Graduate student alumni directory

Alumni: To be added to this list, send appropriate information to

Sonia Altizer
Noelle Beckman
Justin Becknell
Amy Broadmoore
Leslie Brandt
Anja Brunet
Emily Bruns

Paul Cabe
Virginia Card
Chris Clark
Meggan Craft
Nathan DeJager
Hazel Delcourt
Aimee Dunlap-Lehtila
Ray Dybzinski
Jacob Egge
Julie Etterson
Joseph Fargione
Alan Flory
M.S. Jesse Ford
Amy Galford
Ian Gilby
Jon Grinnell
James Grover
Paul Gugger
Ed Hall
Stacey Halpern


Stan Harpole
Peter Hawthorne
Leif Hembre
Dan Hernandez
Jim Hood
Chih-Ming Hung
Meghan Jacobson
Andy Jones
Bonnie Keeler
Ted Kennedy
Jon Kenning
Dawn Kitchen
Chris Klausmeier
Kathleen Knight
Kristin Kramer
Bill Lamberts
Susan Lewis
Elena Litchman
Elizabeth Vinson Lonsdorf
Dan MacNulty
Paul Mayer
Kendra McLauchlan
Colleen McLinn
Lauren Merlo
Charles Mitchell
J. William Munger
Tim Parshall
Emily Peters
Beth Pettitt

Katherine Phillips
Martha Phillips
Scott Pletcher
Jeff Port
Michelle Prysby
James Russell
Mary Santelmann
David Scheel
Evan Siemann
Val Smith
Michelle Solensky
John Stanton-Geddes
Robert Sterner
Ted Stets
Alison Stevens
Jeff Stevens
Sharon Strauss
Edward Swain
Patricia Swain
Ward Testa
Laura Van Riper
Harriet Van Vleck
Alejandro Velez
Amanda Voight
Stuart Wagenius
Peyton West
Kyle Whittinghill
Kiyoko Yokota

Sonia Altizer (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1998
Major Advisor(s): Drs. Don Alstad and Karen Oberhauser
Thesis Title: Ecological and evolutionary interactions between monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus, and the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Emory University
Statement: My research interests focus on the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in wildlife populations. I am also interested in the ecology, genetics, and conservation of monarch butterflies throughout their worldwide range. After postdoctoral positions at Princeton University (1999-2000) and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (2000-01), I joined the Department of Environmental Studies at Emory University in August 2001, and am also part of the graduate program in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution.

Noelle Beckman (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2010
Major Advisor(s): Drs. Helene Muller-Landau and Claudia Neuhauser
Thesis Title: Effects of vertebrates, insects and pathogens on patterns of early plant recruitment in tropical forests
Current Position and Location: Population Biology Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Statement: I will expand my expertise in ecology by linking population dynamics of Paleotropical tree species to ecosystem-level processes. With the proposed research, I would determine the influence of functional leaf traits and edaphic factors on decomposition processes of leaf litter and how these are expected to change with predicted shifts in precipitation.

Justin Becknell (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2012
Current Position and Location: Visiting Assistant Professor, Carleton College in Northfield, MN. 

Leslie Brandt (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavio, 2009
Major Advisor(s): Dr. Jennifer King
Current Position and Location:Presidential Management Fellow, US Forest Service
Interests:ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, climate change adaptation and mitigation, climate change policy
Statement:I work in the National Forest System's regional offics in Milwaukee, WI where I work with the Northern Institute of Applied Carbon Science on translating scienific research on climate change to help inform forest management decisions. I am currently focusing on a climate change response framework for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, working as part of an interdisciplinary team of scientists, forest managers, and technology transfer specialists to help address mitigation and adaptation options for the forest and surrounding lands. Website:

Amy Broadmoore (
Degree: M.S., Ecology, 2003; J.D., 2006
Major Advisor(s): Dr. Sarah Hobbie
Current Position and Location:Air Quality Program Director, Iowa Environmental Council; Sustainable Agriculture Instructor, Grinnell College
Interests:environmental and agricultural law and policy

Anja Brunet Rossinni (
Degree: Ph.D., Zoology, 2003
Major Advisor(s): William Schmid
Thesis Title: "Aging and mitochondrial efficiency in the little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus"
Current Position: Santa Clara University, San Francisco, CA
Research Interests: Bat biology and natural history, comparative biology of aging, mitochondrial efficiency and free radical production.
Statement:Since graduating in 2003, I spent a year each as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Steven Austad and as a faculty member at Normandale Community College and the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse. I currently hold a position at Santa Clara University in the San Francisco Bay Area. The educational philosophy of this University is a good match with my own pedagogical goals and I am heavily vested in the design of teaching strategies that capitalize on technology to promote critical and interdisciplinary thinking, enhance student engagement in the lecture hall, and highlight student learning outcomes. My research interests lie in elucidating physiological mechanisms underpinning suspended animation and differences in lifespan.

Emily Bruns (
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Associate with Dr. Janis Antonovics at the University of Virginia.

Paul Cabe (
Degree: PhD, 1994
Major Advisor: Kendall Corbin
Thesis Title: "The population genetics of introduced species: The European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) in North America"
Current Position: Associate Professor of Biology, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia
Current Interests: My current interests fall within the field of molecular ecology and depend on microsatellite analysis and similar techniques. Recent projects have examined the effect of roads on terrestrial salamander dispersal, gene flow in flowering dogwood, and paternity in wild bird and salamander populations.

Virginia Card (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1994
Major Advisor(s): H. E. Wright
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, Metropolitan State University, St. Paul MN

Chris Clark (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2007
Major Advisor(s):Drs. David Tilman and Claudia Neuhauser
Current Position and Location: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Wu lab, Arizona State University
Research Interests: Plant community ecology, ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, global change.
Statement: My general field of interest is in understanding how plant communities operate, both in the context of nutrient and energy transfers between populations of different species under unperturbed conditions, and how human activity alters these interactions. Under this framework, I am interested in many ecosystem processes including plant growth, competition, decomposition, and nutrient cycling and retention, and use a variety of empirical and modeling techniques to explore different aspects of these processes. My dissertation research was primarily focused on the impacts of nitrogen deposition (N) in plant communities in Minnesota, and their potential to recover structure and function following release from this anthropogenic perturbation. I am actively extending this research to other ecosystems in North America and more recently to grasslands in China in my current position in Dr. Wu's lab at ASU. In addition, I have been extending my experience to other trophic levels and research paradigms, examining stoichiometric shifts in grasslands of the Eurasian Steppe in response to heavy grazing. In the near future, I hope to become involved with setting policy targets for reducing N deposition across the United States in an effort to curb biodiversity loss.

Meggan Craft
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2008
Major Advisor(s): Dr. Craig Packer
Current Position and Location: NSF International Research Fellow, Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, University of Glasgow, UK
Research Interests: disease dynamics and persistence, interspecific interactions, mulithost diseases, animal behavior and movement, zoonoses
Statement: My research takes a multidisciplinary approach that uses methods from epidemiology, ecology, animal behavior and mathematics to investigate disease dynamics in animal populations. I combine empirical data from my fieldwork with theoretical models to explore multi-host pathogen dynamics and persistence. My research currently uses canine distemper virus as a case study of a multi-host pathogen. I focus on African carnivores in the Serengeti ecosystem (Tanzania).

Nathan DeJager (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2008
Major Advisor(s): John Pastor
Research Interests: My research focuses on the spatial and temporal dynamics of landscapes, ecosystems, and populations. As a graduate student, I studied the interactions among spatial patterns of plant growth, species composition and soil fertility and the foraging behavior and population dynamics of moose (Alces alces) at Isle Royale National Park, MI and in northern coastal Sweden. Recently, I started studying the interactive effects of herbivory and flooding on tree recruitment in the floodplain forests of the Upper Mississippi River. Finally, I currently collaborate with other scientists to better understand the role spatial heterogeneity plays in the population dynamics of submersed vegetation and freshwater mussels as well as aquatic nutrient dynamics in the Upper Mississippi River.
Current Position and Location: Ecologist, USGS, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, La Crosse, WI, USA

Hazel Delcourt (
Degree: Ph.D.,Ecology, 1978
Major Advisor(s): Herbert E. Wright, Jr.
Thesis Title: Late Quaternary Vegetation History of the Eastern Highland Rim and adjacent Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee
Current Position and Location: Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville 37996
Research Interests: Quaternary paleoecology, landscape ecology, historical ecology
Statement: Since graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1978, I have been active in the Ecological Society of America, where I served as Secretary from 1986-1992. I now serve on the board of editors of the international journal Ecosystems. My current position at the University of Tennessee is tenured, Full Professor, in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.My research focuses in part on the distributional history of eastern deciduous forest species,(see the chapter in the 1998 edition of Barbour and Billings "North American Terrestrial Vegetation").Together with my husband and colleague, Paul Delcourt (Ph.D., University of Minnesota Geology, 1978, now Professor of Ecology and Geological Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville), my paleoecological research has been concentrated in the southern Appalachian Mountains, the Ozarks, and elsewhere across the southeastern United States. We teach a graduate class in Quaternary Ecology based upon our 1991 textbook published by Chapman & Hall. Recently, we have been looking at the paleoecological and archaeological evidence for ecological effects of prehistoric Native American activities, the subject of a book we are currently writing for the Studies in Ecology series from Cambridge University Press. Another research area in which we have been active is in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we and our graduate students have been studying Holocene landscape and climate history based out of our summer cabin on the north shore of Lake Michigan.

Aimee Dunlap-Lehtila
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2009
Major Advisor(s):Dr. David Stephens
Thesis Title: Change and reliability in the evolution of learning and memory
Current Position and Location:PERT Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Center for Insect Sciences/Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
Research Interests:I am working on the evolution of learning and decision making using bumblebees.

Ray Dybzinski
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2007
Major Advisor(s):Dr. David Tilman
Current Position and Location:Postdoctoral researcher, Pacala lab, Princeton University
Research Interests:Mechanisms that maintain plant species diversity, light competition, soil resource competition, plant-soil feedbacks

Jacob Egge
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Dr. Andrew Simons
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor of Biology, Pacific Lutheran University
Thesis Title: Patterns of morphological, molecular, and sting evolution in madtom catfishes (Ictaluridae: /Noturus/) with insights into their phylogenetic relationships
Research Interests: Evolution and phylogeography of North American freshwater fishes

Julie Etterson (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2000
Major Advisor(s): Ruth Shaw
Thesis Title: Evolutionary potential of the annual legume, Chamaecrista fasciculata, in relation to global warming
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Duluth
Statement: I am interested in phenotypic and genetic change in natural populations in response to different biotic and abiotic conditions. I employ quantitative genetic approaches to characterize the underlying genetic architecture of populations and to elucidate patterns of natural selection. An understanding of the genetic basis of traits provides insight into the potential for evolutionary change and the limits to natural selection. In my dissertation work, I estimated the evolutionary potential of populations in relation to global warming. This work predicted that evolutionary change in populations of the native prairie annual, Chamaecrista fasciculata, would be severely constrained by among-trait additive genetic correlations that are not in accord with the direction of selection. In my postdoctoral work, I explored the influence of maternal and paternal environmental and genetic effects on evolutionary response in different light environments in a mountain population of Campanula americana. Currently, I am focusing on ecological and evolutionary dynamics of exotic species invasions. Specifically, I am interested in changes in selection and evolutionary response in native plant communities in response to the presence of an exotic. Genetic and demographic parameters jointly influence the persistence of native plant populations experiencing invasion. My interest is to merge evolutionary and ecological aspects of population dynamics and apply them to problems of conservation concern.

Joseph Fargione (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2004
Major Advisor(s): David Tilman
Thesis Title: Biodiversity and Community Structure in a Tallgrass Prairie: Consequences of Resource Competition in Space and Time
Current Position and Location: Regional Science Director, Nature Conservancy based in Minneapolis, MN. The central US region includes 13 states, stretching from North Dakota to Indiana and Minnesota to Texas. Joe's research interests at TNC focus on biofuels, wind energy, climate change, restoration, and improving monitoring efforts. He is particularly interested in understanding how market mechanisms such as sustainable forestry, bioenergy production, and payments for carbon offsets or other ecosystem services can promote land uses that maintain biodiversity.

Alan Flory (
Degree: M.S., EEB, 2009
Major Advisor(s): David Tilman and Sarah Hobbie

M.S. Jesse Ford (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology & BB, 1984
Major Advisor(s): Eville Gorham
Thesis Title: The Influence of Lithology on Ecosystem Development in New England: A Comparative Paleoecological Study
Current Position and Location: Research Associate Professor, Oregon State University
Research Interests: atmosphere/biosphere interactions, paleoecology, ecosystems evolution, elevating the level of discourse with respect to local knowledge (including indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge)
Statement: Ecosystems change over time, both structurally (vertical and horizontal structure, species composition and relative abundance) and functionally (energy flow, cycling of nutrients, contaminants, and system-neutral compounds). Paleoecology is one tool that can help us understand the rates and patterns of ecosystem change, and how anthropogenic activities have affected those rates and patterns. Ecosystem evolution is a set of natural process about which we know surprisingly little. Much of my research is directed towards identifying patterns and rates of change in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems using a variety of tools, including paleoecology, comparative analysis, and traditional and local knowledge. Current work in this area involves analysis of effects of land use and geology on in-stream condition in the northern Oregon Coast Range. Humans have become major actors in ecosystem evolution. Another part of my research is directed towards understanding the regional extent, magnitude, and effects of chemical stressors of anthropogenic origin. Most recently, I have participated as a U.S. Key Expert in the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program as a lead in the development of the state-of-the-science report on Heavy Metals in the Arctic. On a more philosophical level, I am interested in the relationships among human institutions and ecological systems, and how these complex adaptive systems change over time. On a more practical level, I have been working within the Ecological Society of America to establish a space for discussion of the role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in ecosystem science and environmental management.

Amy Galford (
Degree: M.S., 2001
Major Advisor: Robert Sterner
Thesis Title: Daphnia pulicaria induced higher food quality without reduced food quantity in an oligotrophic enclosure experiment
Current position: Extension Associate, Cornell University

Ian Gilby (
Degree: Ph.D., 2004
Major Advisor: Anne Pusey
Thesis Title: Hunting and meat sharing among the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park, Tanzania
Current position: Postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Anthropology, Harvard University.
Ian's Web Site

Jon Grinnell (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1994
Major Advisor(s): Craig Packer
Thesis Title: Cooperation and communication in coalitions of male lions
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College
Research Interests: Behavioral ecology, conservation
[Jon's Web Site]

James Grover (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1988
Major Advisor(s): David Tilman
Thesis Title: Resource Competition in a Variable Environment: An Experimental Approach using Algal Communities.
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington
Research Interests: Limnology, Algal Ecology, Theoretical Ecology
Statement: My research interests lie in resource competition, nutrient dynamics and population and community ecology. On the theoretical side, I have worked to extend basic theories of competition for nutrients to include realistic ecological complications such as temporal variability and trophic structure. On the experimental side, I use algal cultures and observations of limnetic phytoplankton to test predictions of theory. Most recently, I have become interested in how basic processes involving nutrient and algal dynamics relate to applications in water quality studies, especially in lakes in warm climates. I am currently on the faculty of a Biology Department, where I teach courses in limnology, modeling and biometry, and environmental sciences.

Paul Gugger (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2010
Major Advisor(s): Jeannine Cavender-Bares and Shinya Sugita
Thesis Title:Phylogeography of Douglas-fir: testing hypotheses from the fossil record
Current Position and Location: Postdoctoral Scholar, Sork lab, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
Research Interests: ecological genomics, phylogeography, paleoecology, trees

Edward Hall (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2006
Major Advisor(s): Jim Cotner
Thesis Title: Interacting Effects of Temperature and Nutrients on Natural Bacterioplankton Communities
Current Position and Location: Post-doc, University of Vienna
Research Interests: Limnology

Stacey Halpern (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2003
Major Advisor(s): Ruth Shaw and Patrice Morrow
Thesis Title: Evaluating the Potential for Adaptation to Climate Change in Lupinus perennis
Current Position and Location: Post-doc, Florida State University
Statement: My research explores the effect of changing environmental contexts on basic ecological and evolutionary processes. Although environmental variation through space and time is a central feature of most natural systems, we are only beginning to understand how it affects processes such as adaptation, species interactions, and population dynamics. My thesis research investigated the effects of anthropogenic climate change on a perennial plant population. Specifically, I evaluated the potential for adaptation, focusing on the juvenile stages that I had determined were most sensitive to changing conditions. For seeds, the earliest life-history stage, I also examined the effects of different abiotic and biotic environments on individual seedling performance as well as the evolution of seed size. My future research plans expand the environmental context to include interactions with other species. In collaborative projects, I am investigating how changes in both the biotic and abiotic environment affect herbivory, pollination, and the evolution of plant traits associated with defense, attraction, and invasiveness.

Stan Harpole (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2005
Major Advisor: Dr. David Tilman
Thesis Title: Limiting resources and patterns of species abundance and diversity
Current Position and Location: Post Doctoral Researcher, Suding Lab, University of California Irvine
Research Interests: Plant community ecology, resource competition, biodiversity, biological invasions, species traits, ecosystem ecology
Statement: My current research focuses on exploring possible positive feedback mechanisms that might drive California grassland communities to either exotic or native domination. Other current research topics include resource-based explanations of productivity-diversity patterns, mechanisms of species overyielding in response to diversity, and the effect of global change on competition-colonization tradeoffs.

Leif Hembre (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2002
Major Advisor(s): Robert Megard
Thesis Title: Effects of Predation on the Demography and Genetics of a Daphnia Population.
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Hamline University, St. Paul, MN
Research Interests: Limnology, Zooplankton Ecology, Evolutionary Biology

Dan Hernandez (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Sarah Hobbie
Thesis Title: Plant-microbe interactions in oak savanna: controls on carbon and nitrogen cycling
Current Position and Location:Post-doctoral researcher, Zavaleta lab, University of California Santa Cruz

Jim Hood (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2010
Major Advisor(s): Jacques Finlay and Bob Sterner
Thesis Title: Consumer nutrient stoichiometry: patterns, homeostasis, and links with fitness
Current Position and Location:Postdoctoral Researcher, Montana State University; currently working and living in Reykjavik, Iceland
Research Interests:Ecological stoichiometry, nutrient cycling, stream ecology, limnology. Current work focuses on the influence of global warming on stream nutrient cycles and metabolism.

Peter Hawthorne (

Chih-Ming Hung (

Current Position: Postdoctoral position in the Department of Life Science at National Taiwan Normal University.

Meghan Jacobson (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2012
Major Advisor(s): James Cotner
Thesis Title: Biological and Photochemical Degradation of Dissolved Organic Carbon in Peatland Ecosystems
Current Position and Location: Limnologist, Emmons & Olivier Resources, Inc.
Statement: I specialize in the analysis of in-lake water quality and food webs. I use long-term chemical + biological data to predict changes in lake water quality resulting from changes in phosphorus loading or food web structure and recommend appropriate management practices that improve water quality.

Andy Jones (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2006
Major Advisor(s): Robert M. Zink
Thesis Title: Evolutionary History of Philippine Birds
Current Position and Location: William A. and Nancy R. Klamm Endowed Chair of Ornithology and Head of Department of Ornithology, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland, OH
Research Interests: Evolutionary history of birds, especially phylogeography. Current work focuses on birds of the Philippines and the Appalachian mountains.

Bonnie Keeler (
Degree: M.S., EEB, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Sarah Hobbie
Thesis Title:Long-term nitrogen additions alter soil and litter microbial enzyme activity in eight forested and grassland sites - Implications for litter and SOM decomposition
Current Position and Location: Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment

Ted Kennedy (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2002
Major Advisor(s): Sarah Hobbie; Co-Advisor: Ray Newman
Thesis Title: The Causes and Consequences of Plant Invasions"
Current Position and Location: Post-doctoral researcher, USGS, Flagstaff, AZ

Jon Kenning
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2007
Major Advisor(s):Dr. Jim Cotner
Current Position and Location:
Research Interests:

Dawn Kitchen (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1999
Major Advisor(s): Anne E. Pusey
Thesis Title: Aggression and Assessment Among Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) Social Groups.
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State
Research Interests: sociality, assessment, fighting, communication, dispersal, cooperation
Statement: I am broadly interested in social behavior, communication, cooperation and aggression in non-human primates. Most of my research has focused on the role of loud calls in mediating male-male competition. As a post-doctoral scientist in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania (1999-2004), I examined the wahoo vocalizations of chacma baboons in Botswana. As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota (1993-1999), I examined the howling bouts of black howler monkeys in Belize. In 2004 I joined the Department of Anthropology at the Ohio State University. My research now takes me to Guyana to explore social cognition in capuchin monkeys.

Chris Klausmeier (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2000
Major Advisor(s): Claudia Neuhauser, Dave Tilman
Thesis Title: The Role of Spatial Heterogeneity in Ecological Communities
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, School of Biology, Georgia Tech
Research Interests: theoretical ecology, limnology, plant ecology
Web Site

Kathleen S. Knight (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2006
Advisor: Peter Reich
Current Position: Research Ecologist, USDA Forest Service
Research Interests: Ecology of forest ecosystems and invasive species
Statement: My dissertation research on Rhamnus cathartica and Prunus serotina focused on factors (including overstory tree species, forest canopy gaps, competition from native plants, escape-from-enemies, and scale-dependent invasion patterns) that may affect invasibility. Currently, my research addresses successional changes that will result from the Emerald Ash Borer invasion, which is predicted to eliminate ash (Fraxinus) species.

Kristin Kramer (
Degree: Ph.D., Zoology, 2001
Advisor: Elmer Birney and William Schmid
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Brain-Body Center, University of Illinois at Chicago
Statement: My research is aimed at understanding the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying social behavior in mammals. Regulation of social behavior is complex and involves multiple factors including central production of the neuropeptides arginine vasopressin and oxytocin, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and neuropeptide and steroid receptor distribution. In monogamous species males frequently display many behaviors typically associated with females, such as parental care and prosocial behavior outside of the context of mating. It seems that the "feminized" behavior of social males would result from a central nervous system remodeled to resemble that of the female, however there is sexual dimorphism in the underlying neuroendocrine systems in monogamous species. I believe that it is the interactions between neuropeptides, the HPA, and steroid receptors that determine social behavior rather than any one system acting independently. My present and continuing research plans are to study the interaction of these factors in the development of patterns of social behavior.

Bill Lamberts (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1999
Major Advisor(s): Joseph Shapiro
Thesis Title: The effect of pH on cyanobacterial mortality in freshwater systems: the role of viruses
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, College of St. Benedict and St. John's University
Research Interests: plankton ecology
[Bill's Web Site]

Susan Lewis (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1993
Major Advisor(s): Anne Pusey
Thesis Title: Roosting Ecology and Social Behavior of the Pallid Bat, Antrozous pallidus
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor and Chair of Biology, Director of the Howard T. Greene Field Station, and Director of Faculty Development; Carroll College
Research Interests: Social behavior, parent-offspring interactions, and cooperative behavior. My students and I are currently studying factors that influence parental care in amphipods, a freshwater crustacean.

Elena Litchman (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1997
Major Advisor(s): Robert Sterner, David Tilman
Thesis Title: Competition and Coexistence of Phytoplankton under Fluctuating Light
Current Position and Location: Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
Research Interests: Phytoplankton ecology, limnology, oceanography

Elizabeth Vinson Lonsdorf (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2003
Major Advisor(s): Anne Pusey
Thesis Title: The development, acquisition and transmission of a tool-use skill in wild chimpanzees
Current Position and Location: Director, the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago and Faculty member, Committee on Evolutionary Biology, University of Chicago
Research Interests: the intersection of behavioral ecology and conservation biology, behavioral development, learning and cognition, wildlife disease
Statement: My current position is as director the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at the Lincoln Park Zoo. We conduct conservation, cognitive, physiological and behavioral research in both captive and field settings. I also hold a faculty position at the University of Chicago in the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. I continue to collaborate closely with Anne Pusey and colleagues in EEB through my research on chimpanzees at Gombe National Park. My current research projects involve monitoring the health and understanding disease risks to wild chimpanzees, conducting research on mother-infant interactions in wild chimpanzees, and studies of social learning in chimpanzees and gorillas.

Dan MacNulty (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Craig packer
Thesis Title: Development, senescence, and cooperation in the predatory behavior of a social carnivore, /Canis lupus
Current Position and Location:Post-doctoral research scientist, Michigan Technological University
Research Interests:

Paul Mayer (
Degree: Ph.D., Conservation Biology, 1998
Major Advisor(s): Susan Galatowitsch and John Tester
Thesis Title: Using indicators of community structure and ecosystem function to assess the biological integrity and recovery of restored prairie wetlands
Current Position and Location: Ecologist, US Environmental Protection Agency
Research Interests: Ecological indicators, biological invasions, ecosystem effects of biological diversity, ecosystem restoration
Statement: I am employed as an Ecologist with the US EPA, National Risk Management Research Laboratory in Ada, OK where I lead several projects. In the first, I am investigating the effects of exotic grass invasion (Festuca arundinacea) on litter decomposition in old fields. In the second, my colleagues at Oklahoma State University and I are studying the role of animal dispersers, plant diversity, and N deposition on invasive ability of Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virgiana). Finally, my colleagues at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the US Geological Survey and I are conducting research in Baltimore to assess the effectiveness of stream restoration on C supply, N flux, and denitrification in an urban stream of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Kendra McLauchlan (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2004
Major Advisor(s): Sarah Hobbie
Thesis Title: "Forest clearance and plant cultivation by prehistoric people in southwestern Ohio"
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Research Interests: terrestrial paleo-ecosystem ecology
Statement: After leaving UMN, I held a post-doctoral position in the Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire with a grant called "Sustainable New England" from the Luce Foundation. I developed several projects that combined my training in vegetation reconstruction on millennial timescales and ecosystem ecology. I am currently continuing to develop this research program on the grasslands of the U.S. Great Plains and forests of eastern North America. Some areas of research involve techniques for quantitative vegetation reconstruction and interpretation of novel proxy records in sediments, soils, and tree-rings to reconstruct past ecosystem function to provide context for modern global change. Geography is a broad and interesting discipline and I enjoy my new colleagues.

Colleen McLinn (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2006
Major Advisor(s): David W. Stephens
Thesis Title: The economic basis of animal information use and communication
Current Position and Location: Content Information Specialist, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
Research Interests: Integrating psychology with behavioral ecology; learning and decision-making; the value of information; environmental certainty and signal reliability in information use and communication
Statement: The Macaulay Library has the world's largest collection of animal sounds and associated video recordings. I serve as a liaison to the K-12 community by developing new curricula and using multimedia to enrich existing teaching. In particular, I focus on using animal behavior to teach STEM disciplines such as physics. For example, a current project uses sound production in birds to teach physics concepts about waves. This allows me to capitalize on my interdisciplinary graduate work in animal behavior, and also to serve an audience I grew to love working with as an NSF GK-12 Fellow in the EEB department.

Lauren Merlo (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2005
Major Advisor(s): Antony Dean
Thesis Title: An Empirical Test of the Concomitantly Variable Condon Hypothesis
Current Position and Location: Postdoc
Research Interests:

Charles Mitchell (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 2001
Advisor: David Tilman
Thesis Title: Global Environmental Change and Foliar Fungal Plant Disease: Testing the potential for interactive effects in a grassland ecosystem
Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University, Ithaca NY
Research Interests: Ecology of infectious disease, global change, plant ecology, linkages between community and ecosystem ecology, plant-microbe interactions, biological invasions

J. William Munger 
Degree: M.S. Ecology, 1981
Major Advisor(s): Eville Gorham
Thesis Title: Environmental controls and ecological consequences of regional precipitation chemistry in Minnesota
Current Position and Location: Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University
Research Interests: Atmospheric Chemistry, atmosphere/biosphere exchanges, nutrient deposition, carbon storage
[J. William's Web Site]

Tim Parshall (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1998
Major Advisor(s): Margaret Davis
Thesis Title: Forest stand invasion and expansion: a 2500-year history of hemlock at its western range limit
Current Position and Location: Postdoc, Harvard University
Research Interests: Paleoecology, historical ecology

Emily Peters (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2010
Major Advisor(s): Joseph McFadden
Thesis Title: The Impact of Trees on Temporal Variability in Urban and Water Budgets
Current Position and Location: Forest Ecologist, Boreal Forest Resilience Project, Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
Research Interests:

Beth Pettitt (

Degree: Ph.D, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2012
Major Advisor(s): Dr. Mark Bee
Thesis Title: Paternal effort in relation to acoustically mediated mate choice in a neotropical frog
Current Position and Location: Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN
Statement: I currently hold a faculty position in the Biology Department of CSB/SJU teaching cellular and molecular biology as well as organismal biology.

Katherine Phillips (

Martha Phillips (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1993
Major Advisor(s): Eville Gorham
Thesis Title: Wetland Plant Communities and Factors Influencing Plant Distributions at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area, Minnesota
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, The College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, MN
Research Interests: wetland ecology, plant physiological ecology, plant community ecology, restoration ecology, the impacts of exotic species
Statement: I have been in the Biology Dept. at the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota since the fall of 1993. I teach General Biology, Plant Biology, and Ecology for biology majors and two non-majors courses: Environmental Biology and Plants, People, & the Environment. My scientific research interests include wetland ecology, plant community ecology, mechanisms of plant competition, restoration ecology, and the impacts of exotic species. I have continued to collect data on permanent plots that I set up in wetlands at the Cedar Creek Natural History Area in 1988. My most recent project is a study of the effects of buckthorn removal on plant communities in the woods on the campus of the College of St. Catherine. I am also actively engaged in development of effective pedagogical techniques in teaching biology. Most recently, I designed a supportive companion course to General Biology I called The Biology Resource Seminar, which is aimed at helping at-risk students be successful in their first semester of biology.
[Martha's Web Site]

Scott Pletcher (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1998
Major Advisor(s): Jim Curtsinger
Thesis Title: Mutation and the evolution of age-specific mortality rates: Experimental results and statistical developments
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Department of molecular and human genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston TX
Statement: Since graduating from the U in December 1998, I spent a little over a year in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, after which I did a nearly 3 year post-doc in London in Linda Partridge's lab. I am now in the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor in Houston. My lab studies the genetics of aging in Drosophila. We couple the power of demographic analysis with advanced genetic techniques to understand the molecular mechanisms that influence age-dependent physiological deterioration in the fly. We are also investigating the molecular genetic basis of environmental manipulations, such as caloric restriction, which have been shown to extend lifespan.

Jeff Port (
Degree: Ph.D. 1998
Major Advisor(s): D. Frank McKinney
Thesis Title: Reproductive strategies of an arboreal dabbling duck: the Speckled Teal (Anas flavirostris) in eastern Argentina.
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor of Biology, Bethel University, St. Paul
Research Interests: I continue my interests in waterfowl behavior and ecology but more recently have been investigating questions related to habitat use by prairie songbirds here in the midwest. I also currently operate a MAPS banding station in collaboration with Anoka County.

Michelle Prysby (
Degree: M.S., 2001
Major Advisor(s): Karen Oberhauser
Thesis Title: Temporal and geographical variation in monarch egg and larval densities (Danaus plexippus): An ecological application of citizen science.
Current Position and Location:Virginia Master Naturalist Program Coordinator, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation
Statement: My interests focus on citizen science and the involvement of volunteers in scientific research, particularly in ecology and natural resources. I have an Extension appointment at Virginia Tech coordinating a statewide volunteer training and service program that engages Virginians in natural resource education, citizen science, and stewardship.

James Russell (
Degree: Ph.D. 2004
Major Advisor(s): Tom Johnson
Thesis Title: The Holocene Paleolimnology and Paleoclimatology of Lake Edward, Uganda-Congo
Current Position and Location: Research Associate, Large Lakes Observatory and Limnological Research Center
Research Interests: Paleoclimatology based on lake sediment cores, Tropical paleoclimatology and paleolimnology, particularly African lakes, Lacustrine biogeochemical cycling, sulfur cycling, Carbonate sedimentology

Mary Santelmann (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1988
Major Advisor(s): Eville Gorham
Thesis Title: The Ecology and Distribution of Carex exilis: An Experimental Approach
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Research, Oregon State University
Research Interests: Ecosystems, wetlands, aquatic chemistry, landscape ecology, biogeography
Statement: My current research is in the area of design and evaluation of land use alternatives for watersheds. I am involved with two specific projects, one in the agricultural midwest, the other (just beginning) in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. In addition to being the principal investigator on the cornbelt project, I am working on modeling the response of plant species, particularly those associated with wetlands, to different land use and management practices. Summarizing the multiple assessment endpoints (water quality, plant and animal biodiversity, economic impact, human perception) and integration of these multiple responses to the future alternatives will be the final step in the project for 1999.
[Mary's Web Site]

David Scheel (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1992
Major Advisor(s): Craig Packer
Current Position and Location: Associate Scientist, Prince William Sound Science Center (Cordova AK) & Lecturer, St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY)
Research Interests: Predator-prey ecology, habitat use, game theory, cooperation. Current work on the Giant Pacific Octopus & killer whales
[David's Web Site]

Evan Siemann (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1997
Major Advisor(s): David Tilman
Thesis Title: Controls of the diversity and structure of grassland insect communities
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Rice University
Research Interests: Community ecology
[Evan's Web Site]

Val Smith (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1982
Major Advisor(s): Joseph Shapiro and David Tilman, co-advisors
Thesis Title: The Light and Nutrient Dependence of Phytoplankton Productivity
Current Position and Location: Associate Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas
Research Interests: community and ecosystem ecology; limnology; biogeochemistry; ecology of infectious diseases
Statement: I am currently an Associate Professor at the University of Kansas, and am past director of the Environmental Studies Program, a large (ca. 300 majors) undergraduate major. My research interests focus on the effects of resources on the structure and function of biological communities, ranging from microbes to fish.

Michelle Solensky (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2003
Major Advisor(s): Karen Oberhauser
Thesis Title: Reproductive fitness in monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus)
Current Position and Location: Visiting Assistant Professor, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN
Research Interests: behavioral ecology, community interactions, sexual selection

John Stanton-Geddes (
Degree: Ph.D.
Major Advisor(s): Ruth Shaw and Peter Tiffin
Thesis Title: Limits to range expansion in the native annual legume Chamaecrista fasciculata
Current Position and Location: Post-doc, Plant Biology, Univeristy of Minnesota
Statement: I'm currently studying the population genomics of adaptation, with a focus on the Medicago - rhizobium mutualism.

Robert Sterner (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1986
Major Advisor(s): Dave Tilman
Thesis Title: Zooplankton, Nutrients and Algae: A Mechanistic Consideration of Direct and Indirect Effects
Current Position and Location: Professor, University of Minnesota
Research Interests: Limnology, ecological stoichiometry
Statement: Since graduating from EEB in 1986, I spent a year as a postdoc in Germany, and then was on the faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington for a few years. Now, I'm back in Minnesota, in the same department I got my degree from. I must have liked the place! It's great to have this page so we alums can keep track of each other. I hope to hear from people I overlapped with.
[Robert's Web Site]

Ted Stets (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Jim Cotner
Thesis Title: Interactions between heterotrophic bacteria, bacterial grazers and autotrophic phytoplankton - consequences for net ecosystem productivity
Current Position and Location: National Academy of Sciences post-doctoral research associate, USGS, Boulder, CO
Research Interests: Carbon cycling in lake ecosystems, relationships between watershed processes and net productivity in lakes.

Alison Stevens (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2002
Major Advisor(s): Scott Lanyon
Thesis Title: The evolution and function of visual communication in dabbling ducks
Current Position and Location: Professor, Mount Ida College

Jeff Stevens (jstevens(at)
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, 2002
Major Advisor(s): David W. Stephens
Thesis Title: The behavioral ecology of food sharing
Current Position and Location: Research scientist, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
Research Interests: Animal cognition, cooperation, evolution of decision making
Statement: My research integrates psychology, evolutionary biology, and economics to investigate decision making in humans and non-human animals. My previous work examined simpler alternatives to reciprocal altruism as an explanation of animal cooperation. Additionally, I tested whether animals face cognitive constraints that may preclude widespread use of reciprocal strategies. Currently, I am investigating how ecological and economic contexts can influence temporal discounting and rational decision making in humans and non-human primates.

Sharon Strauss (
Degree: M.Sc., Ecology and Behavioral Biol, 1984
Major Advisor(s): Patrice Morrow
Thesis Title: Movement patterns of a specialist chrysomelid beetle
Current Position and Location: Professor, University of California, Davis
Research Interests: evolutionary ecology using plant-herbivore interactions, community ecology
[Sharon's Web Site]

Edward Swain (
Degree: Ph.D., Ecology, 1984
Major Advisor(s): Joseph Shapiro
Thesis Title: The Paucity of blue-green algae in mercomictic Brownie Lake: iron limitation or heavy-metal toxicity?
Current Position and Location: Research Scientist, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
Research Interests: Effects of air pollution on surface water (e.g. acid rain, mercury, dust).

Patricia Swain (
Degree: Ph.D. Ecology, 1979
Major Advisor(s): Ed Cushing
Thesis Title: The development of some bogs in eastern Minnesota
Current Position and Location: Plant Community Ecologist, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Westborough, MA.
Statement: My job involves inventorying and classifying natural communities of Massachusetts, with a focus on conservation of uncommon community types. A colleague, Jennifer Kearsley, and I produced a draft of terrestrial and palustrine communities in 2000. I have been collecting data and revising the draft since then, and plan to come out with an updated iteration within the next few years. We're working on producing a publicly available GIS layer of "important" community occurrences from the Natural Heritage database, with links to the classification and other GIS layers, such as the National Wetlands Inventory. The Program uses the classification in management and restoration activities, and to assist in prioritizing land acquisition.

Ward Testa (
Degree: Ph.D.,Ecology, 1986
Major Advisor(s): Don Siniff
Thesis Title: Long term population dynamics and life history characteristics of Weddell seals
Current Position and Location: Wildlife Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Anchorage
Research Interests: Population ecology, predator-prey interactions, life history evolution
Statement: After leaving UM in '86, I continued with research on Weddell seals through the University of Alaska Fairbanks until 1993. I dabbled in river otter research connected to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1990-91. In 1994 I began research on moose in southcentral Alaska.

Laura Van Riper (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2005
Major Advisor(s): Diane Larson
Thesis Title:The role of the exotic legume yellow sweetclover (Melilotus officinalis) in a low nitrogen system: a potential ecosystem transformer and facilitator of invasion
Current Position and Location:Research Associate at the University of Minnesota working on a project in conjunction with the invasive species program at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Harriet Van Vleck (

Alejandro Velez (

Amanda Voight (
Degree: M.S., EEB, 2003
Major Advisor(s): Edward Cushing
Current Position and Location: Science Assistant, National Science Foundation

Stuart Wagenius (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2001
Major Advisor(s): Donald Alstad
Thesis Title:Performance of a prairie mating system in fragmented habitat: self-incompatibility and limited pollen dispersal in Echinacea angustifolia
Current Position and Location: Conservation Scientist, Chicago Botanic Garden
Research Interests: Ecology, evolution and conservation of perennial plants in fragmented habitat

Peyton West (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2003
Major Advisor(s): Craig Packer
Thesis Title: Sexual Selection and the African Lion's Mane
Current Position and Location: Curratorial Intern, Mammals Department, Wildlife Conservation Society

Kyle Whittinghill (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2010
Major Advisor(s): Sarah Hobbie and Jacques Finlay
Thesis Title:  Effect of topography and glaciation history on the movement of carbon and nitrogen within arctic hillsides
Current Position and Location: Post Doctoral Scientist, Earth Systems Research Center and Department of Natural Resources and Environment, University of New Hampshire
Research Interests:  Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  I use empirical studies and biogeochemical models to examine effects of global environmental change on temperature and tundra ecosystems.  My research focuses on how soil and sediment processes affect watershed carbon and nutrient cycling from the reach or plot to landscape scales.

Kiyoko Yokota (
Degree: Ph.D., EEB, 2007
Major Advisor(s): Robert Sterner
Thesis Title: Kairomone-induced colony formation in freshwater phytoplankton: algal population dynamics and physiological cost of coloniality
Current Position and Location: Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, University of Tampa, Tampa, FL