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.
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.
Robert is a grad student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate group, and started his PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2015. He is interested in understanding the genetic consequences of past climatic cycles. Robert obtained his masters degree at City College of New York working with Robert Anderson.
Danaan 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 patterns of small-medium carnivore responses to past environmental changes and their potential significance for small carnivore distribution and adaptation in the face of future environmental changes.
Nate is a grad student in the Environmental Systems graduate group and started his PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2015. He is interested in classifying small mammal fossils, and gathering data from the fossil record to interpret late Pleistocene ecosystems. Prior to moving to Merced, Nate worked as an environmental consultant in Wyoming after completing his Master’s degree at East Tennessee State University. Read more about his dissertation research here.
J. Eric Williams, 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.
Gio Rapacciuolo, postdoctoral scholar, 2017-2018. website. Gio is now a Research Scientist at the California Academy of Sciences.
Joseph Veneraction, 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.
Sarah Brown, postdoctoral scholar, 2015-2016. website. Sarah is now is a geneticist for Washington State Fish & Wildlife.
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
Kaitlin Maguire, postdoctoral scholar, 2014-2015. website. Kaitlin now works at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History in Idaho.
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