Faculty Advisory Committee

The Faculty Advisory Committee is a group of UW faculty from across the University, and representing a wide range of disciplines that act as an advisory body for the Biodiversity Institute.

Factulty Advisory Committee

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Ana Houseal - Science and Mathematics Teaching Center

Ana-Professional.jpgDr. Ana Houseal is the Outreach Science Educator at the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She began her teaching career over two and a half decades ago in a special education classroom on the Lakota Sioux (Rosebud) Reservation in South Dakota. She also taught in an east coast inner city intermediate school and in communities in Montana, Georgia, and Iowa. She has been teaching pre- and in-service teachers in her classroom and in university courses since 1996. In 2005, she obtained National Board Certification in Young Adolescent Science.

Gary Beauvais - WYNDD

GaryBeauvais.jpgI am the Director of the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database, a service and research unit of the University of Wyoming and a member of the network of State Natural Heritage Programs. Our mission is to develop and disseminate comprehensive information on the distribution, natural history, and status of rare plants, rare animals, and important vegetation communities in Wyoming. My primary research interests are the biogeography, habitat use, and conservation of vertebrate wildlife in Wyoming and surrounding states. Most recently I have established a program of producing predictive distribution models and maps for several rare taxa in the region. Such maps have become very useful to natural resource managers and conservationists, and are good examples of how large and complicated masses of technical data can be processed into products that directly inform and influence on-ground activities. I am interested in exploring additional ways to help bridge the gap between ecological researchers and natural resource managers

Craig Benkman - Zoology & Physiology

Benkman.pngI am interested in what influences the evolution of species interactions and understanding how such (co)evolution affects diversification. The interactions that I have found most practical (and enjoyable) to study are those between conifers and the animals that eat their seeds. I am especially interested in the interactions between crossbills (Loxia) and conifers, and how these interactions have influenced crossbill diversification.

Bob Hall - Program in Ecology

bobhall.pngI am a professor in the Department of Zoology and Physiology  and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Ecology. I have been at Wyoming since 1998 after undegrad at Cornell and PhD at Georgia  I teach limnology and ecology. My research focuses on ecology of streams and rivers. I study energy flow through river food webs and how streams and rivers process nitrogen and carbon.  I have  collaborated in a multiple-region study of controls on nitrate removal in small streams, with recent work on measuring controls of nutrient uptake and metabolism in large rivers. My food web work includes a multi-year study of carbon cycling and energy flow through food webs in the Colorado River, Grand Canyon. My current research is developing computational approaches of calculating ecosystem metabolism in rivers and streams, and examining the effect of forest history on metabolism and nitrogen processing.

Dannele Peck - Agricultural and Applied Economics


David Williams - Ecosystem Science and Management


I am a plant physiological ecologist who uses stable isotopes to investigate plant responses to environmental changes in space and time, and the expression of plant metabolic functions at the ecosystem level.

My current projects focus on (1) the role of precipitation variability in grassland and savanna ecosystem dynamics, (2) integration of carbon and water cycles in environments characterized by pulsed resource renewal, (3) spatial and temporal patterns of resource capture by woody plant root systems, (4) plant controls on ecosystem water balance, and (5) isotopic records of plant responses to climate change in deserts.

Harvey Hix - English

hilhix.gifH. L. Hix’s most recent book is a “selected poems” entitled First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessionals 1985-2010.  Others of his recent poetry collections include Incident Light, Legible Heavens, and Chromatic (a finalist for the National Book Award).  His books of criticism and theory include As Easy As Lying, Spirits Hovering Over the Ashes: Legacies of Postmodern Theory, and Morte d’Author: An Autopsy.  His website is www.hlhix.com.


Matt Carling - Zoology & Physiology

carling.JPGResearch in my lab focuses on quested related to adaptation and speciation in birds. Current project include investigating: 1) patterns of gene flow and introgression across avian hybrid zones; 2) patterns of functional differentiation within bird species with very broad breeding ranges (e.g. Tachycineta swallows); and 3) the influence of environmental variation on within species genetic variation and structure.

Matt Kauffmann - Wyoming Cooperative Research Unit

8815231c08e9de9c3625f476004bd1e8_f367.jpgMatt grew up in rural southern Oregon, the son of a horse logger and an elementary schoolteacher. He has an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Matt has worked on topics that include the management and recovery of peregrine falcons, habitat quality and fidelity of North Pacific whale species, the effects of range management on carnivores in southern Africa, the dynamics of elk populations, and interactions among wolves, elk and aspen. In 2006, Matt joined the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the faculty of the Department of Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming; he is currently the leader of the Wyoming Coop Unit. Matt and his graduate students are conducting studies on elk, wolves, moose, deer, and bighorn sheep in Wyoming, addressing the influence of habitat condition, predation, human disturbance, and energy development on these species. Matt’s research combines work on animal physiology, behavior and demography to better understand population- and landscape-level processes. A primary focus of this work is to provide timely information to  agency biologists charged with managing Wyoming’s wildlife.

Naomi Ward - Molecular Biology

wardweb.jpgDr Ward is a microbiologist with a split appointment between the Departments of Molecular Biology and Botany, and is also a member of the Program in Ecology, and the Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences graduate program. She received training at the University of Queensland, Australia (undergraduate), the University of Warwick, UK (graduate), and Louisiana State University and The Institute for Genomic Research (post-graduate). Her group’s research has two broad themes: evolutionary cell biology and evolutionary ecology. Researchers in the Ward group work at multiple levels of organization (cell, organism, community), employing both experimental and computational approaches. Current research projects include cell biology and evolutionary processes in planctomycetes and verrucomicrobia, and the role of intestinal microbiota in pediatric gastrointestinal disorders. She current teaches an upper-level class (Microbial Diversity and Ecology) that explores the structure and function of microbial communities through an integrated lecture and laboratory course.

Cynthia Weinig - Botany