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Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall

Plant Biology
4505 Miller Plant Sciences
4510 Miller Plant Sciences

Kathrin grew up in Germany and after training in animal physiology (MS) and behavioral physiology (PhD) at Eberhardt Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany), she came to the US in 1988 with a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) grant to collect data for her PhD at the Duke University Lemur Center. She taught at Duke University, Wake Forest University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where she also worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Hillis lab, before coming to UGA. Her research interests center around the evolution of communication systems, including acoustic signaling in lemurs, and light signaling in fireflies, and it extends into the college classroom environment where she studies how to help students learn and facilitate their critical thinking skills. She is also invested in training graduate students in science communication.

Research Interests:

My current research interests focus on the evolution of sexual signals in fireflies (Coleoptera: Lampyridae). My lab is generating molecular phylogenies of fireflies from around the world to study how their light and/or chemical signals evolved to attract conspecific mates.

We generate data across traditional disciplinary boundaries and integrate molecular sequencing data, quantitative morphological trait measurements, pigment chemistry, and signaling behavior with phylogenomics and transcriptomics to study signal evolution from both the sender (light production) and receiver (signal detection: eyes and antennae) perspective in the firefly system. 

We also have existing data sets on student learning in introductory biology and we always welcome students who want to utilize these data to study relevant questions (e.g. conceptual approaches to answering questions, learning with online case studies, and/or reproductive health knowledge) on student learning during the first years of college.


Current Grants:

  • NSF DEB: 2024-2028. PI. ARTS: Deploying integrative systematics to untangle Lucidota, the Gordian knot of Neotropical firefly taxonomy.
  • NSF DEB: 2017-2024 (extended). Co-PI. Collaborative Proposal: Shedding light on firefly phylogenetic systematics and the evolution of their sexual signal types.
  • NSF REU Supplement, 2018–2021. PI.
Selected Publications:

Postdoctoral Researcher, Hillis Lab, University of Texas at Austin, 1997-2005

PhD, Behavioral Physiology, Eberhardt Karls Universität, Tübingen, Germany, 1993

MS, Animal Physiology, Eberhardt Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany, 1988


Of note:

Elected AAAS Fellow, 2018

National Academies of Sciences, Education Mentor in the Life Sciences, 2011

Sandy Beaver Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Georgia Franklin College, 2009

National Academies of Sciences, Education Fellow in the Life Sciences, 2008

Articles Featuring Kathrin F. Stanger-Hall

Five PhD students were hooded by Plant Biology faculty during the Spring PhD Graduate Ceremony in Stegeman Coliseum on May 9, 2024. These included Philip Bentz (Jim Leebens-Mack), Max Bernhardt (John Burke), Austin Menzmer (Chris Peterson), Margot Popecki (…

Kathrin Stanger-Hall, Professor in Plant Biology and Michelle Wooten, Assistant Professor in Physics at the University of Birmingham and regional leader of Starry Skies South, are joining forces to talk about Protecting Fireflies and the Beauty of the Night…

Congratulations to Douda! Douda, Associate Professor in Plant Biology, was recognized with the UGA research medal for her distinct and exceptional research.

This year, PLOS ONE celebrates its 15 year anniversary. Over this period the journal has published over a quarter of a million articles. Staff editors from different subject areas choose their favorites and one of these 18 articles is an…

Dr. Kathrin Stanger-Hall, Associate Professor in Plant Biology, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an honor bestowed by peers for "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its…

My Graduate Students

Desi Hoagland

Graduate Student

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