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Current projects

Helping an endangered species

Bubbling Ponds Hatchery: Microhabitat and Movement Evaluation of Northern Mexican Garter Snakes

Our faculty members are actively engaged in use-inspired research and service in the sciences, humanities, social sciences and education. Awards to College of Integrative Sciences and Arts’ faculty for funded research and service projects currently exceed $3.2 million.

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student interested in getting involved in one of the research projects below, you are invited to contact the principal investigator.


Project NameKeywords

Avoiding Surprises: Understanding the Impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spills
Principal Investigator
Steven Saul
This project investigates how the closures of the Gulf of New Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the effects of oil pollution influenced the fishing community’s livelihood and how their responses may have affected resource assessment. 

fisheries, population dynamics, agent-based model, fisher behavior

Blended Stretch Writing at Arizona State University
Principal Investigator
James Wermers
This study explores the efficacy of a recent redesign of the Stretch Writing Program at ASU, which leverages digital technology and blended pedagogy to improve learning outcomes for basic writing students. 


writing studies, basic writing, composition, digital humanities

Climate sensitivity of microbial processes and their implication for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas fluxes in subtropical pastures
Co-principal Investigator
Christopher Ryan Penton
Determines the impact of climate change on soil as a greenhouse gas source or sink depending on different intensities of land-use.

climate change, carbon sequestration, microbial respiration, nutrient cycling, CO2, functional gene, microbial community composition

Collaborative Research: Multiscale modeling of division of labor in social insects 
Principal Investigator
Yun Kang
Integrates rigorous mathematics with extensive field and laboratory data to study the complex adaptive system of social insect societies.


adaptive complex systems, social insect societies, mathematical modeling

Complex Adaptive Systems of Social Insect Colonies: Emergence of Scaling, Social Dynamics, Evolution Cooperation
Principal Investigator
Yun Kang
The proposed research program will provide essential contributions to the questions of how insect group organization scales with size and why animals form cooperative groups which are central in social behavior and evolution.

Complex Adaptive Systems, Social Insects, Scaling Effects, Social Dynamics, Evolution Cooperation

Developing Inquiry-Oriented Instructional Materials for Linear Algebra
Principal Investigator
Michelle Zandieh

linear algebra, instructional support, teaching math, student learning

Dyadic Management of Chronic Pain in Lesbian Couples
Principal Investigator
Ashley K. Randall
Seeks to understand how women in same-sex relationships care for one another with regards to physical pain, psychological distress, and relational well-being.  

 chronic pain, dyadic coping, longitudinal dyadic data, same-sex couples

Geo Opportunities for Leadership (GOLD): Sparks for Change
Principal Investigator
Robert Kirsch
An effort to increase diversity in the geosciences by studying the effect of improving departmental culture and support of minorities in faculty.

diversity, equity, inclusion, geosciences

Group Size, Scaling of Work, and Metabolism in Ant Colonies
Principal Investigator
Jennifer Fewell
Co-principal Investigator
Yun Kang
The project will connect research with a Mathematics and Social Biology Co-mentoring Program, to train research teams of undergraduates together in biology and mathematics.

Emergency in Scaling, Group Size, Social Organization, Metabolic Rates, Mathematics and Social Biology Co-mentoring Program

Herpetofauna and Riparian Habitats at the Confluence of the Gila and San Pedro Rivers 
Principal Investigator
Heather Bateman

This study across three forest types, will allow our research team to evaluate which wildlife species might be winners and losers in a drying environment.

ecology, reptile, amphibian, wildlife, habitat, stream, river, floodplain, climate change

Microhabitat Evaluation for Northern Mexican Garter Snakes 
Principal Investigator
Heather Bateman
This study's objective is to determine microhabitat features preferred by the threatened Northern Mexican garter snake species.


garter snake, Northern Mexican garter snake, habitat, microhabitat, ecology, endangered species, threatened species, Bubbling Ponds Hatchery, wildlife restoration

Optics of Plasmon-Exciton Nanomaterials in the Strong Coupling Limit: Self-consistent studies
Principal Investigator
Maxim Sukharev
The goal of the research is to develop and advance a microscopic theory of light-matter interaction.

Plasmonics, strong coupling, Maxwell-Bloch equations

Photochemistry and Photophysics at Plasmonic Interfaces
Principal Investigator
Maxim Sukharev
We employ various computational and analytical methods to scrutinize ultra-fast dynamics of molecules, molecular aggregates at structured metal interfaces.

Plasmonics, exciton-plasmon, strong coupling, surface plasmon-polariton

Practical Benefits of Biochar Amendment to Agricultural Systems
Principal Investigator
Christopher Ryan Penton

Research in Quantum Field Theory
Principal Investigator
Igor Shovkovy
The general goal of this project is to advance theoretical knowledge about the properties of various forms of relativistic matter in magnetic fields.

Nuclear physics; Hadronic physics; Relativistic matter; Magnetic field; Chirality; Dirac materials; Weyl materials; Cosmology; Neutron stars; Heavy-Ion collisions

Species identification confirmation of Medicago NPGS germplasm
Principal Investigator
Kelly Steele
The project is intended to confirm identification of wild relatives of the most important forage species in the world, alfalfa (Medicago sativa) and obtain information on their genetic diversity.

alfalfa, DNA barcoding, germplasm, flow cytometry, ploidy level



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