You are here


Current Lab Members


Valery E. Forbes, Principal Investigator

My main goals are to understand how responses to environmental stress, such as toxic chemicals, link across levels of biological organization - from molecular to ecosystem levels – and to use such understanding to improve ecological risk assessment and environmental management. Most of my work has involved aquatic invertebrates, and in particular animals that live in and feed on sediment since this is where many of the most harmful chemicals entering the environment accumulate.

Chiara AccollaChiara Accolla, Postdoctoral Associate

I am interested in modelling impacts of stressors on ecological systems. Most of my work focuses on developing models at the individual level (IBM) in order to extrapolate effects of stressors, inter- and intra-species interactions at population and higher levels of biological organization. In particular, I have worked on predator-prey interactions and currently I want to analyze the consequences of chemicals on producer-consumer dynamics.

Jeonghwan JangJeonghwan Jang, Postdoctoral Associate

My research is about investigating the microbiome which might perform critical roles for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) degradation by the marine worm Capitella teleta, an opportunistic polychaete inhabiting petroleum hydrocarbon-contaminated marine sediments. This study should help advance our knowledge of relationships between microbes and C. teleta and suggest future directions for research into bioremediation of oil spills in sediments.


Adrian MooreAdrian Moore, Postdoctoral Associate

I am interested in understanding the impacts of aquatic pollutants on freshwater mussel populations. My previous work focused on understanding the impacts of nitrate pollution on freshwater mussel populations using laboratory experimentation and population modeling. The goal of my current research is to develop an approach utilizing life-history analysis, individual-based modeling, and Dynamic Energy Budget theory to assess risks to freshwater mussel species from potential stressors in support of ecological risk assessment.


Maxime VaugeoisMaxime Vaugeois, Postdoctoral Associate

My research is focused on modeling organisms at the individual or sub-individual scale to analyze the emerging dynamics at the population scale using Individual-Based-Modeling (IBM). I am mainly interested in the impacts on fish populations of different stressors such as estrogens and other contaminants of emerging concern. I am also interested in predator-prey systems and particularly in impacts of stressors on them. 

Past Lab Members

Nika GalicNika Galic, Postdoctoral Associate

I am interested in quantifying impacts of stressors on ecological systems, using experimental and modeling approaches. A lot of my work has focused on developing ecological models to translate stressor effects on individuals to consequences for populations and ecosystem services. Stressors include chemicals such as pesticides, invasive species and impacts of global warming. Currently I am working on a trait-based food web model to assess the consequences of multiple stressors on aquatic ecosystem structure and function.

Current Position: Ecological Modeler, Syngenta, Greensboro, NC

Rebecca HochsteinRebecca Hochstein, Postdoctoral Associate

My project involves the investigation of the gut microbiome of the marine worm Capitella teleta, an opportunistic marine polychaete often found at high densities after oil spills and in association with other organic pollution. The overall goal is to explore the relationship between the worm and its microbiome by examining both how contaminant exposure alters the microbiome and the role of bacteria and archaea in contaminant metabolism and sediment bioremediation. 

Current Position: Senior Application Development Microbiologist, 3M, Greater Minneapolis - St. Paul Area, MN

Purvaja Marella

Purvaja Marella, Junior majoring in Biology in the College of Biological Sciences

I am a junior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. I’m majoring in Biology and planning to minor in public health and child psychology. I have always been interested in science and how it relates to our daily lives. Through my experience in this lab, I’ve learned about DEB theory and its applications to ecotoxicology. One of the main concepts this group has focused on is the extrapolation of data on the individual level to a population using individual based models. It’s very exciting to see how models can predict what happens on a large scale. There is so much more I can learn and I’m glad I’ve decided to be a part of this group of mentors.

Pamela Rueda-Cediel Pamela Rueda-Cediel, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Entomology, College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, UMN

I am interested in the application of population viability analysis in conservation biology, ecological risk assessments and decision-making. I want to develop a functional framework with concrete guidelines on the use of population viability analysis in such settings. For instance, currently I want to determine the most appropriate way to model population dynamics for listed plant species within the “fast-slow” continuum of life history variation. I am also fascinated by the study of population dynamics (theoretical and empirical aspects of it) and how different ecological variables can correlate with extinction risk. Lastly, as an ecologist and nature lover, I am concerned with how climate change impacts biodiversity, therefore I am interested in the incorporation of climate change in population viability analysis.