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.
Val’s research broadly addresses the evolution of biotic interactions and their influence on body size and shape in two very different ecosystems (Middle Paleozoic crinoids and Pleistocene vertebrates), They also work on the maintenance and improvement of community scientific data infrastructure. They attended Caltech (B.S., Geology, 2008), then the University of Michigan (Ph.D., 2014), where they worked with Tomasz Baumiller on the evolution of defensive adaptations in crinoids as a response to changing predation pressures through the Phanerozoic. They did a postdoc at UW-Madison developing resources for the Paleobiology Database, xDD, and other data infrastructure, then worked for a few years at Clovis Community College teaching and developing open educational resources for other community college lab instructors. In their postdoctoral position at UC Merced, they are currently reassessing and improving chronologies for Neogene small mammal communities of North America using NeotomaDB and xDD.
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.
Laura is a grad student in the Quantitative and Systems Biology graduate group, and started her PhD at UC Merced in Fall 2016. She is interested in understanding the spatial ecology of species of management concern in the Sierra Nevada, such as western pond turtles, with an eye towards informing conservation decisions related to their management in Yosemite National Park.
Mairin Balisi, postdoctoral scholar, 2018-2022. website. Mairin is now the Augustyn Family Curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
Gio Rapacciuolo, postdoctoral scholar, 2017-2018. website. Gio is now Director of Applied Science Programs at NatureServe.
Sarah Brown, postdoctoral scholar, 2015-2016. website. Sarah is now is a Senior Environmental Scientist at the California Department of Water Resources.
Kaitlin Maguire, postdoctoral scholar, 2014-2015. website. Kaitlin is now the Executive Director at Idaho STEM Action Center.
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.
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.
Daniela Alvarado Flores, undergrad research assistant, 2019 – 2021. B.S, 2021, in Earth Systems Science .
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