Graduate Students

Colin MacArthur

Colin MacArthur
School of Information
Graduate Student

Acadia National Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Presidio Torrey Pines State Park, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Angel Island State Park. Also regional studies about California State Park visitors and western National Park visitors.

Colin and his Parks and Technology Interest group investigated how people use technology to enhance their park experience and how new mobile tools can deepen peoples' connections with their landscapes.


Benjamin Allen

Benjamin Allen
College of Letters & Science: Political Science
PhD Candidate

APA do Planalto Central, APA Sul-RMBH, Jau National Park, Anavilhanas National Park, Brasilia National Park (all in Brazil).

Benjamin Allen studies the politics of using parks and other conservation areas to protect land and reduce deforestation in Brazil. Benjamin hypothesizes that states' economic profiles, and the location and importance of ecologically destructive industries in Brazilian states' GDPs influences federal and state governments' choices regarding where to place conservation areas, and what types of conservation areas to create (i.e. strict protection, such as national parks, or sustainable use, such as extractive reserves or national or state forests). He evaluates this hypothesis by comparing the federal and state conservation area systems in four Brazilian states: Amazonas and Para in the Amazon, and Minas Gerais and the Federal District of Brasilia. His analysis incorporates over eighty semi-structured interviews carried out with key actors in environmental politics and management in Brazil, as well as quantitative modeling, including GIS mapping and statistical analyses of data sets on management and politics in the 310 federal conservation areas in Brazil.


Nicholas Burnett

Nicholas Burnett
College of Letters & Science: Integrative Biology
Graduate Student

Point Reyes National Seashore

Nicholas' research examines how large kelps in the rocky intertidal zone in Point Reyes National Seashore are affected by small invertebrate grazers. Damage done to the kelp by these small invertebrate grazers can weaken the tissue of the kelp and eventually cause parts of the kelp to break. Depending on the type of grazer that wounds the kelp, the kelp will suffer different amounts of tissue loss. One component of Nicholas' research is understanding how the growth rates and survival of individual kelps are affected by damage from different types of grazers. An additional component to his research examines how these small invertebrate grazers are able to exist on a flexible substratum (the kelp surface) that is constantly accelerating, deforming, and being subjected to extreme hydrodynamic forces from breaking waves. This question is answered through laboratory studies where he measures behavioral and physiological responses of grazers as they are put on platforms that mimic the chaotic movement of kelp.


Dylan Chapple

Dylan Chapple
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

 

Dylan's work focuses on integrating community-based restoration projects in parks with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum to get students involved in their community while learning essential science skills. He has found that transportation presents one of the largest barriers to entry to parks and one of the most prevalent issues to address.


Danielle Christianson

Danielle Christianson
College of Natural Resources; Energy and Resources Group
Ph.D. Student

Sequoia National Park

Danielle studies microclimate - how vegetation responds to it; how it may occur in a warmer future; and how it scales up to climate represented at coarser spatial and temporal scales that are commonly used in models. In Sequoia National Park, Danielle observes red fir tree seedlings and measures the fine-scale physical environment to address these questions. As a member of the Berkeley Center for New Media, she works to improve awareness of science and the natural world via new media techniques, especially visualization tools.


Stella Cousins

Stella Cousins
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Ph.D. Candidate

Sequoia National Park; Kings Canyon National Park; Yosemite National Park; Aiako Harria National Park, Basque Country Spain; Valles Caldera National Preserve; Connecticut State and Regional Parks; Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Preserves

Stella is interested in unraveling how and why forests change and the interface of cultural and natural resources. Her current research in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks examines how forests respond to chronic ozone pollution and worsening drought and how increased tree mortality is impacting the ecosystem and our management of it.


Jeremy Chase Crawford

Jeremy Chase Crawford
College of Letters & Science: Integrative Biology
Ph.D. Candidate

Landels Hill Big Creek Reserve Hastings Natural History Reservation

Jeremy's research interests broadly pertain to mammalian reproductive and social behavior. He is particularly interested in how the interaction among genetic, environmental, and endocrine factors shapes social affiliations and mating preferences. He is also interested in the role that communication plays in enabling animals to engage in adaptive social and reproductive interactions. Studying these questions at the proximate level requires utilizing an integrative approach that incorporates field behavioral ecology, captive manipulations, tests of cognitive ability, neuroendocrinology, and various molecular techniques. He also endeavors to ground these studies in a comparative framework, because elucidating the mechanisms that control variation in behavior within and across taxa furthers our understanding of how these behaviors evolve and are maintained.


Kaitlyn Gaynor

Kaitlyn Gaynor
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

Goronogosa National Park (Mozambique)

Kaitlyn wants to inspire support for research in national parks in the developing world. She looks to Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique as a model for protected science around the world.


Sydney Glassman

Sydney Glassman

College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management

Graduate Student

 

<p class="research-Yosemite National Park

Fungi play pivotal roles in all terrestrial ecosystems, but in many ways they are poorly understood. Sydney studies two guilds of fungi in Yosemite National Park hoping to gain insight into the factors driving community assembly of microbial symbionts in general.


Laurie Hall

Laurie Hall
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

 

<p class="research-Tomales Bay State Park

Laurie's research analyzes threatened and endangered species in parks. Their long-term survival depends on dispersal and gene flow. Laurie studies the wetlands of the San Francisco Bay Area to find ways of improving the connectivity of these wetlands.


Zachary HannaZachary Hanna
Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
Graduate Student

Point Reyes National Seashore, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Zachary is studying the recent secondary contact of natural populations of the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) and the Barred Owl (Strix varia). The first records of hybridization of the Northern Spotted Owl and the Barred Owl were published in 1994 (Hamer et al. 1994). Hybrids are viable and can backcross to the parentals (Haig et al. 2004, Funk et al. 2007). These owl species provide an ideal system for studying introgression in secondary contact zones and the evolution of reproductive isolation because 1) the owls came into recent contact semi-naturally, 2) reproductive isolation is incomplete, 3) we have more data on the demography and biology of these species than virtually any other wild taxon, hence parameters like population size and time of contact are well-known, 4) we can study speciation phenomena in real time and across the geographic ranges, and 5) he and his collaborators are presently assembling a draft genome of S. o. caurina. He aims to address three key questions: 1) which genes are introgressing and which are not, 2) what are functions of those genes, and 3) how does introgression change spatiotemporally?


Kelly Iknayan

Kelly Iknayan
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

Death Valley National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park

Kelly researches changes in occupancy and community composition in California deserts. She hopes to find the influence of climate change on these populations and learn how to direct conservation decisions in light of climate change.


Erica Newman

Erica Newman
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Ph.D. Student

Point Reyes National Seashore; Sequoia National Park; Gunnison National Forest.

A better understanding of various disturbance types, both natural and anthropogenic in origin, is required for both species-level and landscape-scale conservation efforts. One of Erica's main research goals is to synthesize a quantitative, cross-ecosystem comparison of the effects of ecological perturbations on macroecological metrics such as rarity, diversity, and other measures of community structure. In her research, she uses a number of study systems with known histories of disturbance to compare different disturbance types and their effects on species- and community-level structure. These study systems include the stand-replacing fire regime in the Bishop pines (Pinus muricata) of Point Reyes National Seashore, novel grazing pressures from horses in the subalpine meadows of Sequoia National Park, and a one-time landslide event in Gunnison National Forest, resulting in primary succession.


Megan Oldfather

Meagan Oldfather
​College of Letters and Science: Integrative Biology
Ph.D. Student

White Mountain Natural Reserve; Ventanna Wilderness; Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest; Ano Nuevo State Park; Death Valley National Park; Pepperwood Preserve

Meagan's work focuses on the relative importance of ecological processes in the shaping of the plant distributions in California. She investigates differences in demographic rates between populations across species ranges in order to better understand current ranges, as well as potential range shifts due to a changing climate. She currently works in the arid alpine fell-fields of White Mountain Natural Reserve, CA focusing on the long-lived forb Ivesia lycopodioides. This species is an excellent candidate to explore how demographic rates will change depending on altitudinal region and micro-climatic conditions in a warmer, drier future.


Jenny Palomino

Jenny Palomino
​College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student


Jenny studies the pattern of land ownership within a 10 mile radius of National Park units in California. The results of her research will be used to better understand and group park units for effective management interventions.


Marco Pfeiffer

Marco Pfeiffer
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

Atacama Desert (Chile)

Marco is looking at recent efforts made by the Chilean government to increase the number of protected areas in the Atacama Desert. He is assembling inventory of biological, archaeological and geological features unique to the region in the hopes of showing that by including the landscapes of these protected areas, the heritage value of a future National Park in Atacama Desert would increase significantly.


Lauren Ponisio

Lauren Ponisio
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Graduate Student

Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park

Lauren's research examines how post-fire succession influences plant and pollinator populations and how that process interacts with fire severity and other characteristics of the fire history in Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Park. Her study informs how fire influences the assembly of plant-pollinator communities and therefore will help to inform fire-related management.


Steve Voelker

Steven Voelker
College of Letters & Science: Integrative Biology
Postdoc

Custer State Park (South Dakota), Redwood National Park, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Redwoods State Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

Steven's work as a post-doctoral researcher includes studying tree physiology, dendrochronology and paleoecology. He has been working to establish tree-ring drought, fog and Pacific Decadal Oscillation signals from redwood tree-rings over the past 1,000 years. He also sampled trees from parks in South Dakota and the Midwest to help characterize the bioclimatic limits to a species of oak (Quercus Macropcarpa). This was aimed at parameterizing paleoclimate reconstructions that use stable isotopes in sub-fossil oak wood 14C-dated to the last deglacial period.


Kate Wilkin

Kate Wilkin
College of Natural Resources: Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Ph.D. Candidate

Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park

Kate's interest lies in fire policies and their effects to ecosystems in California's Sierra Nevada forests. Her proposed research examines both historic and altered fire regime effects on biodiversity, functional diversity, and the forest's water budget.