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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.,
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.
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