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Dr. Peter Minchin

People

Peter Minchin, Ph.D.

Professor

I received my B.Sc. with 1st class Honours in Botany from the University of Tasmania in 1976 and my Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of Tasmania in 1984. After various research and teaching positions in Australia and the USA, I joined the Department of Biological Sciences at SIUE in 2004 and was promoted to Professor in 2016. I am Chair of the North American Section and Vice President for Publications on the Governing Board of the International Association for Vegetation Science (IAVS). My main research interest is the development and evaluation of multivariate statistical methods for analyzing ecological communities and the application of these methods to the conservation and restoration of communities. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in general biology, ecology, conservation biology, biostatistics, wildlife and vegetation techniques, and travel study in biology. In addition, I advise undergraduate and graduate students who undertake research projects through my lab. Most student research is in the area of conservation biology or restoration ecology and involves a combination of field-based observations or experiments and data analysis or modeling in the lab. More mathematically inclined students may undertake projects in the development and evaluation of methods for community analysis.

If you are interested in opportunities for undergraduate or graduate research in my lab, please contact me.

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Logan Phillips, B.S.

Graduate Student

Logan received his bachelor’s degree in plant biology, with a specialization in ecology, from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in fall 2019 and started as a graduate student the Minchin lab in fall 2020. His research is investigating how non-native plant species are causing changes in native species composition and diversity in remnant Illinois wetlands. His study will also be investigating possible factors associated with invasion, such as area of remnant, shape of remnant, proximity to roads, and the diversity of the remnant when originally sampled in the 1970s. Logan plans for a career in ecological consulting, restoration, or the conservation of native plants.

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Andrew Pyszka, B.S.

Graduate Student

Andrew received his bachelor’s degree in biology, with an emphasis in ecology from Illinois State University in spring 2020. He accepted a Competitive Graduate Award and joined the Minchin lab at SIUE in fall 2020 to investigate changes in the species composition and diversity of remnant loess hill prairies. He also assesses increases in woody species encroachment and invasive species within these prairies and tests for associations between these processes and predictors. Andrew plans to find a career in ecological restoration and preservation and hopes to waste the rest of his time fishing.

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Chris Featherstone, B.S.

Graduate Student

Chris joined the lab as an undergraduate in fall 2016 and conducted a Senior Assignment research project that investigated variation in community composition with topography in Whiteside Prairie, which is within the SIUE Nature Preserve. His research was part of an ongoing effort to document the biodiversity of the nature preserve and obtain baseline data for management. Chris presented his results as a poster at the annual conference of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences and completed his B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Environment in spring 2017. He started as a graduate student in the lab in fall 2017 and is currently completing a Master's project that examined the success of prairie restorations in southwest Illinois using a high-quality remnant of tall-grass prairie as a reference site. He hopes to find a career with in the field of conservation or natural resource management.

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Miles Gossett, B.S.

Graduate Student

Miles joined the lab as an undergraduate in fall 2015 and conducted a Senior Assignment research project that assessed changes in the mesic upland forest community in Bohm Woods State Nature Preserve over the past 40 years.  The site was originally surveyed as part of the Illinois Natural Areas Inventory in 1977.  Miles resampled the tree and shrub layers using the same methodology and tested for changes in the dominance and density of woody species.  He found an increase in abundance of shade-tolerant sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and an increase in abundance of the exotic shrub, bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii). Red oak (Quercus rubra) and White ash (Fraxinus americana) have declined. Miles presented his results as a poster at the annual conference of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences and completed his B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Environment in spring 2017. He started as a graduate student in fall 2017 and is currently completing a Master's project that extended the work he did for his Senior Assignment to other forest sites in the region. He hopes to find a career with in the field of ecology that will allow him to travel and do field work.

Photo of Miles Gossett
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