Professor of Biology

Spencer Hall 152 / ext. 3153
Invertebrate Zoology, Evolution, Biodiversity


I study the evolution and development of invertebrate animals, focusing on cave biodiversity in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

I have worked with students on research projects studying animals as varied as spiders, snails, millipedes, ants, isopods, beetles and clams.

I Co-Direct the Island Ecology Program, which takes place every summer.


(*indicates Sewanee undergraduate author)

Niemiller, M.L., K.S. Zigler, P.B. Hart, B.R. Kuhajda, J.W. Armbruster, B.N. Ayala* and A.S. Engel. 2016. First record of a stygobiotic fish (Percopsiformes: Amblyopsidae: Typhlichthys) from the Appalachians karst region in the eastern United States. Subterranean Biology 20:39-50. PDF

Christman, M.C., D.H. Doctor, M.L. Niemiller, D.J. Weary, J.A. Young, K.S. Zigler and D.C. Culver. 2016. Predicting the occurrence of cave-inhabiting fauna based on features of the Earth surface environment. PLOS One 11:e0160408. PDF

Carver, L.M.*, P. Perlaky, A. Cressler and K.S. Zigler. 2016. Reproductive seasonality in Nesticus (Araneae: Nesticidae) cave spiders. PLOS One 11:e0156751. PDF‌

Niemiller, M.L., K.S. Zigler, C.D.R. Stephen, E.T. Carter, A.T. Paterson, S.J. Taylor and A.S. Engel. 2016. Vertebrate fauna in caves of eastern Tennessee within the Appalachians karst region, USA. Journal of Cave and Karst Studies 78:1-24. PDF

Joca, L.K.*, V.L. Leray*, K.S. Zigler and R.C. Brusca. 2015. A new host and reproduction at small size for the “Snapper-Choking Isopod” Cymothoa excisa (Isopoda: Cymothoidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 35:292-294. PDF‌

Speiser, D.I., M.S. Pankey, A.K. Zaharoff, B.A. Battelle, H.D. Bracken-Grissom, J.W. Breinholt, S.M. Bybee, T.W. Cronin, A. Garm, A.R. Lindgren, N.H. Patel, M.L. Porter, M.E. Protas, A.S. Rivera, J.M. Serb, K.S. Zigler, K.A. Crandall and T.H. Oakley. 2014. Using Phylogenetically-Informed Annotation (PIA) to search for light-interacting genes in transcriptomes of non-model organisms. BMC Bioinformatics 15:350. PDF

Zigler, K.S., M.L. Niemiller and D.B. Fenolio. 2014. Cave Biodiversity of the Southern Cumberland Plateau. National Speleological Society Convention Guidebook pp. 159-163. PDF

Niemiller, M.L., K.S. Zigler and D.B. Fenolio. 2013. “Cave Life of TAG: A Guide to Commonly Encountered Species in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.” Published by the Biology Section of the National Speleological Society. 45 pp. ISBN 978-0-9893899-1-4.

Zigler, K.S. and R.A. Raff. 2013. A shift in germ layer allocation is correlated with large egg size and facultative planktotrophy in the echinoid Clypeaster rosaceus. Biological Bulletin 224:192-199. PDF

Coppard, S.E., K.S. Zigler and H.A. Lessios. 2013. Phylogeography of the sand dollar genus Mellita: cryptic speciation along the coasts of the New World. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69:1033-1042. PDF

Niemiller, M.L. and K.S. Zigler. 2013. Patterns of cave biodiversity and endemism in the Appalachians and Interior Plateau of Tennessee, USA. PLoS ONE 8:e64177. PDF

Lessios, H.A. and K.S. Zigler. 2012. Rates of sea urchin bindin evolution. pp. 136-143 in 'Rapidly Evolving Genes and Genetic Systems' by R. Singh, J. Xu and R. Kulathinal (eds.). Oxford University Press. PDF‌

Wakefield, K.R.* and K.S. Zigler. 2012. Obligate subterranean fauna of Carter State Natural Area, Franklin County, Tennessee. Speleobiology Notes 4:24-28. PDF

Zigler, K.S., M. Byrne, E.C. Raff, H.A. Lessios and R.A. Raff. 2012. Natural hybridization in the sea urchin genus Pseudoboletia between species without apparent barriers to gamete recognition. Evolution 66:1695-1708. PDF

Davis, R.A.* and K.S. Zigler. 2012. Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities of the southern Cumberland Plateau. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 105:484-492. ‌PDF

Cowan, W.M.*, C.R. Croom* and K.S. Zigler. 2012. Observations of juvenile Anadara (Scapharcabrasiliana (Lamarck, 1819) (Bivalvia: Arcidae) on Mellita isometra Harold and Telford (Echinoidea: Mellitidae) at St. Catherines Island, GA, U.S.A. Journal of Molluscan Studies 78:225-226. PDF

Lessios, H.A., S. Lockhart, R. Collin, G. Sotil, P. Sanchez-Jerez, K.S. Zigler, A.F. Perez, M.J. Garrido, L.B. Geyer, G. Bernardi, V.D. Vacquier, R. Haroun and B.D. Kessing. 2012. Phylogeography and bindin evolution in Arbacia, a sea urchin genus with an unusual distribution. Molecular Ecology 21:130–144. PDF

You can find a complete list of my publications here.