photo_manuelManuel Leal
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

209 Tucker Hall
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-1360

Graduate  Students 

Ellee CookEllee Cook

I am interested in mechanisms that mediate intraspecific variation in behaviors associated with female-female competition. Currently, my research with Anolis lizards aims to elucidate how asymmetry in aspects of physiology, morphology, and behavior contribute to territorial interactions among females.


Eddie Ramirez e-ramirez

I am investigating potential mechanisms behind the maintenance of mitochondrial hybrid populations of Anolis lizards as well as seeking to understand their interactions with purebred populations.



Levi Storks

I am interested in the role that cognition might play in evolutionary processes, especially in niche expansion and responses to novel conditions. I will carry out a series of behavioral and neurobiological studies to explore these cognitive processes at the proximate and ultimate level.




Arianne Messerman

I seek to identify and understand factors that influence survival rates in the lesser-studied terrestrial life stages of pond-breeding salamanders. In doing so, I aim to inform current and future amphibian conservation efforts.



Undergraduate Students


Joshua A. Jones

Current project: Spatial memory in jumping spiders





Han Hoekzema

Current project: Problem solving in lizards




High School Students


Claire Cheek, Hickman High School

Current project: Problem solving in lizards




Former Graduate Students 

Former Undergraduate Students at Mizzou 

  • Fabio Squicimari: Honors Thesis, Associative Learning in Jumping Spiders
  • Emma N. Smith: Interspecific variation in Anolis dewlap