|Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 353)||Ecology and Evolution (BIOL 353)|
|Ecology (BIOL 401)||Ichthyology (BIOL 462)|
|Research Design and Analysis (BIOL 598)||Measuring Biological Diversity (BIOL 590)|
Student Research Opportunities
Research is a vital part of a student's education! In addition to personal satisfaction, students gain academic motivation, develop critical thinking abilities, learn problem solving skills, enhance communication proficiency, and increase their scientific understanding. If you are interested in conducting undergraduate research, follow the link below for an application to be a research assistant in my lab. You can also see what other students have done as well.
Stefanie injecting VIE tags into minnows
Dr. Higgins at field station in Puerto Rico
Most of my research focuses on how local processes (e.g., competition, hybridization, predation) combine with regional processes (e.g., colonization, environmental filtering, extinction) to determine the distribution and abundance of organisms. It combines experimental and observational approaches, and often uses computer simulations to determine whether empirical observations deviate from null expectations. Currently, there are three foci to my research:
- Biological Diversity - I am interested in understanding how various dimensions of biodiversity (abundance, functional, and phylogenetic) interact at different spatial scales
- Metacommunity Ecology - I am interested in uncovering broad-scale patterns of metacommunity structure and elucidating the underlying mechanisms that give rise to those patterns.
- Population Ecology - I am interested in knowing how and why population numbers change through time and using mathematical models to predict future changes
* - student authors
- Higgins, C.L., A.R. Love-Snyder*, W.W. Wiegreffe*, and R.S. Pfau. [accepted]. Lack of hybridization between red and blacktail shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis and C. venusta) in two Texas rivers, but evidence of introgression among three lineages of the C. lutrensis species group. Copeia
- De la Sancha, N.U., C.L. Higgins, S.J. Presley, and R.E. Strauss. 2014. Metacommunity structure in a highly fragmented forest: has deforestation in the Atlantic Forest altered historic biogeographic patterns? Diversity and Distributions 20:1058-1070.
- Munz, J.T.* and C.L. Higgins. 2013. The influence of discharge, photoperiod, and temperature on the reproductive ecology of cyprinids in the Paluxy River, Texas. Aquatic Ecology 47:67-74.
- Higgins, C.L. 2010. Patterns of functional and taxonomic organization of stream fishes: inferences based on α, β, and γ diversities. Ecography 33:678-687.
- Presley, S.J., C.L. Higgins, and M.R. Willig. 2010. A comprehensive framework for the evaluation of metacommunity structure. Oikos 119:908-917.
See Publications page for complete list of publications.
* - student authors
- Medina-Torres, K.M.* and C.L. Higgins. 2014. Taxonomic and functional changes in metacommunity striucture of stream-fish assemblages in Texas from 1988-2009. Tarleton State University Research Symposium. Stephenville, TX
- Price, C.J.*, J.L. Glass*, C.N. Niebuhr, D.H. Kattes, K.K. Herrmann, T.W. Schwertner, and C.L. Higgins. 2013. Spatio-temporal dynamics of spinose ear tickstobius megnini) at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. 4th International Scientific Symposium for PhD Students and Students of Agricultural Colleges. Bydgoszcz, Poland
- Kutovoy, G.* and C.L. Higgins. 2013. Experimental studies of shoaling behavior in red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) and blacktail shiner (C. venusta). Texas BioScience Institute – part of NSF-STEP Grant “The Central Texas 2-STEP.” Temple, TX
- Weigreffe, W.*, A.R. Love*, C.L. Higgins, and R.S. Pfau. 2013. Lack of mitochondrial DNA introgression between red and blacktail shiners (Genus Cyprinella) in two Texas River. 60th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Lake Charles, LA
- Munz, J.T.* and C.L. Higgins. 2011. Reproductive ecology of cyprinids in the Paluxy River. 58th Annual of the Southwestern Association of Naturalists. Tyler, TX
See Presentations page for complete list of presentations.