Josh Stepanek, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Biology
970-569-2977 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO
- M.S. Ecology and Natural Resources, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN
- B.S. Ecology and Field Biology, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN
- 2020 - 2021 CMC Vail Valley at Edwards Faculty of the Year
I was introduced to aquatic and evolutionary biology while earning my B.S. and M.S. in Ecology and Field Biology from St. Cloud State University in central Minnesota, where I was drawn to the important but largely neglected world of freshwater microalgae. Taking this love of evolution and microalgae I worked on projects as diverse as the effects of estrogenic compounds in our waterways, nutrient pollution and its effect on the primary production community, and the fluid dynamic pressures driving shape evolution in my favorite group of algae, diatoms. The greatest lessons I took away from this time was the critical importance of basic research in evolution and diversity when approaching any applied biological question.
After leaving Minnesota to move west, I was able to continue exploring the intersection between basic biological research and application during my Ph.D. at the University of Colorado Boulder. At CU I utilized molecular and comparative phylogenetic techniques to examine evolutionary patterns in ecology and oil accumulation within diatoms, with an emphasis on the production of biofuels and high value lipid products.
Before coming to CMC I was a research faculty at St. Cloud State University where I participated in the development of the campus Bioenergy and Biomass Sustainable Energy Facility. A facility that creates renewable energy from campus cafeteria waste while mitigating energy waste streams through the production of high value algae.
My current research interests include genetic studies in algal taxonomy and systematics, the evolutionary patterns and timing of ecological shifts within algal lineages, and diversity studies within unique Colorado habitats.
TEACHING AND LEARNING
I can trace my own passion for science and biology directly to many of the laboratory and field experiences during my undergraduate education. These lessons directly inform how I approach the courses that I offer with an emphasis on hands-on learning that strives to include actual research in class activities.
- Kociolek J.P., Lowe R.L., Sánchez K. & Stepanek J.G. 2021. Benthic diatom (Bacillariophyta) flora of Torch Lake, Michigan, an oligotrophic, alkaline ecosystem with evident benthic diatom production, with a consideration of some new and interesting species. The Great Lakes Botanist 60: 24–55.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2019. Molecular phylogeny of the diatom genera Amphora and Halamphora (Bacillariophyta) with a focus on morphological and ecological evolution. Journal of Phycology 55: 442–456.
- Hamsher S.E., Keepers K.G., Pogoda C.S., Stepanek J.G., Kane N.C. & Kociolek J.P. 2019. Extensive chloroplast genome rearrangement amongst three closely related Halamphora spp. (Bacillariophyceae), and evidence for rapid evolution as compared to land plants. PLoSONE 14(7): e0217824. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0217824
- Pogoda C.S., Keepers K.G., Hamsher S.E., Stepanek J.G., Kane N.C. & Kociolek J.P. 2019. Comparative analysis of the mitochondrial genomes of six newly sequenced diatoms reveals group II introns in the barcoding region of cox1. Mitochondrial DNA Part A 30: 43–51.
- Kociolek J.P., Williams D.M., Stepanek J.G., Liu Q., Liu Y., You Q., Karthick B. & Kulikovskiy M. 2019. Rampant homoplasy and adaptive radiation in pennate diatoms. Plant Ecology and Evolution 152: 131–141.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2018. Amphora and Halamphora from inland waters of the United States and Japan, with the description of 33 new species. Bibliotheca Diatomologica 66: 1–260.
- Lowe R., Kociolek J.P., You Q., Wang Q. & Stepanek J.G. 2017. Diversity of the diatom genus Humidophila in karst areas of Guizhou, China. Phytotaxa 305: 269–284.
- Stepanek J.G., Fields F.J. & Kociolek J.P. 2016. A comparison of lipid content metrics using six species from the genus Halamphora (Bacillariophyta). Biofuels 7: 521–528.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2016. Re-examination of Mereschkowsky’s genus Tetramphora (Bacillariophyta) and its separation from Amphora. Diatom Research 31: 123–148.
- Stepanek J.G., Hamsher S.E., Mayama S., Jewson D.H. & Kociolek J.P. 2016. Observations of two marine members of the genus Cymbellonitzschia (Bacillariophyta) from Tokyo Bay, Japan, with the description of the new species Cymbellonitzschia banzuensis. Phycological Research 64: 26–34.
- Thomas E.W., Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2016. Historical and current perspectives on the systematics of the ‘enigmatic’ diatom genus Rhoicosphenia (Bacillariophyta), with single and multi-molecular marker and morphological analysis and discussion of the monophyly of ‘monoraphid’ diatoms. PLoS ONE 11(4): e0152797. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0152797.
- Kociolek J.P., You Q., Stepanek J.G., Lowe R.L. & Wang Q. 2016. A new Eunotia C.G. Ehrenberg (Bacillariophyta: Bacillariophyceae: Eunotiales) species from Karst formations of southern China. Phytotaxa 265: 285–293.
- Kociolek J.P., You Q., Stepanek J.G., Lowe R.L. & Wang Q. 2016. New freshwater diatom genus, Edtheriotia gen. nov. of the Stephanodiscaceae (Bacillariophyta) from south-central China. Phycological Research 64: 274–280.
- Stepanek J.G., Mayama S. & Kociolek J.P. 2015. Description and phylogenetic position of Amphora aliformis (Bacillariophyta), a new species from Tokyo Bay. Phycologia 54: 78–86.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2015. Three new species of the diatom genus Halamphora (Bacillariophyta) from the prairie pothole lakes region of North Dakota, USA. Phytotaxa 197: 27–36.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2014. Molecular phylogeny of Amphora sensu lato (Bacillariophyta): an investigation into the monophyly and classification of the amphoroid diatoms. Protist 165: 177–195.
- Hamsher S.E., Graeff C.L., Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2014. Frustular morphology and polyphyly in freshwater Denticula (Bacillariophyceae) species, and the description of Tetralunata gen. nov. (Epithemiaceae, Rhopalodiales). Plant Ecology and Evolution 147: 346–365.
- Stepanek J.G. & Kociolek J.P. 2013. Several new species of Amphora and Halamphora from the western USA. Diatom Research 28: 61–76.
- Kociolek J.P., Stepanek J.G., Lowe R.L., Johansen J.R. & Sherwood A.R. 2013. Molecular data show enigmatic cave dwelling diatom Diprora (Bacillariophyceae) to be a raphid diatom. The European Journal of Phycology 48: 474–488.
- Julius M.L., Stepanek J.G., Tedrow O., Gamble C., & Schoenfuss H.L. 2007. Estrogen-receptor independent effects of two ubiquitous environmental estrogens on Melosira varians Agardh, a common component of the aquatic primary production community. Aquatic Toxicology 85: 19-27.