People

Current Lab Members

Jim Bever

Jim Bever

Professor of Biology

785-864-1500

I am interested in testing basic ecological and evolutionary processes occurring within plants and their associated fungi. Read More…

Peggy Schultz

Peggy Schultz

Associate Specialist, Environmental Studies Program

785-864-1500

My research extends from understanding factors that underlie the re-establishment of prairies to environmental education. Read More…

Lab Manager

Aaron Baumgardner

awbaumgardner@ku.edu

Aaron BaumgardnerI am the lead research technician on the Dimensions project out at KU’s field station. My interests are in plant responses to alterations in precipitation patterns driven by climate change. I received a master’s degree from California State University, Bakersfield where I studied how chaparral shrublands communities were affected by the historic California droughts throughout the 2010s. Prior to working in the Bever/Schultz lab, I was a lab manager at Kansas State University. Regardless of where I’ve been, I love collecting data, and I love being outside among the plants.

Lab Technicians

Isabelle Ellington

Isabelle Ellington

I am a recent graduate from KU, interested in conservation and restoration of natural habitats of both plants and animals. I plan on obtaining a law degree with a focus on conservation law!

Molecular Lab Manager

Alexa Phillips

alexa.phillips@ku.edu

Alexa PhillipsI am the Molecular Lab Manager for the Bever/Schultz Lab, and I am also assisting with the Dimensions project. Previously I have worked in labs focused on the learning behaviors of social animals, such as Monk Parakeets and Western Honeybees, but I am broadly interested in ecology and conservation. I am excited to learn more about plant-microbe interactions and how human disturbances are affecting prairie ecology.

Alex H.

Madison Tunnell

Madison TunnellI am the molecular lab technician in the Bever/Schultz Lab. I recently graduated from Kansas State University in December 2020 with a Bachelor’s in Agronomy and a minor in Plant Pathology. My research areas of interest are plant disease resistance and soil microbe interactions with the environment.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Liz Koziol

Liz KoziolMy graduate work focused on native prairie mycorrhizal fungi. I collected prairie mycorrhizae from old-growth prairies and cultured the for use in restoration. Through this work, I found that inoculation with prairie microbes including mycorrhizal can help prairie seedlings and seeded species establish in a restoration. I found that some late successional plant species–those that are most often only found in late successional, remnant and undisturbed prairie communities–will only establish in restorations with the inclusion of their below ground prairie mycorrhizae. I was so impressed with what prairie fungi could do to improve restoration, that I began a small business called MycoBloom so that I can provide these prairie fungi to others.

My current research is sponsored the Kansas Biological Station, the Land Institute, and the Malone Family Land Preservation Foundation. I am working with the perennial plant species that the Land Institute has been conducting research on including Kernza, Silphium, perennial wheat and perennial Sorghum. Some of these plants, Silphium for example, are later successional prairie species. Based on my research in the prairie, these species are likely to be strongly dependent on mycorrhizal fungi. Currently, I am isolating mycorrhizal fungi from prairies in Kansas to inoculate perennial crop species in field and greenhouse studies at the new greenhouse and field stations in Lawrence, Kansas.

Terra Lubin

Terra LubinMy research focuses on interactions of the plant community with soil microbes, particularly in grasslands and grassland restorations in North America. I want to understand impacts of these interactions on plant communities in a variety of biotic and abiotic environments in order to better translate ecological research of plant-soil feedbacks into practical applications for restoration. One of my goals is to find ways to increase communication of knowledge and data between different research disciplines, and between ecologists and restoration practitioners.

Susan Magnoli

susan.magnoli@ku.edu

Susan MagnoliI am a postdoc in the Bever/Schultz Lab broadly interested in evolutionary ecology and plant-microbe interactions, with the goal of better understanding population establishment in novel habitats. My dissertation research focused on rapid adaptation in recently restored plant populations, showing that populations can experience evolutionary changes in phenology and mutualism-related traits in only a few generations after establishment. My postdoc research focuses on the role of rhizobial composition in determining the success of legume species across grasslands of varying land-use histories. By examining legume-rhizobia interactions in this context I hope to determine how this mutualism influences the establishment of both desirable late-successional native legumes and weedy legumes that inhibit restoration success.

Rondy Malik

Rondy’s research interest spans the realm of applied and basic ecology. His past research topics have included population structure of a non-indigenous weed, microbial bioprotection of crops, microbes in trophic ecology, and wood decomposition in eastern mixed hardwood forests. Currently, Rondy is interested in unraveling ways in which elements of global change may impact microbes and plant secondary metabolites.

Doctoral Students

Reb Bryant

reb.l.bryant@gmail.com

Reb BryantI joined the Bever/Schultz Lab in August 2020 after completing my BS in Environmental Science at Rice University in Houston, TX. While there, I researched the viral community of coral endosymbionts and worked with local organizations on a prairie restoration project. My current research interests include how we can use soil microbes like mycorrhizal fungi to improve native plant biodiversity in prairie restorations. I am also passionate about working with different organizations to establish local field studies and garnering community involvement in restoring their native ecosystems.

Haley Burrill

burrill.haley@ku.edu

Haley BurrillI came to Kansas during the summer of 2018 after completing my BS in Plant Science from the University of California, Santa Cruz. At UCSC, I was involved in a plant disease ecology lab where I did my undergraduate thesis research. After graduating, I spent a year working in the desert doing invasive species removal in Utah and botany transects in the Nevada’s Spring Mountains. Summer 2020, I completed my master’s work, which explored the response of fungal plant pathogens to plant species richness and phylogenetic relatedness. I decided to stay in the lab for my PhD to build off my master’s research analyzing the response of other microbial communities in the same experiment and exploring pathogen accumulation in both invasive species monocultures and native prairie restorations.

Laura Podzikowski

Laura PodzikowskiI am broadly interested in how human activities are altering biogeochemical cycling on this planet.  However, to understand our impacts, there are fundamental questions in ecology that remain unanswered. For example, we still don’t have a clear understanding of how biodiversity mechanistically contributes to ecosystem functioning on multiple scales.  This makes it difficult to predict how realistic scenarios of species loss or addition might alter biogeochemical cycles.  For my PhD thesis I am exploring the links between mechanisms maintaining biodiversity in grassland systems and ecosystem function.  This work is part of a large biodiversity manipulation experiment taking place at the KU Field Station.

Theo Michaels

Theo MichaelsI love thinking about restoration in the context of culture, science and management. I am particularly interested in grasslands because of their subtle beauty, the way they play with wind, and because they often intersect wild and working spaces. My research goal is to find innovative ways to interface with ecosystem processes to drive restoration efforts.Specifically, I am interested in plant-soil interactions because they represent a mechanism that inherently creates feedbacks that we may be able to use and manipulate as tools for restoration.

Camille Delavaux

Camille DelavauxMy research goal is to understand how humans are impacting the most diverse places in the world. My research focuses on understanding patterns and processes of plant-microbe interactions (both mycorrhizal fungi and pathogens) and how they change with human disturbance. I do this using a variety of tools and by looking across multiple scales. I’ve studied how mycorrhizal fungi shape global plant biogeography, how the plant pathogen community responds to climate and land use across the Eastern US and mycorrhizal response and resistance to pathogens evolves in post-agricultural tallgrass prairies in Kansas. Across my projects, I hope to find implications for conservation and restoration of these diverse ecosystems. I also enjoy working with and training undergraduate students in my research.

Rob Ramos

Rob RamosEvolutionary Biology has always been central to my research focus. I am specifically interested in the evolution and persistence of symbiotic relationships. Mycorrhizal fungi are a vital vital part of the soil community with strong symbiotic relationships with many prairie plants. Having grown up in the Midwest, I have always been fond of prairie systems. The high rate of both natural and anthropogenic disturbances create an intriguing research venue. I also have a background in geospatial analysis and would like to apply geospatial modeling techniques to prairie systems and symbiotic mycorrhizal relationships.

Masters Students

Rebekah Wagner

Rebekah WagnerI am interested in theoretical ecology, plant community ecology, plant-soil feedbacks, and prairie conservation. My theoretical work includes analyzing a mechanistic model of plant-symbiont interactions to better understand synergistic relationships in plant hosts with differing life history characteristics, conditioned to varying environmental conditions. My field work, explores the demography of prairie plants treated with biodiversity, precipitation, and soil microbe community gradients. A majority of a prairie plants biomass can be underground, so it is vital to understand how plant communities respond to various soil communities to effectively repair the prairie.

Undergraduate Students

Zoe Bedrosian

Zoe BedrosianI am a senior at KU majoring in biology and minoring in environmental studies. I am interested in pursuing microbiology or immunology research when I graduate.

Sam Campbell

Sam CampbellI am finishing up my second year with the lab. Although I am a biochemistry major, this lab has really opened my eyes up to the world of ecology. I hope to eventually move onto graduate school after taking a gap period working in Kansas City.

Luisa Garcia

Luisa GarciaI am in my fourth year of my undergrad studying environmental science at Haskell Indian Nations University and studying science education in the STEMTeach KU program. I am interested in microbial diversity and its relationship to plant growth. I am also interested in secondary science education!

Megan Heffernan

Megan HeffernanI am a sophomore majoring in Environmental Studies. My research interests are in ocean and freshwater pollution and how human activity affects different ecosystems.

Anna Holm

Anna HolmI am a senior majoring in Microbiology. My research interests include studying how microbial communities affect plant ecology.

Victoria Hughes (she/her)

Victoria HughesI am a senior studying microbiology, and I’m interested in myco-feedback and learning about native plant species.

Eleanor Matheis

Eleanor Matheis

I am a senior in Environmental Studies with research interests in how microbial processes can improve prairie restoration. I am interested in examining how prairies provide ecosystem services to our communities such as flood and erosion prevention.

Hannah Nuest

Hannah NuestI am a junior studying Environmental Studies and Spanish. I am interested in relationships among soils, microbes, and plants, and how these are affected by human activities.

Kaitlyn Rawlings

Kaitlyn RawlingsI am a sophomore at KU majoring in Environmental Studies. I am interested in biological conservation and restoration as well as better understanding humans’ relationship with the natural world.

Lillian Schroeder

Lillian SchroederI am a sophomore at the University of Kansas majoring in Ecology, Evolutionary, and Organismal Biology as well as Environmental Studies. I am interested in all things ecology and how they can be applied for restoration or conservation. I am excited to be a part of the Bever/Schultz Lab to deepen my interest and expand my knowledge.

Martha Tryban

Martha TrybanI am a junior studying Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology and Environmental Studies. I am interested in research dealing with conservation/restoration biology, behavioral ecology, and aquatic biology.

Bever/Schultz Lab
Lab Alumni

Name University Affiliation Email
Alice Tipton Saint Louis University alice.tipton at slu.edu
Alisa Childress Environmental Studies
Alison Bennett Ohio State University bennett.1242 at osu.edu
Anna Larimer Kansas State University larimera at ksu.edu
Anna Rosling Uppsala University anna.rosling at ebc.uu.se
Anne Hartley Florida Gulf Coast University ahartley at fgcu.edu
Anne Pringle University of Wisconsin apringle2 at wisc.edu
Austin Yoder University of Kansas, Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology austinjyoder at gmail.com
Bala Chaudhary Depaul University bala.chaudhary at depaul.edu
Baoming Ji Beijing Forestry University, China baomingji at bjfu.edu.cn
Brian Steidinger University of Konstanz bsteidi2 at gmail.com
Caroline Angelard U Luassane caroline.angelard at unil.ch
Chaoyuan Zheng FAFU, China zhengcy at cau.edu.cn
Collin Bruey KU University Honors Program cbruey at ku.edu
Elise Morton Fairleigh Dickinson University elise_morton71 at fdu.edu
Elizabeth Middleton Indiana Department of Natural Resources elmiddleton82 at gmail.com
Fei-Hai Yu Beijing Forestry University feihaiyu at 126.com
Geoffrey House NEON geo.house7 at gmail.com
Grace Parker Biology, Pre-Vet graduate track
Guangzhou Wang Chinese Agricultural University (CAU) wang_guangzhou at 126.com
Hyun-Joo (Jamie) Kang Western University hkang at westernu.edu
Jacob Hopkins University of Kansas Jacob_Hopkins6 at ku.edu
Janice Alers-Garcia EPA alers-garcia.janice at epa.gov
Jeremiah Henning University of Minnesota jhenning at umn.edu
Jessica Duchicela ESPE, Ecuador jiduchicela at espe.edu.ec
Jonathan Bauer Miami University jonathantbauer at gmail.com
Joshua Schemanski Biochemistry, University of Kansas
Jun Yu Institute of Applied Ecology Chinese Academy of Sciences junyu at ku.edu
Junling Zhang Chinese Agricultural University junlingz at cau.edu.cn
Katherine Zaiger zaigerk at gmail.com
Keenan Mack Illinois College keenan.mack at mail.ic.edu
Keith Vogelsang Ivy Tech University kvogelsang at ivytech.edu
Kelly Chesus Colorado State University kelly.chesus at ku.edu
Kerri Crawford University of Houston kmcrawf3 at Central.UH.EDU
Kristen Mecke University of Tennessee
Kristi Westover Winthrop University westoverk at winthrop.edu
Lidia Yoshida NSF lyoshida at nsf.gov
Liz Seifert lizseifert at gmail.com
Marc Bogonovich OpenWords marc.bogonovich at
gmail.com
Min Tang Beijing Forestry University tangmin at bjfu.edu.cn
Olivia Childress Environmental Studies major at KU
Peter Zee University of Mississippi zee at olemiss.edu
Rondy Malik Penn State University rjm472 at psu.edu
Sarah Richardson Depaul University sricha10 at depaul.edu
Scott Mangan Arkansas State University smangan at astate.edu
Tanya Cheeke Washington State University tanya.cheeke at wsu.edu
Thomas Platt Kansas State University tgplatt at ksu.edu
Ursel Schuette University of Alaska uschuette at alaska.edu
Vanessa Beauchamp Towson U VBeauchamp at towson.edu
Wendy Taheri TerraNimbus, LLC wendy.taheri at gmail.com
Wittaya Kaonongbua KMUTT, Thailand wittaya.kao at
mail.kmutt.ac.th
Zhen Wang Grassland Research Institute