Blois Paleoecology Lab

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People

Jessica BloisJessica Blois

email | cv

Jessica’s research focuses on how environmental and biological drivers shape responses of North American mammals and vegetation to past, present, and future climate changes. She got her B.S. at UC San Diego in 1996, where she majored in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution.  After a few seasons working for the Forest Service, she went back to school and got her M.A. at Humboldt State University in 2005. She then went on to get her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Stanford University (2009), where she focused on understanding the response of California mammals to past climate change. She moved to UW-Madison to do a postdoc on vegetation responses to past climate change, after which she started her position at UC Merced in 2013.


Postdocs

mairin1Mairin Balisi

email | website

Mairin’s work tracks the evolution of mammalian carnivore communities using morphological evidence from fossils. A graduate of UC Berkeley (B.A. 2008), University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (M.S. 2011), and UCLA (Ph.D. 2018), she has quantified dietary overlap among large carnivores over the past 40,000 years and tested relationships between specialization and success among North American dogs over the past 40 million years. These two timescales provide complementary perspectives on how abiotic and biotic factors drive carnivore competition and coexistence. Now, as a NSF-funded postdoctoral fellow at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and UC Merced, she has shifted focus to small- to medium-sized mammalian carnivores: mesocarnivores. Read more about her postdoc research here.


Graduate students

Reina_QSB_SlidesReina Warnert

email

Reina is a grad student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate group and started her PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2020. She is interested in conservation paleobiology and the Sierra Nevada.


Corey-IMG_5638-preview-smallCorey Shaver

email

Corey is a grad student in the Environmental Systems graduate group and started her masters in Fall 2020. She is interested in using stable isotopes to better understand paleoenvironments and how shifts in past small mammal populations may provide insight to future resilience.

Laura_smallLaura Van Vranken

email

Laura is a grad student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate group, and started her PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2014. She is interested in understanding the ecology and landscape genomics of western pond turtles, with an eye towards informing conservation decisions related to their reintroduction to Yosemite Valley.


Undergraduates

BDFAD3AD-F188-4185-9774-B05A3BB10040_1_105_cDaniela Alvarado Flores

Daniela has been working with the lab since summer 2019. She finished her undergraduate degree in Earth Systems Science at UC Merced in May 2021 and will continue working with the lab through August 2021.


Alumni

Postdoctoral Scholars

Gio Rapacciuolo, postdoctoral scholar, 2017-2018. website. Gio moved to become a Research Scientist at the California Academy of Sciences, and is now Director of Applied Science Programs at NatureServe.

Sarah Brown, postdoctoral scholar, 2015-2016. website.  Sarah is now is a geneticist for Washington State Fish & Wildlife.

Kaitlin Maguire, postdoctoral scholar, 2014-2015. website. Kaitlin is now the Interim Executive Director at Idaho STEM Action Center.

Graduate Students

Robert Boria, PhD student, 2015-2021. Rob finished his PhD in the lab in May 2021. He secured the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology to work with Scott Edwards and Hopi Hoekstra at Harvard.

Kinsey Brock, Quantitative and Systems Biology PhD student, 2015-2021. Kinsey finished her PhD in the lab in May 2021. She secured the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology to work with Ian Wang at UC Berkeley. Read more here.

Danaan DeNeve Weeks, Quantitative and Systems Biology PhD student, 2014-2020. Danaan finished their PhD in the lab in December 2020.

Nate Fox, Environmental Systems PhD student, 2015-2020. Nate finished his PhD in the lab in August 2020. Read more about his dissertation research here. He is now the Associate Director at the South Dakota School of Mines Museum of Geology.

J. Eric Williams, Environmental Systems PhD student, 2013-2018. website. Eric finished his PhD in the lab in December 2018. He is now a lecturer in the Biology/EEB and Earth System Science majors at UC Merced.

Undergraduates

Joseph Veneracion, undergrad research assistant, 2017 – 2018. B.S. in Earth Systems Science. Joseph worked with Nate on the La Brea project while he was in the lab.
Aurora Trejo, undergrad research assistant, 2017 – 2018. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Christopher Jorgensen, undergrad research assistant, 2014 – 2016. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He just finished a MS in Biology at CSU Fresno.
Andrea Pedraza, undergrad research assistant, 2015 – 2016. B.S in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular and Cell Biology
Angela Yu, undergrad research assistant, 2015 – 2016. B.S., Earth Systems Science
Joceline Santiago, undergrad research assistant, 2014 – 2016. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Zara Batac-Bhatti, undergrad research assistant, 2014 – 2015. B.S in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Juliane Liberto, undergrad research assistant, 2013 – 2014. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology. She will be starting her PhD in Fall 2019.
Tiana Walker, undergrad research assistant, 2014. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Stefanie Yupanqui, undergrad research assistant, 2014. B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology

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