Sustainable Biodiversity Fund
The 2017 SBF cycle is closed
- Prior Instructions
The Sustainable Biodiversity Fund supports Cornell graduate / professional students and postdocs to carry out novel research on the most pressing questions in biodiversity. Protecting the earth's biodiversity is critical for preserving global ecosystem services, natural pest control on farms, and four billion years of irreplaceable evolutionary history.
Cornell graduate students and postdoctoral research associates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply to pursue innovative, interdisciplinary research relevant for the sustainability of natural biodiversity.
Lina Arcila (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Lina Arcila Hernández is a PhD candidate in Anurag Agrawal’s lab in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Overall, her research focuses on understanding how plants and insect herbivores interact and the effect of those interactions in species diversity. She is currently working with experimental and genetic approaches to determine which eco-evolutionary processes maintain the differentiation of feeding and oviposition behaviors among populations of insect herbivores. The SBF funding will allow her to test the relative importance of behavioral phenotypes, geographic isolation, and environmental clines to the population genetic structure in milkweed stem weevils (Rhyssomatus spp.). Determining the relative importance of these factors for the maintenance of population differentiation is an important step for understanding the origin of biodiversity.
Pepe Casis (Natural Resources)
Pepe Casis is a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources, studying environmental policy under Steven Wolf. Pepe has been an environmental economist for more than thirteen years; however, his somewhat recent disenchantment with neoclassical economics has allowed him to expand his horizons on how to design and implement environmental projects. Thus, his research is now based on environmental governance, deliberative valuation methods, and collaborative policy design; combined with neoclassical environmental economic instruments (old habits die hard). He hopes that this combination will allow him to contribute to a more realistic and humane design of economic instruments for conservation. His research focuses on the design of an environmental governance instrument based on collaboration for the Sierra Norte in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
David Chang van Oordt (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
David Chang van Oordt is a PhD student in David Winkler's lab in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research focuses on the overlap of bird migration and disease ecology. He works on the effects of long distance movement on patterns of parasite diversity and evolution, and how do birds provide the means for parasite dispersal and population connectivity. He will use the SBF award to study the link between breeding and wintering site vector diversity on transmission of avian malaria in tree swallows. This will help understand the risk of infection across a bird's migratory route based on parasite diversity, vector abundance, and migratory timing. This is especially important in the face of climate change where we expect insect phenologies and distribution ranges to shift, and it can help predict future spread and dispersal of different strains of avian malaria.
Olivia Graham (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Olivia Graham is a PhD student in Dr. Drew Harvell’s lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. A marine ecologist, she especially enjoys infectious disease research that has direct conservation and management applications. She currently studies the influence of environmental factors—particularly biodiversity—on the transmission, prevalence and severity of seagrass wasting disease (Labyrinthula zosterae) in eelgrass (Zostera marina). With funding from the SBF, she will use field and laboratory approaches to examine the role of eelgrass genetic diversity, bacteria, and potential invertebrate vectors in Z. marina disease dynamics. Seagrass wasting disease threatens the health of eelgrass beds worldwide, and can significantly compromise the valuable ecosystem services of eelgrass. Understanding how biodiversity and other environmental factors influence this disease is critical to effectively managing and protecting these key habitats.
Mia Howard (Plant Biology)
Mia Howard is a Plant Biology PhD student studying the chemical ecology of microbe-plant-insect interactions in André Kessler’s lab. She is studying how communities of bacteria and fungi in the soil affect the chemistry of a common native plant, tall goldenrod (/Solidago altissima/), and how these chemical changes might affect the plants’ attractiveness to insect herbivores. She is particularly interested in how microbial biodiversity in the soil might affect the diversity of goldenrod chemical phenotypes and its subsequent effects on the population’s resistance to insect attack.
Tim Lambert (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Timothy Lambert is a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, working with Stephen Ellner, Alex Flecker, and David Lodge. He is broadly interested in the ecology and conservation of fresh waters, with an emphasis on using quantitative models to take full advantage of the information captured by isotopic, genetic, and other modern techniques. SBF funding will allow Tim to study how barriers affect the movement, diet, and growth of fish in Adirondack streams. Fragmentation of streams and other natural habitats is a major threat to ecosystems worldwide; the larger goal of this work is to help determine when and how fragmentation causes loss of biodiversity and to identify management strategies that can sustain biodiversity in spite of these changes.
Juana Munoz Ucros (Horticulture)
Juana Munoz Ucros is a PhD candidate in Horticulture, working in Taryn Bauerle's lab. She is studying how plants and microbes interact in the rhizosphere under drought stress, where there is potential for these interactions to improve plant growth. Specifically, she will investigate the effect that different genotypes of shrub willow have on selecting the rhizosphere microbial communities.
Amelia Weiss (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Amelia Weiss is a PhD student in Alex Flecker’s lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology studying the resource dynamics associated with biodiversity hotspots. She focuses on the consequences of resource subsidies, which are nutrients or energy that move between ecosystems. Her research examines how subsidies drive patterns in crustacean diversity in tropical, aquatic caves. Support from the SBF is allowing Amelia to conduct population surveys and nutrient analyses along a resource gradient in Mexican caves to examine how community composition changes under different nutrient conditions. Her aim is to understand the resource dynamics supporting these unusual hotspots of endemic biodiversity.
Marie Zetsloot (Horticulture)
Marie Zwetsloot is a PhD student in Taryn Bauerle’s lab in the department of Horticulture. She is interested in the role of root-soil interactions in determining ecosystem services of both natural and managed ecosystems. Her dissertation research focuses on root growth dynamics and rhizosphere interactions of temperate forest tree species under global change. The SBF grant will help her study phenolic root exudate diversity among tree species and how this may influence soil carbon and nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems.
Natalie Bray (Entomology)
Natalie Bray is a PhD student in the Department of Entomology, studying soil arthropod ecology under Kyle Wickings. Her research focuses on the role of microarthropods in soils related to decomposition and carbon cycling, as well as microarthropods’ effects on microbial communities. She will use SBF funding to study the effects of imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide, on microarthropod communities and belowground carbon cycling in agricultural and horticultural systems.
Samar Deen (Natural Resources)
Samar Deen is a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources. She will use the SBF grant to study biological and economic consequences of coastal ocean acidification (OA) and rising sea surface temperature (SST) on species such as the bay scallop and the green sea urchin, both of which have considerable cultural and economic value in New England. Deen aims to understand how fisheries will respond to the synergistic effects of current and projected OA and SST under different management scenarios, as well as which management strategies are preferred by local stakeholder groups and the economic implications of alternative management responses. Her research will help inform managers about how resilience within communities can be increased by understanding the joint biological and economic consequences of alternative management strategies under projected OA and SST scenarios.
Morgan Eisenlord (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Morgan Eisenlord is a PhD student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She studies disease ecology of marine organisms with Drew Harvell. Her dissertation research focuses on the host-pathogen dynamics driving differential prevalence of eelgrass wasting disease caused by Labyrinthula zosterae. Her work contributes to understanding risk factors for pathogenicity development and disease emergence in the oceans, a major threat to global biodiversity. She has identified differential virulence in L. zosterae, but the role this variation plays in the disease’s severity and potential exacerbation by environmental factors is unknown. The award from the SBF fund will support her research into virulence in L. zosterae and the pathosystem’s sensitivity to climate change.
Laura Figueroa (Entomology)
Laura Figueroa is a PhD student in the Department of Entomology, studying pathogen transmission in plant-pollinator networks with Scott McArt. She is broadly interested in applied ecological research and conservation biology of pollinators. Her research focuses on determining specific factors that influence pathogen transmission of wild bees. SBF funding will allow her to explore the relationships between pollinator visitation patterns, bee and flower functional traits, and pathogen transmission in natural systems. An objective of her research is to determine flower species that promote pollinator visitation and reduce pathogen transmission of foraging bees. These flowers could be used in supplementary plantings to boost pollinator populations near agricultural areas, along roadsides, and in urban centers.
Aubrie James (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Aubrie James is a PhD candidate in Monica Geber’s lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research investigates how pollinator diversity and behavior affect the likelihood of flowering plants coexisting. Although specialist bee pollinators are essential to many plant species around the world, not much is known about how bee diversity changes in response to plant community diversity. With funding from the Atkinson Center, Aubrie will determine experimentally how specialist pollinators respond to different levels of diversity and abundance of plants in the genus Clarkia.
Erin Larson (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Erin Larson is a PhD candidate in Alex Flecker’s lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She studies how disturbances influence the functional composition of ecological communities, particularly macroinvertebrate communities in dynamic tropical stream systems. Macroinvertebrates are drivers and indicators of stream health, playing important roles in nutrient cycling and waste processing and linking aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Funding from the SBF will enable her to study, using both observational and experimental approaches, how quickly and in what order macroinvertebrates recolonize habitat following floods in Ecuadorian streams. The goal is to better understand the fundamental workings of Andean tropical headwater streams, which are under increasing stress from hydroelectric development in the region.
Cait McDonald (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Cait McDonald is a DVM/PhD student in Kelly Zamudio’s lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research interests lie in the ecology and evolution of emerging infectious diseases of wildlife. Cait’s dissertation research focuses on the amphibian-killing fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, using functional genomics techniques to identify pathogen virulence and host immune response interactions within this system. She will use funding from the SBF to identify salamander immune responses to Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, a closely related fungus that is lethal only to salamanders. Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans was discovered three years ago in Europe, and is not currently present in the US. Identifying how this fungus affects some species, but not others, will help inform disease prevention and biosecurity strategies in the country, where salamander biodiversity is higher than anywhere else on earth.
Graciela Reyes-Retana (Natural Resources)
Graciela Reyes-Retana is a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources, studying environmental policy under David Lee. Her research is focused on the intersection between natural resources management and socioeconomic development in developing countries. The SBF award will support a mixed-method approach to identify the factors that influence communities’ decisions to participate in forest management incentive programs in biodiversity hotspots in Mexico and analyze the perceived and observed environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of those programs.
Ryan Shipley (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Ryan Shipley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, working with David Winkler. He is applying emergent technologies to study the ecology and life histories of animals, in particular flying vertebrates. He will use the SBF award to develop a novel radiotransmitter to track small birds and test its application in a model system. The radiotransmitter will allow him to study how tree swallows’ pre-migratory body condition affects their movement decisions during migration and may result in long-lasting carryover effects. A thorough understanding of how migratory animals respond to a changing environment is vital as they face a world with increasing human influence.
Rachel Abbott (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)
Rachel Abbott is a PhD student studying zooplankton biogeography with Dr. Nelson Hairston, Jr. in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Her dissertation work focuses on determining mechanisms for commonness by defining biotic and abiotic factors that influence how copepod zooplankton are distributed across landscapes. Funding from the SBF will go towards determining the role of predation on copepod biogeography by measuring environmental DNA to detect zooplanktivorous fish populations and their diets in Adirondack Mountain Lakes.
James Burtis (Natural Resources)
James Burtis is a PhD student in the Department of Natural Resources working under Dr. Joseph Yavitt. His research focuses on the ecology of Ixodes scapularis (Blacklegged tick), the primary vector of Lyme disease, and many other tick borne diseases. Tick borne disease research has focused predominantly on disease transmission cycles during peaks in tick activity. James hopes to explore the impact of the soil ecosystem on tick survival during the inactive periods which make up the majority of the I. scapularis life cycle. An improved understanding of their position within the soil ecosystem will lead to better informed management practices. James also hopes to identify naturally occurring biological control agents within the soil ecosystem that maybe used for management purposes in the northeastern United States. He will use his SBF funding to rear ticks labelled with stable isotopes and track their isotopic signature through the soil ecosystem in areas with variable natural tick densities.
Stephen Durham (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Stephen Durham is a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences studying paleoecology and conservation paleobiology under Gregory Dietl. His research is focused on examining climate-related changes in lifespans of the Eastern oyster using fossil and Recent oyster shell assemblages. The award from SBF will support geochemical analyses of fossil and Recent oyster shells to estimate paleoenvironmental variables, such as temperature and salinity, and establish size-at-age relationships for both fossil and Recent oysters.
Nick Mason (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)
Nick Mason is a PhD candidate in Irby Lovette's lab in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. He is broadly interested in studying the evolutionary and ecological processes that shape biodiversity, particularly in birds. Funding provided by SBF will allow him to study how a century of desert agriculture has affected adaptive phenotypes, demography, and diet within a native population of horned larks in the Imperial Valley of southern California. His work integrates phenotypic and genomic data from museum specimens, remote sensing data, and stable isotope analyses to elucidate how populations persist and adapt to selective pressures imposed by land use, which is increasingly important for sustaining biodiversity amid human population growth.
Tim McLellan (Anthropology)
Tim McLellan is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology department. The SBF grant will be used to study non-timber forestry products in Yunnan Province, China. In particular, Tim is interested in how the introduction of new cash crops will affect the harvesting of forest resources, and what such changes might mean for biodiversity conservation in the region.
Rob Ossiboff (Animal Health Diagnostic Center)
Rob Ossiboff is postdoctoral research associate working with Dr. Elizabeth Bunting and the New York State Cooperative Wildlife Health Program at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center. Dr. Ossiboff is a veterinary pathologist with graduate training in infectious disease research who has a specific interest in disease and pathology of reptiles and amphibians. Funding from the SBF will be used in studies examining the immune and protective responses of eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), a species of giant salamander endemic to Eastern North American, following exposure to chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) fungus. The goals of the studies are to bolster reintroduction projects of this species of threatened amphibian as well as to gain a better understanding of the immune response to chytrid fungus in amphibians.
Katie Sirianni (Shoals Marine Lab)
Katie Sirianni is a Ph.D. candidate studying community and metacommunity dynamics. In nature, communities rarely exist in isolation and are instead connected to other communities by dispersal, forming a network known as a metacommunity. Metacommunities are also formed when humans fragment habitats such as forests. Though ubiquitous, metacommunity dynamics are often difficult to study because they can occur at a large spatial scale. To avoid this problem, Katie carries out her research in a remarkable natural plankton metacommunity made up of over 4000 small rock pools at Shoals Marine Lab on Appledore Island, ME. Funding from the SBF will help her to determine whether the zooplankton in these pools compete, if they are able to coexist within each pool, and how their presence in a pool is mediated by dispersal. This research has implications for other less tractable metacommunities.
Heather Connelly (Entomology)
Heather Connelly is a third year PhD candidate studying landscape ecology and ecosystem services in agriculture with Greg Loeb in the Department of Entomology. Her research examines the impact of different land uses and farm management on the composition of beneficial insect communities including both pollinators and natural enemies in terms of abundance and species richness as well as community phylogenetic diversity. An important aspect of her work is measuring the relative contribution of native pollinators to crop yield under varying landscape contexts. One specific aim of her research is to examine the potential for native perennial wildflower plantings to support resilient pollinator and natural enemy communities on farms in the Finger Lakes Region.
Gemara Gifford (Natural Resources)
Gemara Gifford is a Master’s student in Natural Resources and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Conservation Science Program under the direction of Dr. Amanda Rodewald. Her research takes place in the Guatemalan Highlands, a landscape with diverse agroecosystems and cloud forests that support indigenous Q'eqchi' Maya communities, as well as an impressive amount of bird biodiversity. Her research aims to identify the trade-offs between bird conservation and the ability of different agricultural systems (traditional and non-traditional, monocultures vs. polycultures) to provide important provisioning services, like foods and fibers, to local communities. Specifically, she aims to identify practices that optimize bird conservation and the ability of local communities to meet their nutritional and economic needs. Working with Dr. Miguel Gomez in Applied Economics and Management, this project will also consider food value-chains and economic viability of different agricultural practices. Gem is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar, and a first-generation student.
Darragh Hare (Natural Resources)
Darragh Hare is a PhD candidate in the Blossey Lab in the Department of Natural Resources. He studies the evolution of ownership and how different ownership types constrain or enable environmental conservation. He will use his SBF award to gather data on how wild life ownership is interpreted differently in jurisdictions that have laws or policies based on public trust thinking.
Abigail Hart (Natural Resources)
Abigail Hart is a graduate student in the field of Natural Resources. Her research focuses on how multi-stakeholder groups negotiate competing claims on land and natural resources. Specifically, she is interested in these processes in landscapes being managed for multiple objectives, including biodiversity conservation, agricultural production and human livelihoods and well-being, and if integrated approaches to landscape management are yielding a wider set of benefits that other approaches. This funding is allowing her to pursue this research in two forest dominated landscapes actively managed by multi-stakeholder bodies for biodiversity conservation, among other objectives under an integrated management approach called the Model Forest Framework.
Rachel Hestrin (Crop and Soil Sciences)
Rachel Hestrin is a PhD student in Dr. Johannes Lehmann’s lab in the Department of Crop and Soil Science. She is interested in plant-microbe interactions, rhizosphere ecology, and terrestrial biogeochemistry in both natural and agricultural systems. The SBF small grant will help her investigate how different soil microbial communities facilitate plant nitrogen uptake.
Chuan Liao (Natural Resources)
Chuan Liao is a PhD candidate in the field of Natural Resources. He is interested in rangeland socio-ecological system and pastoral livelihoods. He conducts his dissertation fieldwork in Borana, Ethiopia, a pastoral area that has long been subject to various external interventions and environmental challenges. Specifically, he studies phenology of rangeland vegetation, pastoralists’ ethno-botanical knowledge, and livestock resource selection pattern. He closely engages the indigenous pastoral communities in his research, and collaborates with International Livestock Research Institute and the National Herbarium of Ethiopia based in Addis Ababa University.
Maya Lim (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Maya Lim is a graduate student in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. She researches how soil metal/metalloid content shapes interactions between plants and insects. The funds provided by SBF will allow her to study how plant arsenic uptake may alter competition between plants and affect interactions with herbivorous insects. Her work will involve a field component at a local site polluted with arsenic.
Lauren Snyder (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Lauren Snyder is a PhD. student working with Dr. Alison Power in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Department. She is interested in using ecological principles to develop sustainable agricultural practices. Currently, Lauren is working in the local food system to understand how intraspecific crop diversity influences important ecosystem services, such as pest suppression and increased crop yield. Funding from the SBF will allow her to integrate tools from ecology and economics to identify profitable pest management strategies for small-scale farmers in NY State.
Allison Tracy (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Allison Tracy is a Ph.D. student studying coral disease outbreaks in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is generally interested in the modulation of host-pathogen interactions by environmental stressors and is currently focusing on the role of temperature stress and chemical pollution in coral diseases. Research that assesses diverse stressors and the potential for interactive effects is critical for understand the rising incidence of disease on many coral reefs. Allison will combine her field research with a study of public awareness of the consequences of marine diseases to identify and resolve gaps between scientific research and public knowledge. In combining these approaches, she hopes to leverage effective science communication to support conservation.
Sahas Barve (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Sahas Barve is a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He works with Professor Andre Dhondt. Sahas's research focuses on understanding the determinants of altitudinal range in montane birds. He plans to simultaneously test the importance of factors like interspecific competition and physiology in shaping Himalayan bird communities shedding light on the processes that facilitate biodiversity hotspots in supporting high species richness. The research on avian physiology will help us in determining a species' ability to adapt to the incumbent climate change. For this work, he will collaborate with Indian research institutes and engage Indian graduate students and local people in his research.
Elliot Friedman (Biological and Environmental Engineering)
Elliot Friedman is a PhD candidate in the Angenent Lab. His research focuses on the roles of dissimilatory metal-reducing bacteria in biogeochemical cycles; specifically, he is interested in combining bioelectrochemical sensors, high-throughput sequencing, environmental measurements, and multivariate statistics to further our understanding of crucial ecosystem processes. He has been working in tundra ecosystems near Barrow, Alaska to understand the effects of continued climate change on subsurface microbial processes in high-latitude peat soils. He plans to extend his work to other terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems with the goal of elucidating the links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function.
Teevrat Garg (Applied Economics and Management)
As a graduate student in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Teevrat is primarily concerned with the economics of environmental degradation in low and middle-income countries. In particular, he is understanding the link between incomes and the provision of environmental public goods such as forests and coral reefs. Teevrat is working with an interdisciplinary team of professors and graduate students in Applied Economics, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Earth & Atmospheric Sciences to analyze how economic growth in coastal regions of Indonesia affects marine health. This is part of his broader research that examines whether, as communities become richer, there exist tradeoffs or synergies across different environmental public goods.
Ted Lawrence (Natural Resources)
Ted Lawrence is a Ph.D. student in the field of Natural Resources. His research investigates how the resilience of social-ecological systems and ensuing biodiversity is affected by different natural resource management regimes (communal versus private property-based). His research sites are in Yucatan Mexico, which is the part of the Mesoamerican forests, the 3rd largest among the world's hotspots for biodiversity and tropical deforestation. His research question is "how do measured outcomes (i.e., spatial pattern and scale of development, land use, land cover, and agriculture) differ across Yucatan, Mexico between Mayan communities with communal versus private natural resource management regimes when both types of communities are exposed to similar external shocks (e.g., structural changes in the global to regional economic, political, socio-cultural and ecological systems)?".
Ana Longo (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Ana V. Longo is a Ford Fellow conducting her doctoral studies under the mentorship of Dr. Kelly Zamudio in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is interested in understanding the factors contributing to seasonal changes in host-pathogen dynamics in direct-developing frogs that are declining in their native Puerto Rico. The funds provided by the SBF will allow her understand how skin microbial communities vary with time, and test their stability and resilience to environmental changes and disease.
Paul Simonin (Natural Resources)
Paul is a PhD candidate in the Natural Resources field. His research is primarily focused on the interaction between spatial ecology and predator-prey dynamics in fish communities, and he is studying how changing gradients in the abiotic environment of lakes (e.g., water temperature) affect fish distribution patterns and subsequent trophic relationships. Paul is also interested in how these spatial community ecology questions relate to human use of aquatic and fisheries resource.
Jansen Smith (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Jansen Smith is a PhD student studying conservation paleobiology with Dr. Gregory Dietl in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. He studies species interactions in the recent past and fossil record to examine what the past can tell us about the state of nature before human impacts. His overarching research interest is in applying paleontological data and approaches to ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation.
Gui Becker (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Gui Becker is a PhD student in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. His research interests fall at the interface of spatial ecology and wildlife epidemiology, investigating how different patterns of deforestation influence amphibian migration, and how discontinuities between terrestrial and aquatic habitats (habitat split) affect amphibians with different life-history traits. He also builds spatial models and conduct field experiments to understand biotic and abiotic mechanisms behind amphibian declines caused by emerging infectious diseases.
Ian Brosnan (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Ian Brosnan is a PhD candidate in Dr. Chuck Greene's Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Lab. His research focuses on using marine acoustic telemetry and agent-based modeling to study movement, and habitat preferences of commercially and socially valuable fish species.
Courtney Couch (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
As a PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Courtney Saltonstall Couch applies a multidisciplinary approach to obtain a holistic understanding of the processes affecting coral health along the West coast of Hawaii. Her research focuses on three questions: What are the spatiotemporal patterns in overall coral health and disease? What are the roles of terrestrial input, local hydrology and host demographics in these disease patterns in the dominate reef building species? Is coral-associated microbial diversity and abundance affected by local environmental conditions?.
Ellen Crocker (Plant Pathology)
Ellen Crocker is a graduate student in Prof. Eric Nelson's lab in the Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology. She is interested in how plant pathogens shape plant community dynamics in natural ecosystems. Her research focuses on the roles of pathogens in the success of invasive plant species and seeks to better understand how pathogen community dynamics contribute to plant-soil feedbacks and apparent competition between plant species. (website)
Ben Freeman (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Ben Freeman is a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology working with Professor John Fitzpatrick. His research investigates why tropical mountains are biodiversity hotspots. He focuses on examining the complex ecological processes such as competition, predation and habitat selection that limit elevational distributions of montane birds; this information will allow him to predict the impact of climate change on bird communities.
Erin Meyer-Gutbrod (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Erin Meyer-Gutbrod is a PhD student working with Dr. Charles Greene in the Ocean Science and Technology concentration in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. She is currently modeling prey-dependent reproduction in cetaceans to define benchmarks in prey abundance that support population growth. Erin is also working on an ocean instrumentation project implementing echosounders onto an unmanned ocean sensing vehicle for use in fisheries acoustics surveys.
Renee Petipas (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Renee Petipas is working with Dr. Monica Geber in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Renee's research focuses on how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) communities help plants withstand biotic and abiotic stress. Previously, Renee worked in Kenya examining how AMF mitigate the impacts of two common plant stressors: drought and ungulate herbivory. She plans to return to Kenya this summer to examine how grazing intensity impacts both plant and fungal diversity.
David Rodriguez (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Dr. David Rodriguez is a NSF Minority Postdoctoral Fellow under the direction of Professor Kelly Zamudio, in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His research focuses on the population genomics of the frog-killing fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]), which causes the disease chytridiomycosis and is partly responsible for global amphibian declines. He seeks to describe the population dynamics of Bd in Central and South America using genomic data. The results of his research will assist managers in amphibian conservation efforts and disease mitigation.
Nathan Senner (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
PhD Candidate Nathan Senner works with Dr. John Fitzpatrick in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. His research focuses on how global climate change is altering the ability of long-distance migratory birds to successfully complete their annual cycles. He is particularly interested in understanding what management and conservation efforts can be used to enable migratory birds to track the changes in resource phenology that they encounter during their travels across the globe each year and learning at what spatial and temporal scales these species are being most directly effected by climatic change.