Erell Institute

education through research

Our Mission

We aim to develop the curiosity and creativity of the next generation of scientists in behavioral ecology. To do this we organize research experiences that enable people from all backgrounds to take part in the process of science. Each experience brings a team of diverse researchers together to develop a question, work together to collect and analyze data that will answer their question, and present their answers to the scientific community as well as the general public. 


Mexico Collaboration

Doug and Maria spent 8 days in Toluca, Mexico to visit the Ecology & Behavior Lab. We gave seminars, discussed possible lab projects, and visited possible field sites for future projects. Our stay culminated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their newly renovated lab, coupled with a celebration for the successful Master’s defense of Ingrid Morales Méndez, entitled “Efecto de la temperatura en el desempeño de la lagartija Aspidoscelis costatus costatus frente a tareas cognitivas de diferente complejidad” (“Effect of temperature on the performance of the lizard Aspidoscelis costatus costatus in cognitive tasks of different complexity”). 


Mia Phillips, Erell Institute Scientific Advisory Board member, has completed her PhD from Dartmouth College, Department of Biological Sciences, Ecology, Evolution, Environment and Society Program (EEES), defending her thesis on vibrational communication in beetles on 4 June 2024, entitled “It's a Vibe: Exploring the Roles of Physiology and Phylogeny in Novel Signal Evolution"

Recent Presentations

Risky business: Decisions in the fear landscape

Doug Eifler

Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas

April 10th, 2024

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) in 

Toluca, Mexico

May 21st, 2024

I like to move it, move it: Movement ecology of lizards

Maria Eifler

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM) in

Toluca, Mexico

May 27th, 2024

Wetlands Mammals in Kansas

Maria Eifler

Lawrence, KS

Baker Wetlands Discover Center

May 9th, 2024

Reptiles and Amphibians of Kansas

Doug Eifler

Lawrence, KS

Baker Wetlands Discover Center

April 25th, 2024

Movement ecology: lizards and the path to enlightenment

Doug Eifler

Memphis, TN

Rhodes College

October 9th, 2023

Lizard Tails Tales: Creative Challenges to Life's Solutions

A (Cold-Blooded Comedic Presentation)

Doug Eifler

Lawrence, KS

Baker Wetlands Discover Center

December 2nd, 2023

Salt Basin Sand Dunes, TX - Read the Zine

2022 lizard camp ZINE.pdf

SEEDS National Field Trip

From 12-15 October 2023, Doug and Maria Eifler participated as 2 of 6 mentors for the SEEDS (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability of the Ecological Society of America) national field trip to the Konza Prairie biological station in Manhattan, Kansas. There were 22 student participants in the program, coming from all over the US (e.g., California, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands). Station personnel gave talks on long-term ecological research occurring at Konza, as well as tours of the station. Doug served on a Q&A panel focused on professional development and navigating career trajectories. The attending mentors guided students through a research project that they planned and carried out in small groups and then presented on the last evening of the trip.

Check out the report from Lizard Camp '23

Lizard camp is a hands on research training experience for emerging women in science. 

Wall Lizards

The Wall Lizard Task Force just released their first publication on the common wall lizards in Lawrence, KS. The paper explores the relationship and potential competition between the introduced Italian Wall Lizards and native Five-lined skinks in Lawrence and the surrounding areas. Check it out below!

Erell gives talk in Tunisia

In partnership with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, Doug, Maria, and Makenna presented a seminar on the meaning of life in January!

Kaera's Master's thesis is published

SEEDS Meetup 2022

Maria and Doug are the sponsors for the Kansas University Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability program (SEEDS) chapter. We recently had the chance to meet with other chapters from Colorado for a weekend of camping! Highlights included visits to Comanche National Grassland, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and TCN Zapata Ranch. Thanks to ESA for funding the experience and to Makenna Orton for organizing everything!