Michael (Michi) Tobler

Professor of Evolutionary Biology

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:

Graduate students

John Coffin

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

John received bachelor’s degrees in ecology and marine biology from the University of Georgia in 2017, and is interested in understanding what creates new species and how these species remain distinct from each other. In particular, he hopes to understand how adaptation to extreme environmental conditions leads to the evolution of reproductive isolation, using a variety of physiological and computational tools. His current research examines how sexually selected reproductive traits in males and females synergistically impact patterns of reproductive isolation in livebearing fishes inhabiting toxic sulfidic habitats.

  • Office: 315 Ackert Hall
  • Email:

Cassie Delich

B.S./M.S. Student

Cassie is in the combined B.S./M.S. program at K-State. Her work explores potential hybridization in three species of Thorichthys cichlids that coexist in the floodplains of Southern Mexico.

  • Office: 413 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

Ethan Christopher

Ethan is a freshman 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.


Luke Harpenau

Luke is a Junior studying Medical Microbiology with a focus on Pre-Medicine and minoring in Leadership Studies. He is interested in physiological applications of genetic studies to human medical treatment. Luke currently works with Libby Wilson studying the evolutionary relationship between hosts and their 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.