, 718-729.


Tim Tibbetts

Research Interests

I am interested in plant ecology, dendrochronology, vines and invasive plant species, forest restoration, hydroponics, ethnobotany, and forensic botany. If it’s got to do with plants, I’m interested. My research students have investigated invasive plant function as well as mechanical features of the xylem, tree growth response to environment and pruning using dendrochronology, conducted floristic analyses of prairies and forests, and analyzed ethnobotanical species plant chemistry. We also conduct field research at the LeSuer Nature Preserve near campus, where 16 acres are dedicated to renovated prairie and continued reforestation endeavors.

Selected Publications

Tibbetts, T. J. and F. W. Ewers. 2000. Root Pressure and specific conductivity in temperate lianas: exotic Celastrus orbiculatus (Celastraceae) vs. native Vitis riparia (Vitaceae). American Journal of Botany 87:1272-12





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