Current Research

CBFS research

Dr. Sibyl Bucheli, et al. are currently cataloguing insect diversity of southeastern Texas with the goal of establishing reliable occurrence models for forensically significant species and have made a number of significant discoveries that challenge current occurrence models and they have been able to document insects at corpses that have never been recorded.

  • Flies in the Families Piophilidae and Sepsidae are thought to be late stage colonizers of carrion and therefore indicative of advanced stages of decomposition. They have documented these insects on cadavers as early as day 1, thereby challenging current succession models used to aid in the determination of the PMI.
  • While Panorpidae (Mecoptera) have been documented feeding on insect carcasses as well as large animal carcasses, these insects have never been documented on human corpses. They record the presence of Panorpa nuptialis feeding on a human cadaver in the early fall of 2009.
  • Members of the dipteran Family Syrphidae have aquatic maggots common in stagnant water. These maggots are recorded for the first time ever feeding from human remains of a cadaver decomposing in a stagnant pool of water.
  • Caterpillars of the family Notodontodae and Noctuidae have been noted for the first time feeding from the flesh of human remains. These species are known to be herbivores of primarily oaks.


In 2014, Aldo Compagnoni, post doc, Rice University started a transplantation experiment to investigate what limits the geographic range of Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) - a native grass of the Southern Great Plains.

David Warren, SHSU undergraduate, is cultivating cacti in one of the stations greenhouses to determine nutrient requirements.  His work may contribute to restoration of threatened and endangered cacti.

Dr. Volker Rudolf, Rice University, uses the facilities in several ways: 1) To train students on how to survey aquatic communities, 2) help students (and us) collect organisms for independent experiments, and 3) long-term monitoring of amphibian and dragonfly phenologies. For the latter they conduct monthly surveys on 3-4 ponds for the last three years. He had two PhD students who heavily used CBFS for their experimental work, and they published a few papers on it.  In addition, he had 15 undergraduate students who were trained on aquatic ecology and collected organisms for independent research projects at the station in the last 5 years, including 4 NSF REU students.

Dr. Diane Neudorf, Animal Behaviorist at SHSU continues her long term studies of the nesting behaviors of Carolina Wrens, Thryothorus ludovicianus. 

Roth, E.D. and W.I. Lutterschmidt plan to continue their investigation of the spatial behavior patterns of a western cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) population at CBFS.