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Hope Lab

Hope Lab

Mailing Address
Kansas State University
Division of Biology
116 Ackert Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506

office 785-532-0155
lab 785-532-0157



Welcome to the Hope Laboratory at K-State!


We are an interdisciplinary lab group focused on understanding the evolutionary and ecological responses of biodiversity to environmental change. We incorporate theory and practice from the diverse fields of climate change, comparative phylogeography, conservation genomics, dynamics of hybridization, emerging infectious disease, host-parasite coevolution, natural history of mammals and their parasites, phylogenetic systematics, and speciation.

Our research has global scope, although there is a strong emphasis on northern hemisphere small mammal and parasite assemblages, conservation of Arctic biodiversity, and the dynamics surrounding ecotones between major biomes such as the boreal forest-tundra suture zone at northern high-latitudes and the Great Plains-eastern forest suture that bisects North America from west to east.

The techniques we use include molecular methods (Sanger sequencing, microsatellites, and genomic sequencing of DNA), morphometrics, stable isotope evaluation of diet, and modeling of potential environmental niche through time. Our research relies heavily on specimen archives held in natural history museum research collections. Through extensive and ongoing field sampling efforts we strive to practice ethical holistic collection of all associated specimen parts to maximize future research potential for the broader scientific community, for informing wildlife managers, and for both public and academic education. 

Please contact us with any questions.


We are an equal opportunity lab and actively strive towards anti-racism and all forms of discrimination against marginalized people. We also acknowledge that the lands on which Kansas State University thrives, as well as much of the land on which we conduct our research were previously the home of First Nations people, here in Kansas and across North America.


Photos: Top: The Hope Lab at Lake Scott, KS sampling small mammals in the summer of 2020; Middle: A high density site in coastal scrub of southernmost Texas, vicinity of Brownsville, in spring 2020 (2 days before pandemic declaration); Bottom: Hope Lab members preparing mammal study skins at Lovewell Reservoir, KS, in summer of 2020.


Hope Lab

Texas catch

study skinning

Hope Lab News

3 February 2022
Tommy Herrera presents at Kansas Natural Resources Conference.

Tommy H gave a great summary of our field surveys around Kansas in the last couple years, presenting genetic results that demonstrate the distribution of intra-specific lineages and putting Kansas mammals in a much broader perspective! Check out his presentation here.

3 February 2022
Andrew Hope presents at Kansas Natural Resources Conference.

I provided a summary of our ongoing deer hybridization and Chronic Wasting Disease research within Kansas to the broader research and management community for the state. See the slides here.

7 January 2022
New paper in Frontiers in Conservation Genomics!

My colleague Jennifer Frey and I provided a recent perspective on inferring infra-specific taxonomic status based on genomic data and discussed some of the pitfalls and how it can relate to consequential management considerations. See the contribution here

2 January 2022
New paper in Evolutionary Applications!

This research is a first assessment of hybridization between mule deer and white-tailed deer in Kansas using genomic data. We are in the process of greatly expanding sampling across the state in collaboration with the KDWP. Check out the paper here.

1 December 2021
Jacob Grimes presents his first Research Poster!

Jacob is getting a headstart on research experience through the K-State Exploring Scientific Research CAT Comunity program. He presented during the annual UG poster forum on bog-lemming phylogeographic history.

8 November 2021
Congratulations to Master Tommy Galfano!

Tommy successfully defended his MS thesis on the phylogenomics of least shrews. He will be moving on to a Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. David Coltman at Western Ontario. Good luck Tommy!

16 October 2021
Congratulations to Tommy Herrera on Best Presentation at CPSM 21!

Tommy H was awarded the best MS research talk at the Central Plains Society of Mammlogists meeting for his research on comparative phylogeography of Great Plains mammals.

15 July 2021
New grant to study Chronic Wasting Disease in Kansas deer

A recent award from the USDA APHIS will fund landscape genomic investigations of mule and white-tailed deer in addition to prion gene susceptibility analyses of wild herds to assess regional resistance to CWD.

25 May 2021
Congratulations to Master Ben Wiens!

Ben successfully defended his MS thesis on the Conservation genomics of shrews on St. Paul Island. He will be moving on to a Ph.D. in the lab of Dr. Jocie Colella at the KU Biodiversity Institute. Good luck Ben!

25 May 2021
Congratulations to graduating undergraduate students!

We bid farewell to three long-standing members of the Hope Lab as they progress in their professional careers. Kailey Meacham is headed to California to study pikas on Mt. Shasta. Mary Schmidt is continuing on to study at Ohio State University. Litsa Wooten will begin a new job at the K-State Vet Med research institute.

18 May 2021
Multiple graduate student awards from the American Society of Mammalogists!

Ben Wiens was awarded the prestigious Anna M. Jackson award and will present in the student plenary session at ASM 21; Tommy Herrera was awarded an honorable mention for the undergraduate student honorarium; Molly Jones was awarded a Grants-In-Aid of Research award!

24 March 2021
New paper published in Ecosphere!

Our team, including undergraduate Sabrina Gragg recently assessed stable isotopic signatures of dietary change across small mammals from the Konza LTER site to demonstrate turnover in consumer roles with woody encroachment. See paper here.

22 March 2021
New paper released in Biodiversity and Conservation!

Dr. Fraser Combe led this review paper with our collaborative team to summarize the extent of knoweldge of faunas of Bering Sea Islands. Find paper here.

30 October 2020
New paper released in Encyclopedia of the Worlds Biomes

This review chapter summarizes the biology of Arctic Tundra Mammals, with an emphasis on rise and fall of species and habitats through time. See article here.

17 October 2020
Ben Wiens awarded Best Research Talk at Central Plains Society of Mammalogists meeting

Ben spoke about his conservation genomics work on shrews of St. Paul Island, AK.

23 April 2020
Tommy Herrera awarded K-State Division of Biology undergraduate award

A recent recipient of the Most Promising Student award from the Division for continued research on small mammal evolutionary responses to anthropogenic environmental change. Well done Tommy!

30 March 2020
Tommy Herrera awarded Developing Scholars Program award

A recent recipient of the Coffman Excellence in Research Award for the K-state DSP program for investigating the comparative phylogeographic histories of Manitoba mammals based on our field collections from last summer. Congrats Tommy!

14 March 2020
Successful specimen sampling trip to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas

Spring Break 2020 included a rare opportunity to sample small mammals and their parasites in southernmost Texas. A crew of graduate and undergraduate students sampled at three sites along the Rio Grande corridor and obtained samples from a high diversity of small mammals, including our target species Cryptotis parvus berlandieri. Returned home to the initial COVID-19 shutdown! Surreal.

21 January 2020
New paper released in Ecology

The team led by Lindsey Bruckerhoff and Keith Gido assessed the response of floral and faunal communities of Konza priaire (including small mammals!) to ungoing climate and habitat changes. See paper here.

9 January 2020
New MS Student Molly Jones

Molly has joined us from her recently completed undergraduate studies at Purdue. She will be studying hybridization of shrews!

18 November 2019
New Paper in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society

We recently updated systematic relationships within North American pygmy shrews, and performed a comparative analyses indicating concordant evolution among multiple forest mammals. See link here

14 August 2019
Manitoba mammal sampling a success!

Just back from a month of field sampling of small mammals and parasites through southern Manitoba across the prairie to forest ecotone. Thanks to Dr. Bob Wrigley (Curator Emeritus, The Manitoba Museum) for all the help!

30 June 2019
Mary presents poster at the ASM meetings in Washington DC!

Mary Schmidt gives her first poster presentation at the 99th meeting of the American Society of Mammmalogsts in DC, Title: "What are the evolutionary origins of Kansas mammals? Community assembly dynamics through the Great Plains".

30 June 2019
Kailey presents poster at the ASM meetings in Washington DC!

Kailey Meacham gives her first poster presentation at the 99th meeting of the American Society of Mammmalogsts in DC, Title: "Spatiotemporal prevalence of parasites with mammal community turnover and woody encroachment in the Great Plains".

28 June 2019
Hope Lab heads to Washington, DC, for ASM #99!

Going to be a busy meeting for the centennial of the American Society of Mammalogists! Check out tweets @MammalMeetings

13 April 2019
Tommy Herrera awarded Undergraduate Research Grant!

Tommy was recently awarded a K-State Developing Scholars Program research grant and opportunity to do directed research for the next year in the Hope Lab. Congrats Tommy!

9 April 2019
New Paper in Journal of Mammalogy

Multiple colleagues recently published an article highlighting the importance of building integrated research archives of wildlife specimens and their associated parasites. The Supplement constitutes a field methods guide. Check it out here.

20 March 2019
New MS Student Tommy Galfano

Tommy Galfano has accepted an offer into the MS program at K-state. He is currently finishing his UG degree at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque while also doing research in the lab of Dr. Joe Cook. Thesis Project Pending...

11 March 2019
New MS Student Ben Wiens

Ben Wiens from Central Kansas has joined the lab to pursue a MS degree beginning in Fall 2019. Thesis project pending...

4 March 2019
New Post-doctoral Researcher Fraser Combe

Dr. Fraser Combe recently arrived in Manhattan, KS, from Manchester Metropolitan University in England. He will be working on shrew systematics, evolutionary history, and small mammal conservation.

25 February 2019
New Paper in Encyclopedia of the World's Biomes

"Arctic Tundra Mammals" was recently posted online as part of Elseviers reference module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences on ScienceDirect. Check it out here.

14 February 2019
New Paper in Acta Parasitologica

Recent research article describes a method for rapid fixation of shrew parasites in the field. Check it out here.

28 November 2018
Post-Doc Position Available in the Hope Lab!

I am currently seeking a Post-Doctoral Fellow for the Hope Lab. The position will be open until filled and will be a one year appointment with potential for renewal.

25-29 June 2018
American Society of Mammalogists 99th Annual Meeting at K-State

ASM meeting 2018 was a success! Campus and Union were a great venue. High profile mammal science presented. Check out tweets @asmwildcat

28 June 2018
Rodent trophic ecology poster at ASM

Bia Gragg presented her undergraduate research at the ASM meetings. Poster title "Isotopic trophic niche dynamics of small mammal communities reveal spatiotemporal complexity across an experimental prairie woodland mosaic." Trophic partitioning by small mammals on Konza Priaire is contingent on time of year, year of study, experimental treatment, and community. Will be good to see a third year of data during the current drought.

28 June 2018
Mammalian parasitic nematodes of Konza Prairie poster at ASM

Dr. Agustin Jimenez presented collaborative research on parasite faunas recovered from small mammals of Konza: "Nematode assemblages provide a first glimpse of mammal-helminth community dynamics within the central Great Plains." New locality records and possibly two new species (Trichuris spp.; Vexillata n. sp.).

25 June 2018
ASM Holistic Specimen Collection Workshop

Co-organized by Hope Lab and Galbreath Lab, we brought a great team of expert parasitologists (Ralph Eckerlin, Stephen Greiman, Agustin Jimenez) to instruct this workshop for 30 ASM members, teaching mammalogists how to make the most of their field specimens, including collection, preservation, and identification of major ecto- and endo-parasite groups. Thanks to K-State Vet Medicine (Dryden and Herrin Labs) for hosting the venue.