Welcome to the Fitz Lab!

We are based at Michigan State University's Kellogg Biological Station ( KBS ) in the Dept. of Integrative Biology. We are affiliated with the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior ( EEBB ) program at MSU. 

We are interested in fundamental and applied questions in evolution, ecology, and conservation biology. A primary focus of our research is on understanding how evolutionary and ecological processes lead to patterns of adaptation, fitness, and ultimately persistence in small populations. We work on organisms (mostly fish, but also amphibians, reptiles, and birds) in the wild and in the lab using field, experimental, and molecular approaches.   Learn more about the research in our lab!

Our lab strives to celebrate and foster
inclusivity, creativity, and diversity.  

Read about available positions and how to join our group! 

Contact information:

Email: sfitz@msu.edu

Physical location:
W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
Stack Building 238 (office)
Academic Building 222 (dry lab)
Stack Building 243 (molecular lab)
3700 E. Gull Lake Dr.
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Lab Updates...

January 2018

Postdoc Brendan Reid arrives! 

Sarah speaks in the 'Maladaptation' symposium at the standalone ASN meeting in Asilomar

September 2017

The Fitz Lab's first summer was action packed!

Dan Oliveira presented exciting findings from his REU project on phenotypic differences associated with local environmental variation in Rainbow darter populations. He is now off to Cambodia for a semester abroad. We'll miss you Dan!

Sarah traveled to Portland, OR in June for the Evolution conference. Read about the talks she was very inspired by and watch her ASN Young Investigator talk. 

In August Sarah traveled to Tampa, FL for the American Fisheries Conference where she participated in a symposium on 'Redefining Darwinian Fisheries' organized by Stephanie Carlson and Mike Kinnison. She extended her southeastern adventure up to Alabama where she visited Turkey Creek, the only place in the world to find Vermillion darters.

Sarah and the guppy gene flow team published their findings from a common garden experiment in a special issue on 'Eco-Evo Feedbacks in Cold Blood' in the journal Copeia. The article, ' Gene flow constrains and facilitates genetically based divergence in quantitative traits ' highlights the complex role of gene flow in phenotypic evolution, showing homogenization in some cases but the facilitation of adaptive evolution in others.  
Dan presents his results at the KBS Undergraduate Research Symposium
Male and female Vermillion darters, from Turkey Creek, Alabama.

MAY 2017

Fitz Lab quadruples!
Welcome Dan (REU), Madison (research tech.), and Vidhay (research tech.)! This team arrived and immediately hit the ground running: marking salamanders, exploring Rainbow darter sites, scrubbing cattle tanks, and extracting DNA. Summer programs at KBS are in full swing and research in the Fitz Lab has begun!

APRIL 2017

Invited talk to Zoological Students Association
Sarah had a great time speaking to the MSU Zoological Students Association  about research in Trinidad, field stations, and applications of evolutionary biology to conservation. Thanks for the invitation!


Feature article in Animal Conservation
Our mini-mesocosm experiment showed that the addition of adaptively similar but genetically divergent individuals was most beneficial, but any immigration at all improved population fitness compared to the control. This paper was selected as the featured article of the month and had great commentaries written about it by Scott Mills , Catherine Grueber , and Dave Tallmon . More exciting results in the works from lead author and CSU grad student  John Kronenberger

 Sarah is honored to be a 2017 recipient of the
ASN Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Award


​​New KBS Molecular Ecology & Genomics Lab  is underway​ 

Many resident and visiting KBS faculty incorporate molecular work in their research. We have a new and updated shared molecular lab facility that accommodates a diverse set of molecular technologies in this growing field.

Fitz Lab launches at Kellogg Biological Station!