Department of Biological Science
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1100

Office: 2008 King Life Sciences Building
Telephone: 850-644-4167
email: nunderwood@bio.fsu.edu

Home Research People Teaching Publications


Nora Underwood (BA Vassar College, PhD Duke University)

Research Interests:

I study how the characteristics of individual organisms influence population dynamics, evolution, and species interactions. To make connections between individuals and populations I think about things like genetic variation, phenotypic plasticity, movement behavior, spatial scale and environmental variation, as well as how population dynamics and evolution interact. I work on interactions between plants and insect herbivores because they play important roles in natural and agricultural communities so I can focus on basic research questions while also generating information that can be applied to the practical problems of developing more sustainable agriculture. Because the questions that I ask span levels of organization from characteristics of individuals to populations, and encompass both long and short time-frames, I use a combination of greenhouse and field experiments with mathematical modeling.

Other academic interests: 

I am intersted in how teaching and mentoring in higher education can be used to  engage and support all kinds of people in science. I am particularly intersted in the uses and teaching of writing in science.   I work on graduate mentoring and professional development as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies, and on both graduate and undergraduate recruitment, teaching and mentoring as part of the organizing group in our departmental Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.                     



Jessie Mutz   (PhD FSU, BA University of Florida) 

Research interests:

I am broadly interested in the feedbacks between individual traits, emergent spatial patterns, and population-level processes. My current research addresses how density-dependent interactions occurring at small spatial scales change through ontogeny in an herbivorous beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta, and ultimately scale up to affect population growth and the evolution of traits such as clutch size and movement (e.g., foraging behavior, conspecific aggregation).

Contact: jmutz@bio.fsu.edu 

 Jessie's website


Jacob Heiling (PhD , North Carolina State University)

Research interests:

I study species interactions, and have a particular interest in the role that plant-animal interactions play in the evolution of plant traits and reproductive strategies.

Jacob's website


Graduate Students:

Monica Paniagua-Montoya, PhD student (BS Lawrence University)

Research interests: I am broadly interested in the factors that affect plant-insect interactions and how these scale up to community level processes. Specifically, I am interested in the variation among individual insects (behavior, traits, etc.) and the accompanying effects on interspecific interactions.

Contact: mpaniagua@bio.fsu.edu



Penelope Ales, MS student (BS Florida State University)

Research interests: I am broadly interested in how plant interactions with the environment and animals translate to overall plant physiology and function, fitness and population dynamics. I am particularly interested in these processes in the context of climate change in natural and managed systems.

Contact: pales@bio.fsu.edu

Allison Snyder, MS student (BS Florida State University)

Research interests: I am interested in how mosaics of large-scale disturbances, such as fire, impact species interactions and the reproductive success of populations through successional processes. I am also interested in encouraging the extension of scientific knowledge to land management and convservation practices.

Contact: asnyder@bio.fsu.edu

 Abigail Dittmar, PhD student (BS Cornell University)

 Research interests: I am interested in multitrophic interactions and how individual-level interactions scale up to affect community-level dynamics. I am particularly interested in the effect environmental variability has on species interactions across temporal and spatial scales.

Contact: adittmar@fsu.edu 


Fatima Alcantara 

Research Interests:  TBA 



Undergraduate Students:

Nicole Heim

Research interests: Animal conservation, effects of fire on butterfly populations


 Grace Brown

Research interests:


Current and recent collaborators:  

Dr. Stacey Halpern, Pacific University

Dr. Peter Hamback, Stockholm University

Dr. Johan Ehrlen, Stockholm University

Dr. Jennifer Thaler, Cornell University

Dr. Kevin Robertson, Tall Timbers Research Station

Dr. David McNutt, Tallahassee Community College

Dr. Rebecca Irwin, North Carolina State University

Dr. Aimee Classen, University of Vermont

Dr. David Inouye, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

Former lab members:  


Jane Ogilvie (PhD University of Toronto). Pollinator Research Specialist, Chicago Botanic Garden.
Alyssa Hakes
(PhD University of Louisianna). Assistant Professor, Lawrence University.
Jessica Hines (PhD University of Maryland). Researcher, EAWAG Aquatic Research Institute, Switzerland
Tom E.X. Miller (PhD University of Nebraska). Associate Professor, Rice University. Research interests: demographic consequences of biotic interactions.
Kurt Anderson (PhD UC Santa Barbara). Associate Professor, UC Riverside. Research interests: quantitative and theoretical ecology

Stacey Halpern (PhD University of Minnesota). Professor, Pacific University, OR. Research interests: Plant-insect interactions; evolution in response to environmental stress; influence of herbivores on invasive plants

Graduate Students:

 Jessie Mutz (PhD FSU). Postdoctoral Researcher, FSU

Molly Wiebush  (MS FSU). Lead Vegetation Ecologist, CA Native Plant Society 

Andrew Merwin (PhD FSU, Program of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Nebraska). Assistant Professor, Baldwin Wallace University, OH

Josh Grinath (PhD FSU, Postdoc UC Boulder). Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Idaho

David McNutt (PhD FSU, Postdoc Learning Systems Institute, FSU). Assistant Professor, Tallahassee Community College

Tania Kim
(PhD FSU, Postdoc UW Madison). Assistant Professor, Kansas State University

Amanda Buchanan
(PhD FSU, Postdoc MSU). Developmental Scientist/Entomologist, ALK Source Materials.


Allyssa Kilanowski (BS St. Lawrence Univerisity). PhD student University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Irina Shapiro (BS University of Maryland). Graduate student, UC Davis.
Emily Sipe (BA Pacific University, MA TESOL). Managing study abroad for Concordia University.
John Fort (BA Swarthmore College). STEM teacher Chaffey High School.
Alex Forde (BA Carleton College). PhD Student, University of Maryland, College Park.
David Honig (BA Grinnell College). PhD student, Duke University.
Joe Simonis (BA University of Illinois, PhD Cornell University). Postdoc, Center for Applied Population Biology, Lincoln Park Zoo.
Katherine McAlister (BA Swarthmore College). Naturalist, Kern Environmental Education Program, CA.
Robin Hopkins (BA Brown University, PhD Duke University). Assistant Professor, Harvard University.  

Some of our Undergraduate Researchers and where they are now:

Jacob Hart, PhD student in Conservation Biology, University of Central Florida
Rachel Atchison, Masters student, University of Florida Department of Entomology
Alexandra Niedzwiecki, M.S. student in School of Environmental Science and Forestry, and School of Public Policy, University of Washington
Nick Porter, MPH, Environmental Health Science and Policy, George Washington University.
Kerri Brinegar
, MS in GIS student, FSU Geography Department
Ordom Huot, PhD in Entomology Texas A&M, now postdoc NC State University
Troy Simon, PhD in Ecology UGA, now Research Professional, University of Georgia
Ryan Eckert, Research assistant, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
Michael Martinez, Vet school bound
Katty Paulino, Administrative Staff, St. Joseph of St. Augustine School
Meredith Robbins, Vet school bound
Anna Gutterman, FSU school of Nursing.
Maria Sardi
Nana Cudjoe, MD Creighton University, now resident in Psychiatry SIU School of Medicine
Amber Lefstead. MS in Conservation Biology, University of Maryland. Now with EPA WaterSense program, Washington DC.

Brian Bielfelt. Biologist, Southern California Edison.
Corinne Klein. Research technician, US Department of Agriculture
Emily Fairbanks.
Amanda White. FSU Med School
Melanie Baker. PhD, North Carolina State University, Department of Entomology. UN FAO, Rome Italy
Natalie Hummel. PhD, University of California Davis, Department of Entomology. Rice Extension Entomologist, LA State University
Molly Puente. PhD, North Carolina State University, Department of Entomology. NIH Administrative Fellow
Toshihiko Yoshida. Graduate student, Michigan State University, when last seen.

dreamweaver web templates