Mission statement

In the Integrative Ecology Lab at the UT-Chattanooga, we investigate how organisms respond to human-driven environmental change. We use insects as our model species to explore developmental responses and changes in biodiversity in urban environments.

Diversity statement

The recent and ongoing deaths of Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement has once again brought to the forefront that Black Lives still do not matter. Black students and professionals not only must continue to manage their academic pursuits but must do so under the emotional and psychological strain of fighting and advocating for their basic human rights. Despite being a discipline that promotes and studies biodiversity as a measure of ecosystem health, ecology is woefully lacking in diversity. Making meaningful change towards racial equity and inclusion calls for recognizing and dismantling systemic racism. As a black ecologist, I stand in solidarity with the BLACK LIVES MOVEMENT and strongly denounce the senseless institutionalized violence against black people.

To this day, I still believe that ecology, and science more broadly, can only be a vehicle for change, creativity and innovation when it reflects the diversity of the society it serves. To that end, I am recommitting myself to mentoring BIPOC students, teachers and visiting scholars. I will continue to advocate for diversity measures within the BGE department, and update my teaching materials to reflect the works of BIPOC scientists.

I am tired and heartbroken but also determined to work towards a more just and diverse society.


What’s new?

July 2020

I collaborated with the Chattanooga Public Library on developing a preschool education video about ants. It was such a joy! Click the link to check it out.

September 2019

Congratulations to recent UTC alum, Lucas Mitchell for his acceptance into the Peace Corps. He’ll be serving in Tanzania over the next 2 – 3 years. Lucas’ project on the effects of habitat fragmentation on ant communities will pave the way for future projects in the Integrative Ecology lab. I’m excited to see Lucas’ future success!

Lucas Mitchell 2019

August 2019

Excited to share the new logo for the Integrative Ecology lab at UT-Chattanooga! I’m particularly proud because it was designed by a senior graphic design student in the UTC’s Art Department. Now that the lab is getting involved in more community outreach, it’ll be nice to have a logo that represents what we do!


Congratulations to Itzel Guzman-Hernandez for a successful REU experience in Puerto Rico. Itzel studied mosquito diversity in tropical habitats and reaffirmed her love for insect ecology! To learn more about the REU program at the University of Puerto Rico, click here!

Itzel summer REU Puerto Rico

July 2019

The local news station interviewed me about the impacts of warming conditions on insects and spiders! Check out the video below:

June 2019

Our paper on bee wing morphology in urban habitats is now available! We explored whether bees were adapting how they fly in urban environments. Click here to learn more about the study!

April 2019

Congratulations to Itzel Guzman-Hernandez for successfully defending her honors thesis on oil dietary preference urban ants. Itzel will be spending the upcoming summer on a REU fellowship in Puerto Rico!

The Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science department was voted best department in the College of Arts and Sciences at UTC. I truly enjoy working with such kind and hardworking colleagues! Our department newsletter is now available. Check out the latest here on faculty and student achievements!

August 2018

The Integrative Ecology Lab participated in a symposium presented by the Black Ecologists section at the Ecological Society of America conference in New Orleans. It was a wonderful experience that serves as a reminder that representation matters. #blackecologists #blackecologistsmatter #ESA2018

June 2018

Urban buzz on SciStarter

We teamed up with SciStarter to launch a new citizen science initiative to explore the antimicrobial defenses in cicadas! Watch the video here to learn how you can participate!

May 2018

It was a busy and productive year for the Integrative Ecology lab group! Hao Brooks successfully defended his honors thesis, “Changes in ant biodiversity across an urban gradient.” Hannah Hightower won second place in the Research Dialogues undergraduate lightning talk competition. Click here to see her presentation! Itzel Hernandez-Guzman presented her ant diet research and will continue her work in the lab as an honors thesis. Congratulations to all students!!

Integrative ecology 2018

April 2018 

The Ant Ecology group presented their research along with art students at the Apothecary to an amazing turnout of university and community members. To read more about the interdisciplinary experience, click here for the article!

Ant ecology class

March 2018

Excited to announce an opening for a Master’s student in the Beasley Lab starting Fall 2018! If you’re interested in ants and fungi (or maybe just curious), please apply!

February 2018

Our paper “Urbanization disrupts latitude-size rule in 17-year cicadas” is now available online and open access! Click here to check it out!

Fig1M. septendecim

January – May 2018

Ant Ecology

I’m teaching an undergraduate, research-based course called Ant Ecology for the spring 2018 semester. Students will develop independent research featuring various aspects of ant ecology. This course is part of an exciting collaboration with Astri Snodgrass from the Art department. Science and art students will learn the importance of intentional observation in developing their research. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram to see how we’re doing!

Course is supported by a High-Impact Practices Development Grant from the UTC Walker Center for Teaching and Learning.

July 2017

Invisible pathogens

I took part in a fun radio story with the National Science Foundation called the Rules of Life where I discuss my research with ants and fungi. Click here to hear the story!

May 2017

Brood VI periodical cicadas are currently emerging across the Carolinas and parts of Georgia. The Beasley Lab is working with citizen scientists to collect as many individuals as possible to understand how environmental changes are impacting cicada population health. Click here to learn more about how you can participate in the Urban Buzz citizen science project!

April 2017

The Beasley Lab was featured in an interview with WUTC. Click here to hear what we have to say about undergraduate mentoring and ant research at UTC!