Lab Members

Meet our lab members! Hailing from the University of California, Davis and University of Michigan, our research group combines a wealth of knowledge from different specialties.


Fernanda Valdovinos

I am a theoretical ecologists and network scientist studying the structure and dynamics of ecosystems facing anthropogenic perturbations. I focus on the mechanisms empirical research has shown to be important for the dynamics of ecological systems. I integrate those mechanisms into mathematical models of ecological networks that I interrogate using computers, mathematical analysis and biological intuition, and whose predictions I test with empirical data. 


Paul Glaum

Post-doctoral Researcher

I am a quantitative ecologist and environmental data scientist using a blend of mathematical, statistical, and computational techniques.


Kayla Hale

PhD Student

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I study how mechanisms of different types of species interactions (especially carnivory, herbivory, and pollination and seed dispersal mutualisms) affect the dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems. I’m particularly interested in how different types of interactions are interconnected into “multiplex” ecological networks and how these interconnections affect ecosystem structure and function


Sophia Simon

PhD Student

Graduate Group in Ecology

I am a PhD student in the Graduate Group in Ecology and a Sustainable Oceans NRT Trainee. I am interested in applying mathematical models to a variety of interdisciplinary, use-inspired research questions spanning marine networks, population dynamics, and epidemiology/microbiology. My work is currently focused on applying theory to understanding the sustainability of complex systems.


Rebecca Nelson

PhD Student

Graduate Group in Ecology

Co-advised by Susan Harrison and Fernanda Valdovinos my research interests span the empirical and theoretical facets of plant-pollinator networks and global change ecology.


Appilineni Kushal

PhD Student

Applied Mathematics

I'm working broadly on integrating economic drivers of change in ecological models of food webs. My focus is on fisheries, where socioeconomic drivers like cost of harvested species, fishermen's allocation of efforts in multiple fisheries, policies etc., could cause irreversible changes in the associated food webs.


Casey Duckwall

PhD Student 

Applied Mathematics

I am a student in the Applied Math graduate program. My research interests lie in dynamical systems, network theory, and statistical programming and in applications of these tools to various biological systems ranging in scale from intracellular reaction networks up to population dynamics, ecological risk assessment, and epidemiology. I am currently focused on extending population dynamics models to incorporate empirical data on oceanographic drivers. Additional interests include math education, teaching, and increasing the accessibility of math resources to more students. 

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Margaret Knight

PhD Student

Applied Mathematics

I am a first-year PhD student in the Graduate Group for Applied Math (GGAM). I am generally interested in mathematical modeling with applications in ecology and epidemiology, and I have an interest in dynamical systems.


Sabine Dritz

Junior Specialist

My work revolves around the statistical and computational methods of ecological network theory. I am currently studying the dynamics of plant-pollinator system to address topics of species invasions, community assembly, and conservation strategy.


Sophia Pelletier

Undergraduate Student

I am a 4th year undergraduate at UC Davis studying Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and Oceanography. I was drawn to this lab because I have a broad interest in marine ecology and how ecosystems respond to change

Previous Members

Alva Curtsdotter

Postdoctoral Researcher in Ecological Networks

University of New England, Armidale, Australia

Maria Isidora Avila

Postdoctoral Researcher 

Catholic University, Santiago, Chile

Jonno Morris

PhD student in Natural Resources and Environment

University of Michigan

Daniel Maes

PhD in Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics

University of Michigan

Valentin Cocco

M.S. student in Public Policy Analysis: Public Policies and Actions for Sustainable Development

École des Ponts ParisTech, Paris, France

Joseph Hartert

Graduated with a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

University of Michigan

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Valdovinos Lab, Winter 2018

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Fernanda Arao

Undergraduate Student

I am a senior Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major who loves invertebrates! I'm helping with the Bodega Marine Laboratory network project because I am interested in the methodology of mapping interactions in community ecology -- and the animals that participate in these interactions, or course. The lab has been a wonderful learning experience!


Christopher Yun

Undergraduate Student

I'm an undergraduate biological sciences major in my 4th year at UC Davis. I joined the lab because I've always liked marine life as well as exploring the ecological side of biology