This page celebrates the many people who continue to contribute to the mission of the Antlab.

Dr. Mike Weiser

earned a M.S. at OU on the Ant Macroecology project developing a morphometric picture of the ant communities, then earned his Ph. D. in the Enquist Lab studying the macroecology and biogeography of diversity. After a stint as a postdoc at North Carolina State, Mike rejoined the AntLab as Post Doc managing the MacroSystems project.

Brittany Benson, Lab Tech and Oribatid taxonomist

I plan to use ants as a model taxon to investigate the interplay of ecosystem community structure and function in leaf litter assemblages.  Within this general realm of inquiry, there are a host of fascinating questions: How does the history of the landscape influence community structure?  How does the fine-scale geometry of the habitat facilitate or impede the maintenance of biodiversity?  How does faunal morphology influence food web stability and ecosystem function?  As for my own academic community structure and functioning, I can think of no better place to be than the OU Ant Lab!

Jackson Helms, Ph. D. student, NSF Graduate Research Fellow

After a few years as an Arabic translator, I got my B.S. in Evolution and Ecology from the Ohio State University. I’m interested in large-scale geographic patterns in nature. Here at OU I will study the factors governing the latitudinal gradient in species diversity, using ants as model organisms.

Jelena Bujan, Ph. D. student

I discovered the world of ants at the end of my studies at University of Zagreb, Croatia. Since then I got my diploma of Biology and Chemistry teacher and together with two colleagues founded Croatian Myrmecological Society, a NGO whose work is completely committed to ant research and educating general public about omnipresent bugs that everyone knows but generally know very little about. My research was focused on Croatian ant fauna, lately on ant communities at small and endangered peat land habitats in Croatia. Right now I’m working on Macroecology project in Mike Kaspari’s AntLabwhich will not only allow me to work in the exciting field of ant ecology, but it’ll also include my interests in community ecology, global patterns of biodiversity and ecological stoichiometry.

Karl Roeder

Karl Roeder, Ph. D. student

I received my BS, and later MS under Dr. Spencer Behmer, from Texas A&M University in Entomology. While there my research primarily focused on exploring how food macronutrient content affected various performance measurements in the generalist caterpillar, Heliothis virescens. Currently as a PhD student in Dr. Mike Kaspari’s lab, I am interested in combining principles of nutritional and community ecology in order to explore the driving factors that shape ant communities across geographically diverse habitats.

Jane Lucas

Jane Lucas, Ph. D. student, GAAN Fellow, NSF Graduate Research Fellow

I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in Biology and Justice and Peace studies. While studying at St. Thomas I was able to collaborate with the ant lab here at OU and explored how the arboreal ants in the genus Azteca contribute to decomposition and provide a connection between above and below ground food webs. While at OU I hope to continue to explore connections between above and below ground processes. I am also interested in exploring invasion ecology and latitudinal diversity gradients using microbial and invertebrate communities as model organisms.


Dr. Leeanne Alonso

earned her Ph. D. with E.O. Wilson at Harvard, and worked on Ant Macroecology, before moving on to direct RAP surveys for Conservation International.

Dr. Steve Yanoviak

began our continuing canopy-litter studies as a post doc, was the lead investigator on the gliding ant work, and has become a leading investigator in canopy entomology. After a stint as assistant Professor at UArkansas-Little Rock, he moved to the University of Louisville as a Thomas Wallace Endowed Chair of Conservation.



Dr. Mary Johnston

earned a M.S. working on the Brown Food Web project and explored how diversity of oribatid mites varied across tree species. After earning her Ph. D. at U.T. Austin, she is a professor at Austin College.

Jon Shik

Dr. Jon Shik

Jon's Ph. D. dissertation work combined field experiments in litter ecology, colony demography, and respirometry. After a postdoctoral stint at North Carolina State University, Jon earned a Madame Curie Fellowship and a STRI fellowship.

David Donoso

Dr. David Donoso

David achieved a Licenciatura degree in Biological Sciences in Quito, Ecuador where he studied morphological variability of vampire bats skulls and the taxonomy of the ant genus Leptanilloides. David's Ph. D. was combined the taxonomy of Tatuidris with studies of how the brown food web tracked tropical trees, and tropical ant communities were structured. He is now a professor at the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja in Ecuador.

Natalie Clay

Dr. Natalie Clay, Post Doc Mississippi State University

Natalie explored the role that gradients of resource availability, specifically essential nutrients like Na, C, N, P, shape arthropod communities. She studied how litter arthropod communities througout the New World covaried with sodium and the role of the Neotropical genus Azteca is a keystone species linking the canopy to the forest litter. She is currently a post doc at Mississippi State University.

More soon...
Author: Mike Kaspari


About OU's Web
OU Logo