Ph.D., Evolutionary Biology (expected 2021)
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Committee on Evolutionary Biology
Advisor: Dr. Cathy Pfister
M.S., Marine Biology (May 2016)
University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC
Advisor: Dr. Patrick Erwin
B.A., Biology and Environmental Studies, summa cum laude (May 2013)
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Distinction in Biology, Phi Beta Kappa
Master's Research on Microbial Symbiosis in Marine Sponges (2014 - 2016)
University of North Carolina Wilmington
Conducted field experiments and used next-generation DNA sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to characterize the microbial communities of intertidal and subtidal sponges. Employed bioinformatics techniques to examine the functional role of nitrogen cycling microbial taxa in the sponge holobiont.
AAUS Scientific Diver for Long-term Coral Reef Study (June 2015)
University of North Carolina Wilmington and Aquarius Reef Base, Islamorada, FL
Participated in a long-term study of sponge communities on Conch Reef in the Florida Keys. Practiced scientific diving techniques including sponge species identification, underwater data acquisition, and underwater photography. Completed 26 scientific dives on Conch Reef.
Ecology of Invasive Blue Catfish in the Chesapeake Bay (June – Dec 2013)
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MD
Intern in the Fish and Invertebrate Ecology Lab specializing on invasive blue catfish ecology using diet studies, genetic barcoding of prey items, and acoustic telemetry.
Undergraduate Thesis Research in Stream Ecology and Genetics (2012 – 2013)
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Investigated how microbial functional diversity is related to the rate of denitrification and to nutrient availability in a heavily polluted Midwestern agricultural stream. Research funded through the EPA Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Fellowship.
Environmental Protection Agency Summer Fellowship (Summer 2012)
Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch EPA, Newport, OR
Designed and carried out field and lab experiments to determine the nutrient limitation of phytoplankton in Oregon estuaries as part of the EPA Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship.
International Research Experience (Fall 2011)
Madras Christian College Estuarine Biological Lab and the Indian Institute of Science, India
Examined the use of clay tile artificial reefs as a means to enhance the biodiversity and productivity of the second largest lagoon in India. Also studied the relationship between forest biodiversity and carbon sequestration in coffee agroforestry systems at the Indian Institute of Science's Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates in Iceland (Summer 2011)
NSF- Research Experience for Undergraduates through Montana State University in Reykjavík, Iceland
Collaborated with an international group of scientists to study the effects of temperature on stream processes in Iceland. Presented research at the Society for Freshwater Science annual meeting.
Stream Ecology Research Assistant (Summer 2010 – Spring 2011)
University of CA Berkeley's Angelo Coast Range Reserve, Branscomb, CA
Designed and carried out a field manipulation experiment to study how invertebrate grazers affect rates of nitrogen fixation, nutrient uptake and metabolism in streams of varying drainage area.
Awards and Fellowships
2017-18 GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) Quantitative Ecology Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education
2017 Lerner Gray Grants for Marine Research, American Museum of Natural History ($2,400)
2017 National Geographic Early Career Grant ($5,000)
2017 Phycological Society of America Grants-in-Aid of Research ($946)
2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
2015 Ralph W. Brauer Fellowship for Independent Research at UNCW ($750)
2015 Friday Harbor Labs Summer Scholarship to attend Invertebrate Zoology ($1,600)
2015 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mention
2014-16 Owen Graham Kenan Graduate Scholarship Award at UNCW ($14,577)
2014 Women Divers Hall of Fame Advanced Dive Training Grant ($500)
2013 Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society Scholarship ($500)
2011-13 EPA Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship ($48,900)
2010-13 S-STEM Biologists for the Future Scholarship Program
Weigel, B.L., Welter, J.R., and P.C. Furey. In prep. Invertebrate grazers and stream drainage area interact to control nitrogen fixation rates in an N-limited river network.
Weigel, B.L. 2017. Digest: Floral ambush in the sun: Evolution of flower-dwelling and UV-white reflectance in crab spiders. Evolution doi:10.1111/evo.13294.
Weigel, B.L. and Erwin, P.M. 2017. Effects of reciprocal transplantation on the microbiome and putative nitrogen cycling functions of the intertidal sponge, Hymeniacidon heliophila. Scientific Reports 7: 43247.
Weigel, B.L. and Erwin, P.M. 2016. Intraspecific variation in microbial symbiont communities of the sun sponge, Hymeniacidon heliophila, from intertidal and subtidal habitats. Applied Environmental Microbiology 82: 650 - 658.
Weigel, B.L. and Pfister, C.A. The microbiome of the canopy-forming kelps, Nereocystis and Macrocystis, from the outer Olympic Coast to the Puget Sound. Oral presentation at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, 2018 April 4-6; Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA.
Erwin, P.M. and Weigel, B.L. Tide after time: Structural shifts and functional stability in the microbiome of an intertidal sponge. Oral presentation at the 10th World Sponge Conference, 2017 June 27; National University Ireland in Galway, Ireland.
Weigel, B.L. and Pfister, C.A. The structure and function of host-associated microbial communities: from kelp-associated biofilms to the sea cucumber gut microbiome. Poster presented at the Microbiome Center Research Symposium, 2017 April 25; University of Chicago in Chicago, IL.
Weigel, B.L. and Erwin, P.M. Turning the tide: Effects of reciprocal transplantation on the microbiome of the intertidal sponge Hymeniacidon heliophila. Oral presentation at the 45th Annual Benthic Ecology Meeting, 2016 March 16-19; Westin Harbourview in Portland, ME.
*Weigel, B.L. and Erwin, P.M. Structural differences in the microbial symbiont community of a marine sponge from intertidal and subtidal habitats. Oral presentation at the 44th Annual Benthic Ecology Meeting, 2015 March 4-7; Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, Canada. *Selected for Outstanding Graduate Student Oral Presentation
Weigel, B.L. Examining the links between denitrifying microbial communities, gene expression and denitrification process rates in an agricultural stream. Biology Distinction poster presented at the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Honors Day, 2013 May 3; St. Olaf College.
J.D. Schade, S. Ludwig, L.C. Nelson, J. Porterfield, K.L. Sather, M. Songpitak, S. Spawn, and B.L. Weigel. Impact of agricultural activities on anaerobic processes in stream sediments. Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, 2013 Dec 9-13; San Francisco, CA.
Weigel, B.L., Toomey, A.E., Hood, J.M., Cross, W.F., Benstead, J.P., and A.D. Huryn. Influence of temperature on benthic metabolism and nutrient uptake across a gradient of geothermally heated streams. Poster presented at the Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting, 2012 May 20-24; Louisville, KY.
Welter, J.R., Furey, P.C., Power, M.E., Bratt, A.R., Weigel, B.L., Cormier, J.A. Interactive effect of floods and grazing on abundance, activity, and species composition of nitrogen fixers in a river network. Paper presented at the Society for Freshwater Science Annual Meeting, 2012 May 20-24; Louisville, KY.
Drewry, L.L., Weigel, B.L. and J.D. Schade. Stream nutrient stoichiometry following leaf fall and flooding. Poster presented at the Minnesota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 2011 April 16; Brooklyn Park, MN.
Graduate Student Teaching Experience:
Microbiology Lab, University of North Carolina Wilmington (Fall 2014 - Spring 2016, 4 semesters)
Marine Invertebrates of Woods Hole, University of Chicago course at the Marine Biological Lab (September 2017)
Undergraduate Student Teaching Experience:
Evolution and Diversity (Fall 2010)
Ecological Principles (Fall 2012)
Independent Research in Stable Isotope Ecology (Spring 2013)
Undergraduate Students Mentored:
Kentré L. Horton (Fall 2014, Spring 2015) - Maintaining sponges in aquaria, measuring nitrogen cycling rates
Benjamin E. Deloso (Spring 2015) - Genetics of nitrification in marine sponges
Hunter S. Lewis (Spring 2015) - Genetics of denitrification in marine sponges
Abigail M. Thompson (Spring 2015) - Identifying sulfate reducing bacteria in marine sponges
Extra Curricular Activities and Community Outreach
Science Olympiad at the University of Chicago, Experimental Design and Ecology Volunteer (2017)
Walk Walton, Outreach event featuring native Illinois fish and aquatic invertebrates, Homewood Science Center (2017)
Girls in STEM networking event, partnered with the Homewood Science Center (2017)
Scientific Illustration Workshop for Undergraduates at UNCW (2015)
Oceans ROCK, MC for Outreach Event at UNCW (2014)
Rice Creek Concerned Citizens Group (2012-2013)
St. Olaf Honor Houses – Green House Project (2012-2013)
S-STEM Scholars – Social Activities Coordinator and Mentoring Program (2012-2013)
St. Olaf College Rowing Club (2009-2013)
Volunteer Scientific Diver for North Carolina Artificial Reef Survey (2015 – 2016)
UNC Chapel Hill Institute of Marine Sciences, Avery Paxton and Peterson Lab
Monthly volunteer diver to assess the fish and invertebrate communities associated with natural and artificial hard bottom habitat along the North Carolina coast.
Volunteer Field Assistant (2014 – 2016)
NC Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve
Assistant for seasonal field work in the Masonboro Island Reserve for projects ranging from marsh grass surveys to sea turtle nest excavation.
Training and Certifications
CPR and First Aid (current)
SCUBA diving: AAUS Scientific Diver (2015), PADI Divemaster (2014), Rescue Diver (2010), Ice Diver (2010),
Advanced Open Water (2008), and Open Water Diver (2008)
Computational Training: Scientific Computing for Biologists Graduate Course - R, Python and Unix programming (Winter 2017, University of Chicago); Marine Biological Lab Quantitative Approaches Bootcamp (Sept. 2016, Woods Hole, MA); 2nd International Symposium on Sponge Microbiology Bioinformatics Workshop (Oct. 2014, Baltimore, MD)