Michael (Michi) Tobler

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.

  • 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:

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:

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.

  • Office: 413 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Undergraduate students

Cassie Delich

Cassie is a biology major working to become genetic counselor. She currently works with Libby Wilson investigating fish microbiomes.





Hannah Hoffman-Colburn

Hannah is a Sophomore studying Wildlife Biology. She is interested in studying animal endangerment. Hannah is currently working with John Coffin on hydrogen sulfide’s impact on sexual selection in fish.




Madison Nobrega

Madison is a sophomore majoring in Wildife Biology and minoring in Spanish. She is an REU scholar working with Libby Wilson on sulfide fish metabolism.




Justine Onnen

Justine is currently a Junior studying Wildlife Biology with a focus on Biodiversity and Conservation. She is interested in studying marine biology in the future. Justine in an NSF REU scholar working with John Coffin.