All Rights Reserved Benjamin A. Sikes 2015

Microbes in Action!

Research in our lab focuses on integrating microbial ecology into broader ecological theory and using it as a foundation for ecosystem management.


We are based in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Kansas as well as the Kansas Biological Survey​.

New Microbial Cultures

Research Areas

Sikes lab grant successes!

Our team has been very successful over the past year at netting some key grant support for students and postdocs. Tom McKenna's work with the Land Institute was funded for by the Perennial Agriculture Project for another year. Theo, Jim, and I received funds from the EPSCoR Research and Education Innovation Award to support our monolith work at Anderson County Prairie. Theo also just received a Weaver grant from the Nature Conservancy. Tanya and Jacob secured funding from the Mycological Society of America to study how enzymes and fungal communities in prairies respond to fire across soil horizons. Way to go everyone!

Az defends her thesis with honors and is off to the Field Museum!

Dr. Ashley (Az) Klymiuk sailed through her PhD defense and garnered honors! Az's thesis focuses on aquatic plants, fossil fungi, and the role that inundation plays in shaping the fungal structures present in extant plant roots. She has done an amazing job and bridging a massive gap that exists between extant plant-fungal ecology and paleobotany/mycology. She is now starting as the Paleobotany Collections Manager at the Field Museum in Chicago! Congratiulations Dr. Klymiuk!

Paige Hansen receives Self Graduating Senior Fellowship!

Our own Paige Hansen has been awarded a Self Graduating Senior Fellowship, the first year in which it has been offered. Paige's undergraduate work in the lab focused on quantifying how fungal abundance changes with fire history using digital droplet PCR. She has now started a Master's degree on the Microbiomes of Aquatic, Plant, and Soils (MAPS) project where she will concentrate on fungal community responses to land use and drought. Congrats, Paige!

Import volumes and biosecurity interventions shape the arrival rate of fungal pathogens

Our paper on biosecurity and fungal pathogens in New Zealand has been published in PLOS Biology! Our work shows differential rates of fungal pathogen arrivals among industries, with key dropoffs consistent with biosecurity interventions. Clear patterns from this 120+ year dataset. ze the need for effective risk assessment and containment.