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Dr. Dave Zanatta

Dr. Zanatta

About Dr. Dave Zanatta

Job Title: Associate Professor of Biology

Dr. Zanatta’s lab focuses on evolutionary and ecological questions in aquatic systems. Unfortunately, many of our aquatic systems are degraded to the point that this research has major implications for conservation.

Dr. Zanatta and his students primarily study freshwater mollusks in the Great Lakes region. Freshwater mollusks are among the most imperiled groups of organisms on Earth. This research involves going into the field, jumping into lakes and rivers and counting mollusks while taking tissue samples. The field-collected tissues are brought back to the lab to do genetic analyses and ultimately statistical analyses to understand how populations and species relate to each other. This is especially important for conservation because if we don’t know and understand the species and populations that we’re working on, we can’t easily conserve it or protect it.

Dr. Zanatta currently has several undergraduate students working in the lab doing a variety of very interesting, important and independent (once they’re trained by him or his graduate students) research. He is looking for highly motivated undergraduates who are looking to “dive” into aquatic research, while learning (cross-disciplinary and marketable) molecular techniques too.

Come see Dr. Zanatta in Brooks 156 or email him at

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