Michael (Michi) Tobler

Michi graduated with a Ph. D. from the University of Zürich in 2008 and spent over two years as a postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University. He is interested in a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology. His current work leverages livebearing fishes as a model to ask fundamental questions about the origins of functional trait diversity and speciation. The goal is to understand how selection shapes genetic changes that mediate adaptive modification of biochemical properties and physiological processes that govern organismal function, and how the resulting functional differences among diverging populations mediate reproductive isolation. In addition, he leverages over a dozen independent lineages of extremophile fishes in sulfide springs to determine how ecological, genetic, and functional factors contribute to convergence at macroevolutionary scales and test when and why evolutionary change is repeatable and predictable.

  • CV
  • Office: 304 Ackert Hall
  • Email:
  • Phone: +1-785-532-6652
  • Fax: +1-785-532-6653

Graduate students

Nick Barts

Ph.D. student, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellow

Nick received his Bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois in 2015. He is interested in comparative physiology and assessing how traits across levels of biological organization interact to shape organismal responses to stressful environments. His current research focuses on the comparative physiology and biochemistry of locally adapted populations of Poecilia mexicana that inhabit hydrogen sulfide-rich springs, with an emphasis on metabolic and detoxification pathways.

  • Office: 413 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Henry Camarillo

M.S. student

Henry received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Brigham Young University in 2015, where he investigated  swimming performance trade-offs in Brachyrhaphis fishes. He is currently interested in studying performance trade-offs in fish from sulfidic habitats by testing how morphological variation shapes different aspects of organismal function.

  • Office: 413 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

John Coffin

Ph.D. student, Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellow

John received a dual Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Marine Biology from the University of Georgia in 2017. His interests include investigating fish ecology and larval development. In particular, he hopes to understand how organisms can adapt to novel environments using a variety of physiological and computational tools. His current Ph.D. research examines the mechanisms and evolution of heavy metal tolerance in Western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) populations living in freshwater streams contaminated with mine outflow.

  • Office: 315 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Bryan Frenette

Ph.D. student, co-advised with Keith Gido

Bryan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology in 2011 and a Master’s degree in Zoology in 2014 from the University of Oklahoma. He is interested in fish ecology, and his thesis research focused on the impact of turbidity on the growth of young-of-year spotted gar (Lepsisosteus oculatus). His Ph.D. research is focusing on the physiological and ecological responses to shifts in temperature in several species of prairie stream fishes.

  • Office: 413 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Ryan Greenway

Ph.D. student, NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Ryan received his Bachelor’s degree from the Department of Zoology at Oklahoma State University. He is interested in how organisms adapt to different habitats and how these adaptations lead to reproductive isolation and speciation. Additionally, he studies how traits evolve across lineages adapting to similar selective regimes using different lineages of poeciliids that have colonized sulfide springs across the Americas and Caribbean Islands.

  • Office: 134 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Undergraduate students

Millie Dinkel

Millie is a sophomore at Kansas State University majoring in Biology, with a minor in Anthropology. She is interested in conservation biology.




Rachel McNemee

Rachel McNemee is a Sophomore at Kansas State University majoring in Wildlife Biology. She is interested in studying zoology.





Nichole Nieves

Nichole is currently a freshman at Kansas State University majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Veterinary Medicine. She is interested in studying marine life.