Malison Lab Group

Dr. Malison's Research Group

Research in the Malison Lab focuses on freshwater systems and spans from investigating the genetics and physiology of macroinvertebrates to population and community ecology of large river floodplains. Studies often investigate the flow of energy and organisms (e.g., emerging insects) and linkages between different habitats. A strong focus of Malison’s lab is on the ecology, physiology and genetics of river and aquifer stonefly populations in western Montana, and how certain species are adapted to live in extreme underground environments. Summer interns are active and engaged members of the lab.

We recently received funding from the EPA to develop and launch a Pesticide Stewardship Partnership Program. The project PI is Rachel Malison. Janelle Housman is the Research Coordinator and Jared Glass will serve as the 2024 Big Sky Watershed Corps member. Click here for more information on the MT PSPP.  

A new MS student starting in 2024 will investigate the effects of wildfire on metal concentrations in streams and the effects of metals on aquatic macroinvertebrates and their physiology.

Michelle Fillion, MS student co-advised by Dr. Ben Colman, is currently investigating how beaver dam analogs influence aquatic macroinvertebrate communities and aquatic-riparian linkages.

Other areas of research interest include salmon conservation and the influence of beavers on salmon populations.


2023 Summer Lab Work

Our 2023 “Team Icefly” lab group included UM Intern Kilynn Groen, UM Intern Chester Wooldridge, Bucknell Intern Anna Brown, University of Puget Sound Intern Tristenne Cranford, and Big Sky Watershed Corps member Jared Glass. Work included metabolic rate measurements of ice worms and an acclimation study of aquifer stoneflies.



2022 Summer Lab Work

Our 2022 lab group included Aspen Jaeger, UM Intern Kenzye Spears, Bucknell Intern Grace Hauer, employee James Frakes and Big Sky Watershed Corps member Claire Kirk. Work included an acclimation study of predatory stoneflies and an experiment to see if aquifer stoneflies accumulate lactate (anaerobic metabolism). Kenzye assisted Michelle Fillion in the field and lab with her Beaver Dam Analog study.


2021 Summer Lab Work

Our 2021 lab group included UM Intern Lillian Krach. Lillian assisted Michelle Fillion in the field and lab with her Beaver Dam Analog Study.


Past Team Members

Many team members supported lab and field efforts at FLBS that were part of our NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity grant and also other projects. Team members have included: Kriddie Whitmore, Garrett Frandson, Megan Ritter, Wesley Sigl, Hailey Jacobson, Erin Lee, Melanie McMillan, Taylir Schrock, Brenna Previlige, Faith Breen, Eliza Keksi, Haley Dole, Dan Harvey, Lexi DeLisle, Julia Cotter, Clara Monkowski, Grant Marshall, Jazzelle Elias, Keaton Martin, Brianna Maxwell, and Kaycee Kimmel.