Biology

Dr. Kaitlin Campbell Joins Biology Faculty

Dr. Kaitlin Campbell in the field

The Department of Biology recently hired Assistant Professor Kaitlin Campbell, who received her PhD degree in Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Dr. Campbell developed a keen interest in insect biodiversity since she was old enough to turn over the rocks in her back yard, and her love of little things continues to drive her interests today.

While completing her B.S. degree in Zoology at Ohio State University, she became fascinated by the incredible diversity of mites and the strange niches they inhabit on the bodies of other animals, for example: the ears of moths, faces of humans, tracheae of bees, and nostrils of birds. These two interests merged when she began her M.S. degree in Entomology at Ohio State University studying the diversity of mites associated with ants in Ohio and Arizona. She continued her work on the ant-associated mite system at Miami University for her PhD degree by expanding her spatial scale to incorporate principles of community ecology, landscape ecology, and restoration ecology. During her PhD research she worked as the program coordinator for the National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, a program geared toward encouraging students from underrepresented groups to continue in STEM fields. Following completion of her PhD program, she continued at Miami University as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow studying ants in temperate tree canopies.

Her broad interest in diversity at multiple spatial scales has also been the foundation of several mentored undergraduate research projects on animal and plant communities including earthworms, butterflies, lady beetles, prairie plants, and birds. She is excited to experience a whole new variety of insects and mites now that she has migrated southward. Her current research projects include: 1) effects of an invasive shrub (Amur honeysuckle) and deer on ant biodiversity, 2) ant diversity and function in crop fields and temperate tree canopies, 3) historical and future shifts in lady beetle communities due to climate change, 4) elevation gradients and ant and mite diversity in Costa Rica, 5) mite communities associated with an invasive ant and termites in North Carolina and Japan, and 6) a citizen science biodiversity and invasive species monitoring project in Daniel Boone National Forest (KY, TN), and 7) mites associated with local fire ants. Students wishing to get involved in these projects are welcome to email or visit her in her office.

This fall she is teaching Environmental Science, Sustainable Pest Management, and Entomology. In her free time she immerses herself in the outdoors as a hobby beekeeper, insect collector, and avid gardener. She welcomes interested students to contact her at Kaitlin.campbell@uncp.edu or visit her in her office (Oxendine 2243).

Dr. Kaitlin Campbell and ant mound

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