Kirsten E. Nicholson
Photo of Kirsten NicholsAssociate Professor
Biology
Brooks Hall 138 (Office)
Brooks Hall 147, 174 (Lab)
989-774-3758
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​​Education
  • B.S., University of Memphis, 1991
  • M.S., Auburn University, 1995
  • Ph.D., University of Miami, 2001
  • Postdoc, Washington University in St. Louis, 2001-2006
Teaching Areas
General Zoology, Phylogenetics, Introduction to Evolution, Introduction to Museums
Research Fields
Phylogenetics and evolution, herpetology, museum studies
Current Research Projects
I hold a dual appointment that reflects two aspects of my work and research: herpetological phylogenetics and evolution, and museum studies/theory.  Most of the research in my lab involves reptiles and amphibians. The bulk of my research program involves elucidating the phylogenetic relationships among lizards of the genus Anolis, as well as using the resultant phylogenies to test evolutionary hypotheses concerning things such as biogeography and the evolution of particular traits (e.g., hemipenes, toe morphology, dewlaps). Student projects are open and may involve other topics such as chytrid fungus infection of Michigan amphibians. Within the museum most of my work is of a curatorial sort, but I am very interested in museum philosophy and best methods and practices for care and maintenance. I conduct research projects within the museum to investigate the efficacy of some practices or to develop new methods that may be used by other museums, such as developing a new method for creating skeletons from fluid fixed and preserved specimens, and testing mold growth within polyethylene bags used in storage.
Selected Publications
  • Nicholson, K.E. and D.M. Smith.  In press.  The utility of chicken broth in the preparation of skeletons from fresh and fluid preserved verebrate specimens.  Collections Forum. 
  • Nicholson, K.E., L. Harmon, and J.B. Losos.  2007.  Evolution of dewlap morphology in Caribbean Anolis lizards. PLoS ONE 2:e274. 
  • Barros, T.R., L.F. Esqueda, A. Mijares-Urrutia, and K.E. Nicholson.  2007.  The lost link rediscovered:  variation and distribution of Norops annectens (Squamata: Polychrotidae).  Tropical Zoology 20:41-
  • 53. 
  • Nicholson, K.E., A. Mijares-Urrutia , A. Larson.  2006.  Molecular phylogenetics of the Anolis onca series:  a case history in retrograde evolution revisited.  Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 306B:450-459
  • Losos, J.B., R.E. Glor, J.J. Kolbe, and Kirsten E. Nicholson.  2006.  Adaptation, Speciation, and Convergence: a hierarchical analysis of adaptive radiation in Caribbean Anolis lizards.  Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 93:24-33. 
  • Nicholson, K.E., R.E. Glor, J.J. Kolbe, A. Larson, S. Blair Hedges, and J.B. Losos.  2005.  Mainland colonization by island lizards.  Journal of Biogeography 32:1-10.