Michael (Michi) Tobler

E. Desmond Lee Professor in Zoological Studies

Michi graduated with a Ph. D. from the University of Zürich. He is interested in a wide range of questions in evolutionary biology. His current work leverages livebearing fishes as a model to ask questions about the origins of functional trait diversity and speciation. He strives to make science – and biology in particular – accessible to broad audiences.

Postdoctoral researchers

Bethany Williams

NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Bethany received her PhD from the Ohio State University in 2023. She is interested in understanding how multiple stressors shape organismal responses and whether those responses are predictable. During her PhD she studied the effects of multiple stressors on reproductive physiology and behavior in an African cichlid. Bethany’s current research addresses how multiple stressor tolerance in fish from sulfidic environments arises from the interactions between genotypes, phenotypes, and the environment.

Graduate students

Casey Ernest

M.S. Student

Casey earned her B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology from Purdue. Her research interests are how life histories drive differential survival in endangered species and how these traits can be used to maximize management efficiency. Casey’s masters thesis is focused on assessing the genetic and environmental health of endangered Pecos gambusia in New Mexico.

Erik Johnson

Ph.D. student

Erik received a B.S. in Biology from Brigham Young university in 2022. He is interested in the evolution of asymmetrical traits. His current research focuses on how asymmetric traits influence behavior and how they are maintained broadly in livebearing fish. He also looks at how these morphological asymmetries are connected with other traits such as brain structure and gonopodial complexity.

Soren Johnson

Ph.D. student

Soren received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Olivet Nazarene University in 2019. After undergrad he spent a year and a half working for the Illinois Natural History Survey at the Lake Michigan Biological Station as a fisheries technician. He then went on to receive his Master of Science in Biology from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2022. He is broadly interested in genomics and ichthyology and is specifically interested in how adaptation to an extreme environment occurs across a gradient.

Libby Wilson

Ph.D. student

Libby received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Spanish from Truman State University in 2018. She is broadly interested in mechanisms underlying biodiversity and speciation. Libby’s current research focus involves identifying the microbiomes of fish in sulfidic habitats and understanding how host-microbiome relationships potentially influence ecological function and physiological adaptation to extreme environments.

Undergraduate students

Ethan Christopher

Ethan is a sophomore at K-State, studying Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. He maintains fish habitats and works to care for and ensure the health, wellness, and safety of the fish. He is interested in developing and maintaining aquariums, making conservational efforts, and fishing. He hopes to study the complex relationship between native and non-native fish species especially in the Florida Canal systems.