People

CURRENT LAB MEMBERS

Benjamin Blonder (PI)

I am an ecologist focusing on plant response to climate change, past and present. I received my PhD at the University of Arizona and was a Natural Environment Research Council independent research fellow at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford (England). I am now an assistant professor at Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences.

I am also interested in improving science education through experiential approaches. I co-founded the University of Arizona Sky School, a program that provides inquiry-based outdoor science education to K-12 students throughout the southwest.

Current curriculum vitae (CV)Google Scholar

Email: bblonder@gmail.com

Luiza Aparecido (postdoctoral researcher)

I am a Brazilian tropical forest ecologist aiming to answer and unveil the functional biology traits that determines the survival of plants (mainly trees) in a changing climate and environment. As a forest engineer (UFPR-Brazil) with a MS in Tropical Forest Science (INPA-Brazil) and PhD in Ecosystem Science and Management (Texas A&M), I hope to apply my skills and knowledge of forest inventory, ecophysiology and plant hydraulics to my current and future research. I am also interested in expanding my tropical forest ecology experience to other ecosystems, such as savannas and temperate forests; and enhance my experience with outreach programs for children and adults outside the academic field.

Research webpagepersonal webpage

Email: luizamariabr2014@tamu.edu

Carolyn Flower (masters student)

I am interested in large scale and local scale geographic distributions of plant species, and how past distributions of humans have potentially influenced these distributions. I am also interested in researching plant functional traits and phenotypic integration, the linkages between useful plant diversity and overall biodiversity, and the factors that can predispose a species to being useful (both for ethnobotanical use and for restoration purposes). I would potentially like to research how contemporary use diversity of plant species (such as Sonoran desert species) can be expanded.

Email: flowerc33@gmail.com

Pierre Gauzere (postdoctoral researcher)

I am an ecologist interested in macroecology, community ecology and biogeography. My general topics investigate whether and how the structure, composition and dynamics of natural communities are shaped by abiotic and biotic processes. I seek to integrate functional ecology, evolutionary ecology and biogeography to describe and explain how several facets of biodiversity are responding to global changes through space and time. I plead for integrative approaches and connections between theoretical and empirical ecology as well as conservation biology.

Research webpage Google scholar Researchgate

Email: pierre.gauzere@gmail.com

Rozália Kapás (technician)

Rozi is a Hungarian scientist based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She has an interest in alpine ecology.

Email: kapasroz@hotmail.com

Courtenay Ray (doctoral student)

I am interested in species distributions, community assembly, and functional traits, especially in tropical and/or montane systems. My previous research experiences are varied and have included research on bird molt, the role of frugivore mutualists, and pampas grass distributions in the Colombian páramo. I completed a master’s with Ingrid Parker at UC Santa Cruz where I measured invasion impacts and compared management methods for the invasive grass, Ehrharta erecta. I’m looking forward to developing ideas and research plans over the course of the next year.

Email: courtenay.ray@gmail.com

Jolanta Rieksta (masters student)

Jolanta is a Latvian student based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology where she is co-supervised by Bente Graae and Rick Strimbeck.

Email: jolantaj@stud.ntnu.no

PAST LAB MEMBERS

Jarome Ali (masters student)

Jarome is from Trinidad and was based at Imperial College London in England where he was co-supervised by Joseph Tobias. He is now a PhD student at Princeton University.

Cecina Babich Morrow (undergraduate student)

Cecina is studying at Kenyon College and is supervised by Drew Kerkhoff.

Marco Castaneda (summer undergraduate student)

Marco worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2017 and is studying at East Los Angeles College.

Lake Crawford (summer undergraduate student)

Lake worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2015 and is studying at the University of Kansas.

Andréa Davrinche (masters student)

Andréa is from Reunion Island and was based at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France. She was co-supervised by Yadvinder Malhi.

Sabastian Escobar (summer undergraduate student)

Sabastian worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2016 and has recently transferred to Montana State University from San Bernardino Valley College after serving in the United States Army for several years.

Clarke Knight (masters student)

I work in California’s mixed​-​conifer forests where disturbance regimes, especially wildfire, drive community composition and ecosystem function. Currently, I am focused on leveraging reconstruction techniques from paleo-ecology to compare modern forests to those from the late-Holocene and early California settlement. My field sites are located in the Six Rivers National Forest, CA.

I am also convinced that scientific research should not remain abstract and unsullied by real-world problems, which has led to my interest in the application of science to recalcitrant environmental challenges. I am currently part of a team of scientists working on California’s 4th Climate Assessment Report to be published in summer 2018.

Before starting a PhD at UC Berkeley in 2016, I received two masters degrees — an MSc in Water Policy and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation — from the University of Oxford where I studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a BA in Chemistry from Smith College.

​Email: clarke.knight@berkeley.edu

Website: https://nature.berkeley.edu/battleslab/lab-members/clarke-knight/​​

Rebecca Lehman (summer student)

Rebecca worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2015 (primarily supervised by Brian Enquist) and recently completed a degree at the Yale School of Forestry.

Dillon Sapena (summer undergraduate student)

Dillon worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2017 and is studying at Montana State University.

Jordan Stark (summer undergraduate student)

Jordan worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in 2015 (primarily supervised by Brian Enquist) and is now based at El Verde Field Station in Puerto Rico.