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Principal Investigator

Edward D. Burress, Ph.D.

Graduate Students

Luis M. Gonzalez Arocho, Ph.D. student

Luis joined the Burress Lab in Fall 2023 as a University of Alabama McNair Fellow. Luis recently finished his M.Sc. degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus, where he was advised by Alberto Puente Rolón. His interests include trophic and microhabitat specialization and its relationship with performance and phenotypic adaptations. In the Burress Lab, Luis plans to study bi-phasic lungless salamanders, specifically their diet, prey selection, and how they intersect with feeding/microhabitat performance.

Dartagnan G. Mullins, Ph.D. student

Dartagnan joined the Burress Lab in Fall 2023, as a recipient of the Aquatic Enhancement Assistantship. Dartagnan recently finished his B.Sc. degree at the University North Carolina - Asheville, where he was advised by Graham Reynolds. Dartagnan's interests include evolutionary ecology, functional morphology, and genetics. In the Burress Lab, Dartagnan plans to study lungless salamanders in the Appalachian Mountain region, specifically the macroevolutionary patterns of feeding and locomotor morphology as well as feeding performance across the water-land barrier.

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Madeline "Maddy" Dissinger, M.Sc. student

Maddy joined the lab in Fall 2023 as part of the Accelerated Master's Program (AMP). As such, she will begin working towards her M.Sc. early. In the Burress Lab, Maddy plans to study the performance and functional consequences of durophagy (eating hard-shelled prey) in freshwater pufferfishes. Specifically, she is interested in how snail shell shape influences feeding performance.

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Maria Alves Napolitani, Visiting Scholar

Maria will join the Burress Lab in Spring 2024 as a Visiting Scholar. Maria recently finished her bachelor's degree at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her interests include Ecological Genetics and Genomics, Evolutionary Ecology, and Quantitative Genetics. In the Burress Lab, Maria plans to study convergent ecomorphs in two neotropical adaptive radiations of cichlid fishes, specifically how stable isotopes can elucidate diet signatures and habitat preferences of these convergent and sympatric species.


Undergraduate Students

Sydney Higgenbottom, Senior, Marine Biology

Sydney joined the lab in Summer 2023 after returning from studying abroad at James Cook University, Australia. Sydney is a rising senior at the University of Alabama, and plans to pursue a Master's degree in Marine Biology. In the Burress Lab, Sydney is invovled with animal care as well as studying the functional morphology of 'living fossil' freshwater fishes.

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Macy Schelp, Junior, Pre-Med

Macy joined the lab in Fall 2023. Macy is studying how the mechanical trade-off between the transmission of velocity versus force constrains the diversity of the surrounding anatomical system. As a focal study group, Macy is using fishes known as 'darters' (Percidae).


Michael Bergeron, Junior, Pre-Vet

Michael joined the lab in Fall 2022. Michael is studying the decoupling of the oral and pharyngeal jaws in cichlid fishes and how it varies along the velocity-force trade-off.

Sofia Jones Rivera, Freshmen, Pre-Med

Sofia joined the lab in Spring 2024. Sofia is helping with the study of fish anatomy and functional morphology.

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