P. regilla silhouette
Dr. Michael Benard




Lab Personnel


Prospective Students

2009 Photos

2010 Photos

2011 Photos

2012 Photos


Ecology & Evolution Journal Club


Undergraduate researchers in my laboratory have the opportunity to work on research projects investigating ecology, evolution, and conservation biology. During the regular academic year (i.e., Fall and Spring semesters), these projects include analyzing long-term data sets, measuring specimens for comparative studies, and working with live vertebrates and invertebrates. I also mentor students through summer fellowships offered through the CWRU Biology Department ( Summer Program in Undergraduate Research (SPUR)) and the Support of Undergraduate Research & Creative Endeavors(SOURCE) office, including SOURCE SURES , and P-SURG. Students working in my lab during the summer have more opportunities to be involved in active outdoor field research.

If you are interested in working in my laboratory, send me an email to inquire if there are openings. Be sure to specify why you are interested in working with me.

Graduate Students:

Overview: I am interested in recruiting both masters and doctoral students who would like to conduct research in ecology or evolutionary biology. While most of my research is on amphibians, I would be happy to advise students interested in working on different organisms.

Research Atmosphere: One of the great strengths of the Department of Biology at Case Western Reserve University is the diversity of research taking place within the department. Thus, graduates from CWRU will not only have strength in their specific research focus, but will also have a broad view of major questions and research approaches in biology. Additionally, students will interact with other CWRU faculty interested in ecology (David Burke, Jean Burns, Joe Koonce, Robin Snyder), evolution (Cynthia Beall, Darin Croft, Scott Simpson, Pete Zimmerman), conservation biology (Pam Dennis), and animal behavior (Mark Willis, Kristen Lukas). Case Western Reserve University is also developing university-wide initiatives in evolutionary biology (Institute for the Study of Origins) and sustainability (Institute for Sustainability) that provide CWRU graduate students with the opportunity to collaborate and network with researchers in a diverse range of fields. Nearby institutions also can provide valuable intellectual and logistical support to graduate students. These include the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Holden Arboretum.

Field Sites and research infrastructure: My graduate students have the opportunity to conduct their research at any of the field sites where I have ongoing research. These include the Quail Ridge and Mclaughlin reserves in California, and the E.S. George Reserve in Michigan. Additionally, I am developing research programs at several local sites in Ohio, including the University Farm, Cleveland Metroparks and the Holden Arboretum. I am also happy to support students who would like to conduct research at other field sites. Beyond access to outstanding fieldsites, research infrastructure available to my graduate students includes animal rooms, laboratory space, a large array of mesocosms, and field equipment. There are also several regional conservation organizations active around Cleveland in in Northeast Ohio (e.g., Green City Blue Lake, Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership for Biodiversity ). Students interested in applying their research directly to conservation have the opportunity to interact with these and other organizations.

Applying: If you are interested in applying to work with me for graduate school, you should do two things. First, read over the information on graduate school in the Department of Biology. Second, send me an email to introduce yourself. Attach a copy of your CV, and be sure to let me know why you are interested in working with me, and what type of research you are interested in doing.

Life in Cleveland: Cleveland is a vibrant and fun city. There are a couple mainstream professional sports teams (e.g., Cleveland Cavaliers,Cleveland Indians Cleveland Browns), as well as several less well known sports with leagues that you can participate in (e.g., Roller Derby, Ultimate Frisbee). Those interested in visual art can check out the Cleveland Museum of Art or the Museum of Contemporary Art. There is a wide range of music in Cleveland, including the Cleveland Orchestra, which is one of the most respected Orchestras in the US. The University Circle area has a concentration of these sites; CWRU, the Cleveland Orchestra, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cleveland Botanical Garden are all within a 15-minute walk of one another. There are also several fun and vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the University Circle area; these are great places to live near or to go to for dining and entertainment (e.g., Coventry, Little Italy, Cedar and Fairmount, Cedar and Lee). For more information on dining, nightlife, and other entertainment, take a look at the Cleveland Scene or Cleveland.com.