Contact Information:

Rachel Whitaker
Assistant Professor
Department of Microbiology
601 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801

Emily Wheeler



Microecology Photos

Microbial Ecology and Evolution at Illinois

The University of Illinois is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading institutions in microbiology, and has a long tradition of excellence in microbial ecology and evolution. Pioneering researchers at the University of Illinois radically altered our view of the microbial world in the 1970s with the discovery of the Archaea and the use of molecular tools to explore the vast diversity of the natural microbial world. Today this spirit of discovery continues to thrive at University of Illinois in microbial evolution and ecology labs across campus.

Microbial ecology and evolution at the University of Illinois is an interdisciplinary group of researchers across the campus who share their interests and unique skills to study environmental microbiology. Common questions addressed by the research in our group include:

  • What are the physical, chemical and biological forces that shape microbial communities?
  • How does the structure of microbial communities affect their function?
  • How do microbial interactions result in biocomplexity?
  • How is microbial diversity generated and maintained?

Microbial ecology and evolution research at the University of Illinois integrates state-of-the-art tools in community genomics, biogeochemistry, ecological and evolutionary theory, and environmental engineering to study the diversity of the microbial world and how its dynamics shaped the origin of life and influence human health and the quality of our environment today.

Graduate Students in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (GEEB) serves to coordinate and unify the many graduate students conducting research in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including students interested in natural resources, wildlife management, modeling, conservation biology, and related fields.