Lab News

May 2022
-The 2022 field season in Ecuador is underway! Here are some photo highlights from the team’s first couple of weeks.

May 2022
Congratulations to Dr. Maggie Mamantov on an excellent exit seminar and successful defense! It’s been wonderful watching Maggie learn and grow on this PhD journey, and we’re excited to see what’s next!

April 2022
-For their research, Morgan received a grant from the American Philosophical Society (Lewis & Clark Fund for Exploratory Research) and Anchal received funding from the UTK Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department. Congratulations, team!

February 2022
-Anchal received a 2022 Summer Graduate Research Assistantship from the UTK Faculty Senate Research Council and the Office of Research, Innovation & Economic Development to support work on fall armyworm. Way to go, Anchal!

September 2021
-Undergraduate students Drew Tucker and Tim Meidl presented their summer research at the UTK Discovery Day.

August 2021
-The Sheldon Lab enjoyed a camping trip to the EEB Field Station in the Smokies to celebrate the end of the field season. The lab spent time hiking, swimming, cooking meals, and biologizing!

April 2021
-Morgan and Kimberly took an overnight trip to the mountains to work with salamanders.

April 2021
-Welcome to Dr. Nigel Andrew, a visiting Fulbright Scholar from University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia. We’re thrilled to have Nigel in town for the next five months to work on dung beetle projects!

Dr. Nigel Andrew trapping for dung beetles in East Tennessee

March 2021
-Congratulations to lab undergrad alum Will Kirkpatrick on his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship! Will is now a graduate student in Sarah DuRant’s lab at Arkansas. He is using the Eastern Bluebird to understand how temperature variation affects parental care and offspring phenotype. So happy for you Will!

Will with an Eastern Bluebird.

August 2020
-Grad student Maggie Mamantov was featured in Citizen Times in an article about her work with dung beetles in the Smokies. You can check out the article, titled Word from the Smokies: The tiny beetle who acts as janitor and farmer to our forests here.

July 2020
-Congratulations to Claire on her wonderful Masters seminar and thesis defense! We wish her all the best as she starts a PhD program at CU Boulder. We look forward to seeing where her path takes her!

February 2020
-Congratulations to Anchal and Kimberly on funding from the Student/Faculty Research Award to support work on fall armyworm!

January 2020
-Congratulations to postdoc Luis, who received a prestigious JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the University of Tokyo!

-Morgan and Amanda presented at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology in Austin, TX.

December 2019
-Congratulations to undergraduate Morgan Fleming on the successful defense of her Honors Thesis and her graduation (summa cum laude)!

September 2019
-Kimberly’s new review article on impacts of climate change in the tropics was featured in the UT news and on the Office of Research and Engagement website.

August 2019
-Kimberly was an invited participant in the workshop Food System Impacts of Pests & Pathogens in a Changing Climate at the Aspen Institute in Colorado. The workshop brought together scientists from around the world to generate new fields of empirical research on methods and societal impacts of pests and pathogens in a changing world.

Participants in the workshop “Impacts of Pests and Pathogens in a Changing Climate” at the Aspen Institute




-The Sheldon Lab attended the Ecological Society of America meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, and four team members presented for the first time at a national meeting!

Undergrads Will Kirkpatrick and Morgan Fleming presenting their posters at ESA, their first national meeting!





June 2019
-Kimberly and new postdoc Ethan Linck traveled to Ecuador for dung beetle work in the Andes and Amazon. Highlights of the trip included meeting the Vice President of Ecuador and seeing a particularly beautiful ambassador of the Amazon, a two-toed sloth. Ethan wrote a nice twitter thread about the trip.

Two-toed sloth through a spotting scope. Shiripuno River, Ecuadorean Amazon.

Kimberly with Otto Sonnenholzner, Vice President of Ecuador




-Also in June, Kimberly and her collaborator Caleb Hickman from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) ran the second year of their “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) High School Summer Research Program” in Cherokee, NC. This year, students met with many biologists and interns to learn about scienctific research and monitoring programs. As examples, students visited with a bat biologist, met with National Park rangers to learn about natural history, helped with forestry fieldwork in the Waynesville Watershed, went to Jenkins Creek to discuss elk biology and management, visited genetics and chemistry labs at Western Carolina University, helped with mussel field work and learned about the use of aquatic macroinvertebrates as indices of water quality. Many thanks to Sheldon Lab postdoc Amanda Carter and EBCI Conservation Outreach Coordinator Maria Dunlavey for helping to organize and coordinate this year’s program. To learn more about the program by reading this article in Higher Ground, the UTK Alumni magazine or by visiting the UTK Office of Community Engagement & Outreach website.


-Sheldon team members received several grants for summer research and travel. Maggie received a research grant from EEB, Claire was funded by Sigma Xi, and Morgan received a travel grant to attend a national meeting in August. Way to go, team!

May 2019
The 2019 EEB Awards Ceremony was held on May 11 and recognized outstanding efforts by students and staff in the department. Several members of the Sheldon Lab were highlighted for recent fellowships and grants. In addition, two folks in the lab won undergraduate awards:
Will was awarded the EEB Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher for 2019!
Morgan won the EEB Outsanding Undergraduate Research Symposium award!

Morgan accepting her award.

Will accepting his award.

April 2019
Graduate student Claire Winfrey received a 2019 NSF GRFP! Congratulations, Claire!

Claire snagged a grant from the Coleopterists Society!
Maggie successfully defended her research proposal and has advanced to candidacy!
The Sheldon Lab will welcome our newest postdoc, Dr. Ethan B. Linck in June 2019!
Big congrats to undergraduates Morgan Fleming and Anna Raney who both received Summer Undergraduate Research Internships to carry out independent projects in the lab!

Undergrad Morgan Fleming presented her research at the UTK EUReCA. Morgan received an Award of Excellence from the College of Arts and Sciences!

Undergrad Will Kirkpatrick presented a poster at the UTK EUReCA event based on his Undergraduate Research Grant.

March 2019
So proud of undergrad Will Kirkpatrick who was accepted to the University of Arkansas PhD program in Biology and awarded a prestigious UofA Doctoral Academy Fellowship! We will miss you, Will, but look forward to watching you grow as a researcher.

Undergrad Will Kirkpatrick with his Arkansas gear


During the Nonprofit Day for the Office of Community Engagement and Outreach, the Sheldon Lab presented a poster on our Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians High School Research Program. The NonProfit Day event was designed to showcase the ways that nonprofits and government can partner with UT.

Undergrad Will presenting during part of the UT Nonprofit Day poster session.

October 2018
Kimberly created and launched the 1st Annual Rocky Top Bioblitz with help from Will Kuhn from Discover Life in America (DLiA) and Mike McKinney from UT Earth and Planetary Sciences. In total, 175 students, faculty, staff, and members of the public participated and added observations to our iNaturalist page. Participants represented a number of UT departments, including Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Earth & Planetary Sciences, Animal Science, Business, Political Science, Nursing, and Sociology! Participants made 968 observations of 267 species. The most observed species included Eastern Gray Squirrel, Common Pill Woodlouse, and American Beautyberry. Students from Kimberly’s Global Change Ecology course (EEB 419) who participated in the Bioblitz were featured on the 6pm local news!

Will Kuhn (right) from DLiA at the Rocky Top Bioblitz tent.

Students from Kimberly’s Global Change Ecology course checking out a salamander during the 1st Annual Rocky Top Bioblitz.

September 2018
The Sheldon Lab has a new postdoc; welcome to Dr. Luis Carrasco Tornero!

August 2018
We’re thrilled that Anchal Padukone has joined the lab as a PhD student!

July 2018
Kimberly and her collaborator Caleb Hickman from the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians ran the first year of their “Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) High School Summer Research Program” in Cherokee, NC! Four students took part in the program, which provided an authentic research experience complete with coding exercises to analyze data and a final presentation to the EBCI Office of Fisheries & Wildlife Management. Many thanks to Kimberly’s collaborator Caleb, to our funding sources — the Cherokee Preservation Foundation and the UTK Office of Community Engagement & Outreach — and to Sheldon Lab members who helped with the effort, including postdoc Amanda Carter, grad student Maggie Mamantov, and undergrads Will Kirkpatrick and Shelby Collins. The first year of the program was featured on both the UTK Office of Community Engagement & Outreach website and as an article in Higher Ground, the UTK Alumni magazine.

May 2018

Undergrad Will Kirkpatrick received a grant to carry out an independent summer project. Way to go, Will!


Undergrad Will Kirkpatrick presenting his first poster based on a bird study he completed in the Sheldon Lab

April 2018
Will Kirkpatrick, an undergrad in the Sheldon Lab, presented his first poster at two different events: the UTK EUReCA event and the EEB Undergraduate Research Symposium. Great work, Will!

Kimberly and collaborator Caleb Hickman of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians received funding from the UT Community Engagement Incentives Grant and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation to run their new Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) High School Summer Research Program! Many thanks to these agencies for supporting our new program.

Amanda Carter, a postdoc researcher in the Sheldon Lab, was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology to integrate plasticity and maternal effects in dung beetles to understand impacts of increased temperature variation! Congratulations, Amanda!

Congratulations to Maggie for receiving an Honorable Mention for her NSF GRFP proposal!

March 2018
Congrats to Will for receiving his first research grant! He was awarded funding from the UTK Office of Undergraduate Research to carry out a field project this summer. Way to go, Will!

December 2017
The Sheldon Lab has a new postdoc; welcome to Dr. Amanda Wilson Carter!

May 2017
Claire received a 2-year fellowship from the PEER Program, an NIH funded initiative at UTK. Congratulations, Claire!

Graduate Student Senate awards banquet. L to R: Chloe Lash, Maggie Mamantov, Chancellor Davenport, Kimberly Sheldon, Alannie-Grace Grant.

April 2017
Maggie received a Graduate Student Senate Award for excellence in research! The award was given to graduate students who have received national or international recognition in their field and show professional promise in their area of research. Congratulations, Maggie!

March 2017
We have a new grad student joining the lab this fall! Welcome to Claire Winfrey!

Maggie received a research grant from the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center (AHSLC) to monitor invasive dung beetles in the Smokies! This is a wonderful opportunity for the lab to partner with the AHSLC to conduct research and disseminate information to the public through educational displays. Way to go, Maggie!

February 2017
Maggie and Kimberly received a Student/Faculty Research Award from the UTK Graduate School to support research on biological invasions!

Kimberly was featured in Entomology Today for her work on climate and thermal limits in beetles.

January 2017
Maggie received a Sigma Xi grant to help fund her work on biological invasions! Congratulations, Maggie!

October 2016
-Kimberly received a Haines-Morris grant along with Jen Schweitzer (EEB) and Sally Horn (Geography) to host a special seminar series at UT called ‘Women, Ecology, and Conservation in a Changing World’. Speakers will be visiting campus during Spring 2017. Stay tuned for more details!

-Kimberly was a participant in a working group at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) aimed at understanding the physics of spider ballooning. The team included mathematicians and biologists from around the country.

Members of the NIMBioS working group. L to R: Iordanka Panayotova, Laura Miller, Angela Chuang, Kimberly Sheldon, Longhua Zhao

September 2016
We’re excited that Atira Sherrod has joined the lab as an undergraduate researcher!

August 2016
We’re excited that Maggie Mamantov has joined the lab as a PhD student!

July 2015
Kimberly has accepted a faculty position in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville! Interested in joining the lab? Please contact me.

December 2013
Kimberly is heading to Wyoming in January to begin a postdoctoral fellowship with mentors Michael Dillon (University of Wyoming) and Van Savage (UCLA)!

Our paper on using ongoing global changes to gain insight into ecological and evolutionary processes (Hille Ris Lambers et al. 2013) was chosen for the Editor’s Choice section in Oikos.

September 2013
Kimberly’s work with dung beetles is helping politicians ‘reach across the aisle’ as highlighted in The Salt Lake Tribune!

Phanaeus vindexJanuary 2012
Our article examining how competition and climate change generate no-analog communities and extinction (Urban et al. 2012) was featured on a number of websites, including LiveScience, Bloomberg News, and BusinessWeek.

November 2011
Our work on the impacts of climate change on tropical and temperate communities (Sheldon et al. 2011) was selected for the Editors’ Choice section of Science Magazine (25 November 2011:1033).

May 2008
A photo Kimberly took of a Chrysomelid from Ecuador was featured on a number of websites highlighting our PNAS article (Deutsch et al. 2008). As examples, the photo was featured on Scientific American, ABC News Australia, and the University of Washington News.f

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