EBIO student's Honors Thesis submissions from past years are archived here with abstracts from the student's respective papers. Peruse several of the submissions to get a sense of the area's of study our students delve into for their Honors Thesis projects.

Landscape Patterns of Litter Decomposition in Alpine Tundra - H. A. O'Lear and T. R. Seastedt - 1994

Effects of Mobile Tree Islands on Soil Carbon Storage in Tundra Ecosystems - Sheridan J. Pauker and T. R. Seastedt - 1996

Effects of Sequestered Iridoid Glycosides on Prey Choice of the Prairie Wolf Spider, Lycosa carolinensis - Demetri Hilario Theodoratus and M. Deane Bowers - 1998

Effects of Soil Nitrogen Reduction on Nonnative Plants in Restored Grasslands - K.J. Reever Morghan & T. R. Seastedt - 1999

Phylogeny of hammerhead sharks (Family Sphyrnidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear genes -  Douglas D. Lim, Philip Motta, Kyle Mara, Andrew P. Martin - 2010

Beyond immunity: quantifying the efects of host anti-parasite behavior on parasite transmission -  Elizabeth W. Daly & Pieter T. J. Johnson - 2011

Land Use and Wetland Spatial Position Jointly Determine Amphibian Parasite Communities - Richard B. Hartson,  Sarah A. Orlofske,  Vanessa E. Melin,  Robert T. Dillon Jr., and Pieter T. J. Johnson - 2011

Effects of fuels reductions on plant communities and soils in a Piñon-juniper woodland - M.R. Ross, S.C. Castle, N.N. Barger - 2012

Investigating the dispersal routes used by an invasive amphibian, Lithobates catesbeianus, in human-dominated landscapes - Anna C. Peterson & Katherine L. D. Richgels & Pieter T. J. Johnson & Valerie J. McKenzie - 2012

Incorporation of an Introduced Weed into the Diet of a Native Butterfly: Consequences for Preference, Performance and Chemical Defense - Angela Knerl & M. Deane Bowers 

Quantifying the biomass of parasites to understand their role in aquatic communities - Jason Lambden & Pieter T. J. Johnson - 2013

Conceptual Revision and Synthesis of Proximate Factors Associated with Age-Related Improvement in Reproduction - Rachel J Bradley & Rebecca J. Safran - 2014

Patterns and ecological predictors of age-related performance in female North American barn swallows, Hirundo rustica erythrogaster  R. J. Bradley & J. K. Hubbard & B. R. Jenkins & R. J. Safran - 2014



Microclimate Effect on Timing of Leaf and Flower Emergence in Malus Spring Snow - Stine Skalmerud - 2020

Oct. 28, 2020

Abstract This study assessed the effect of several environmental factors on the timing and relative degree of budding of fruit trees in different locations in an urban setting. Development from immature buds to leaves and flowers was compared across different microclimates. Environmental factors considered included nonporous (impervious) surface area surrounding...

Bach Thesis

Abundance of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Organic Farmland, Conventional Farmland and Secondary Forest - Eliane Bach - 2019

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract Understanding the effects of different agricultural practices on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities is important for sustainable agricultural production, since AMF play an essential role in maintaining and promoting the health of crop-plant communities. Previous studies have demonstrated that organic farming methods promote greater diversity of AMF in crops...

Seaver Thesis

The effects of shrubs on the flowering phenology of alpine species - Micaela Seaver - 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract The ability for communities to preserve their structure and function in the face of climate change is partially dependent on whether or not species within them can successfully reproduce. Two important measures of reproduction in many plant communities are the timing of flowering (“flowering phenology”) and the number of...

Madden Thesis

Examining the Effects of Brood Size on Parent Provisioning and Foraging Behavior: A Field Experiment in Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) - Sage Madden- 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract According to life history theory, reproduction is costly, and increased parental effort can lead to reduced survival and fecundity. Animal parents are thus expected to balance trade-offs between investment in their current offspring and investment in their own survival and future reproductive attempts to maximize their lifetime fitness. In...


Understanding the Traits That Influence Herbivory on Switchgrass - Kevin Headrick - 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract Panicum virgatum L., commonly known as switchgrass, is a perennial bunch grass that is receiving attention as a potential candidate for biofuel production from its biomass (via conversion of cellulose to ethanol). Switchgrass is an extremely phenotypically diverse species that can be categorized into three main groups, called ecotypes,...


Experimental Evaluation of Salinity Tolerance in Euryhaline and Freshwater Cyanobacteria - Christopher Greidanus- 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract About 2.45 billion years ago, oxygen began to accumulate in Earth's atmosphere in a phenomenon known as the Great Oxygenation Event (GOE). While the timing of this event is fairly well understood from the geological record, the timing of the origin of its hypothesized driving factor, oxygenic photosynthesis, is...


Achromatic plumage is morphologically distinct between sexually monochromatic chickadees - Katherine Feldmann - 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract Species recognition is critical for maintaining species barriers by preventing interbreeding between distinct species that co-occur and regularly interact. In birds, feather ornamentation is a prominent mechanism underlying species recognition, where differences in feather coloration and patterning ( i.e., plumage) regulate reproductive transactions within, and also between, species. To...


An examination of genomic and acoustic differentiation between Eastern, Lilian’s, and Western Meadowlarks (Sturnella magna, S. m. lilianae, and S. neglecta) - Johanna Beam- 2020

Oct. 19, 2020

Abstract Understanding species boundaries is a fundamental, but challenging, component of describing and understanding the generation and maintenance of biodiversity. Examining differences among very recently diverged populations can provide insight into the traits and evolutionary mechanisms that drive divergence. The genus Sturnella includes two recently diverged species, the Eastern (...

Fall 2018 - Honors Thesis Students

June 13, 2018

harvester ants close up photo

Is a Corpse a Corpse? Spatial Aspects of Necrophoresis in the Western Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis - David Zelagin - 2015

Jan. 8, 2016

Abstract Disease poses a threat to any society, and this threat is amplified for societies persisting in cramped quarters over extended periods of time. Highly social (eusocial) insects actively combat the danger of pathogen proliferation with a myriad of tactics, one of which is necrophoresis or the removal of corpses...