Blois Paleoecology Lab

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Jessica BloisJessica Blois

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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


gioGio Rapacciuolo

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Gio is a Postdoc within the Dimensions of Biodiversity project on Palau marine lakes. His research focuses on the spatiotemporal drivers of biodiversity and extinction risk across a variety of ecological systems. Additionally, he is interested in the detection and attribution of species’ recent range shifts using historical data sources, such as repeated ecological surveys and museum specimens. Find more about Gio at giorapacciuolo.com


mairin1Mairin Balisi

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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


rob_picRobert Boria

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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.

4Danaan DeNeve

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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.


NateFoxNate Fox

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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.

Eric WilliamsEric Williams

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Eric is a grad student in the Environmental Systems graduate group and started his PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2013. He’s working on understanding the influence of climate, habitat, and other species on small mammals in California. Prior to moving to UC Merced, Eric completed his Master’s degree at UNC Wilmington, where he worked with David Webster. Read more about Eric’s dissertation work here.


Undergraduates

Joseph Veneracion (2017 – present). Joseph is working on his B.S. in Earth Systems Science. He collaborates with Nate Fox to identify the small mammals from La Brea.


Alumni

Sarah Brown, postdoctoral scholar. website.  Sarah finished her postdoc in the Blois lab in Fall 2016, and is now is a geneticist for Washington State Fish & Wildlife. Sarah’s work in the lab focused on setting up and working in our ancient DNA lab. Sarah obtained her PhD in Genetics from the University of California at Davis in January 2011, and her MS at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Her past research has focused on conservation genetics of Salt Marsh Harvest mice, the origins of dog domestication, and most recently, ancient DNA of Arctic dogs. Sarah is interested in using Next Generation Sequencing technology to elucidate the genetic history of rodent species and to identify genetic adaptations to past climate change.

Kaitlin Maguire, postdoctoral scholar. website. Kaitlin finished her postdoc in the Blois lab in Fall 2015, and now works at the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History in Idaho. Read more about her research in the Blois lab here.

Former undergraduate research assistants

Aurora Trejo (2017 – 2018). B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Christopher Jorgensen (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 (2015 – 2016). B.S in Biology with an emphasis in Molecular and Cell Biology
Angela Yu (2015 – 2016). B.S., Earth Systems Science
Joceline Santiago (2014 – 2016). B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Zara Batac-Bhatti (2014 – 2015). B.S in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Juliane Liberto (2013 – 2014). B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Tiana Walker (2014). B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology
Stefanie Yupanqui (2014). B.S. in Biology with an emphasis in Human Biology

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