Melinda BelislePhD student
E-mail: belisle.melinda at gmail dot com
Melinda received a BS in biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts in 2008. As an undergraduate, she worked with Stephen Davis, studying resistance to drought and embolism in coastal chaparral. For her honors thesis, she worked with Argelia Lorence, characterizing genes in the myo-inositol pathway to vitamin C synthesis. Since joining the lab in 2008, Melinda has combined her interests in molecular biology and her love for climbing through the chaparral by studying the spatial distribution of nectar-inhabiting yeast in Mimulus aurantiacus, a California native shrub. As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, she is currently studying Costa Rican nectar microbes in a landscape that varies from agricultural fields to forest reserves. She is also interested in environmental policy and diversity initiatives, and has received a Ford Foundation Fellowship honorable mention for her work advocating for women and minorities in science and higher education.
Benjamin CallahanPostdoctoral fellow
E-mail: benjamin.j.callahan at gmail dot com
Ben graduated from Iowa State University in 2003 with a BS in Physics and Math, and then moved to UC Santa Barbara where he earned his PhD in physics in 2009. For his dissertation, he explored the consequences of sexual reproduction on the evolution of epistatically interacting genomes, primarily in the framework of population genetics. Ben came to Stanford in 2009 to join the lab of Daniel Fisher, and his postdoctoral research has continued to explore the consequences of epistasis and heterozygous interactions on the process of evolution. Co-supervised by Daniel and Tad, Ben has also developed evolution experiments in microbes in order to measure the extent to which the evolution of niche construction (the feedback between the modifications an organism makes to its environment and its own fitness) contributes to adaptation to novel environments.
Marie-Pierre GauthierResearch assistant
E-mail: mpg_mtl at hotmail dot com
Marie completed her BSc in ecology and evolution in 2003 at the University of Montreal, where she worked as an intern with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on how anthropogenic environmental alterations impact benthic invertebrates. She obtained a MSc in Biology in 2005 at the same institution, where she made the molecular phylogeny of the genus Philodendron for her dissertation. She then worked for five years as a technician in several laboratories on molecular ecology projects, assessing the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural fields subjected to different levels of phosphorus fertilization and using modified bacteria to measure methylmercury concentrations in freshwater ecosystems. Marie joined the lab in 2011 to work on nectar microbial communities, and she is interested in studying the mechanisms that influence community structure and the effects of communities on pollinator and plant fitness.
Devin LeopoldPhD student
E-mail: devin.leopold at gmail dot com
Devin received his BA from Hampshire College after completing a thesis project investigating lignin decomposition by white-rot fungi. Following graduation, he moved to the Island of Hawaifi, where he worked in conservation and ecological research for the last seven years, including 3 years of working as a technician in the lab, studying interactive effects of introduced rodents and habitat size on canopy food webs. This project utilizes a native Hawaiian forest on Mauna Loa Volcano naturally fragmented by lava flows. In fall 2012, Devin transitioned into a PhD student position in the lab. He plans to study plant community ecology using the same fragmented forest as a model system. He is concurrently working towards a Masters of Geographic Information Systems degree from Penn State University.
Holly MoellerPhD student
E-mail: hollyvm at stanford dot edu
Holly received her BA in Chemistry and Biology at Rutgers University, where she worked with Paul Falkowski and Matthew Johnson on acquired photosynthesis in Antarctic microbes. After receiving her MSc and two years of training in ecological modelling with Scott Doney and Mike Neubert at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and MIT, Holly joined the lab in fall 2010 to study acquired metabolic potential in the ancient tree-fungal mutualism. She uses both mathematical and empirical approaches to explore "metabolic bet hedging:" the idea that trees, like human stock investors, maintain a speciose portfolio of mycorrhizal fungi in the face of an unpredictably variable environment. Her work is funded in part through an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. She writes the "Seeing Green" column for The Stanford Daily.
E-mail: raleva at stanford dot edu
Rachel completed her PhD in 2011 at the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in chemically mediated species interactions and their implications for broader community dynamics. With her PhD advisor, Mark Hunter, she studied the role of nutrients and plant defense compounds in mediating multitrophic interactions among symbiotic soil fungi, their host plant, Asclepias syriaca, and aboveground herbivores including Danaus plexippus and Aphis asclepiadis. In the lab, Rachel examines how changes in the chemistry of floral nectar mediates community assembly of nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria in Mimulus aurantiacus. She also examines how microbially mediated changes in nectar chemistry may affect pollinator visitation and plant fitness. Another project, in collaboration with Tad and Devin, examines arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in forest fragments of varying size in Hawaifi. Rachel is an LSRF Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Peter ZeePostdoctoral fellow
E-mail: peterzee at stanford dot edu
Peter received his BS in Plant Sciences from UC Santa Cruz in 2006. He then moved to Indiana University in Bloomington, where he did his PhD research with Jim Bever and Greg Velicer. For his thesis research, he studied how a variety of contexts--genetic, social and environmental--have the potential to alter ecological and evolutionary processes. He focused his work on bacterial populations, using experimental evolutionary lineages of the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. He then did a short postdoc at ETH Zurich, studying the evolution of predator-prey interactions in a laboratory system. Peter joined the lab in 2013 as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (co-supervised with Daniel Fisher). He plans to work on the impacts of stochastic ecological immigration on evolutionary diversification.
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Akira joined the lab as an honorary member when he was born in January 2012.
In addition, we always have undergraduate students in our lab, either working on their thesis projects or assisting others to gain research experience, recently including:
Safiyyah Abdul-Khabir, effects of light and leaf age on fungal endophytes
Breanna Allen, assisting various projects on nectar microbes
Ashley Good, effects of nectar microbes on insect pollinators
Rachel Powell, effects of nectar microbes on hummingbird behavior
June 2012 - Stanford - Lab members with families and friends
Research affiliate - Mifuyu Nakajima
Post-doctoral fellow - Kabir Peay
PhD student - Matthew Knope
Visiting PhD student - Caroline Tucker
Undergraduate students - Simone Barley-Greenfield, Mitch Ginsburg, Grace Goldberg, Whitney Hoehn, Diana Huynh, Nathan Kim, Hannah Lynch, Katrina Luna, Sharia Mayfield, Colin Olito, Kelsie Pombo, Kim Thai, Aaron Wacholder, Jeremy Watson
Field Studies Program undergraduate students - Daniel Halford, Tess Morgridge, Liz Parissenti, Jenny Rempel, Jake Riley, Nessarose Schear, David Zimmerman, Amy Zuckerwise
High-school student interns - Julia Borden, Christine Kyauk, Arjun Pillai, Roman Rosado, Jose Rosales