Karen P. Fawley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

Walker Hall - 161
Karen P. Fawley, Ph.D.

My interest in nature started when I was a young girl. I grew up in Houston, Texas, but I spent every summer with my grandmother who lived along Spadra Creek here in Clarksville. I took every opportunity to explore the creek, woods and meadows, and all the creatures and plants that live there. I later attended the University of Texas where I received a degree in Biology. I really wanted to work in some area of ecology, so I went on to get a master’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. I worked on the Chesapeake Bay monitoring project, where I learned to identify algae and work with community ecology. I received a Ph.D. from North Dakota State University where I studied the community structure of algae in some shallow lakes during the winter (under as much as 3 feet of ice!). I also began using DNA sequence analysis to understand algal diversity and the taxonomy of these fascinating organisms. I joined the faculty of the University of the Ozarks in 2018. My major teaching interests are plant taxonomy and molecular biology.

Special Projects / Initiatives

I am presently working on several research projects that involve students including:

  • Taxonomy of the economically important algal class Eustigmatophyceae using morphological and molecular characterization.
  • Diversity and community ecology of algae using species-level metabarcoding (a next generation DNA sequencing technique).
  • Survey of the soil algae from barrens and other unusual sites in Arkansas.
  • Taxonomic status of select vascular plants in the Ouachita Mountains.
  • Additions to the vascular plant flora of Johnson County, Arkansas.