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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.

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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. 


Taranjot Kaur

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Addressing fundamental ecological concerns is critical for the survival of our species. I am driven to examine and discern the mechanisms that might maintain ecosystem stability and persistence.



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. 


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.

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Alaina Stockdill

PhD Student

Applied Math

 I am a first year Applied Math PhD student and am generally interested in applying mathematical methods to ecological and biological models.

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Lauren Mossman

PhD Student

Applied Math

I am a first-year PhD student in the Graduate Group for Applied Mathematics. As I continue to explore my research interests under the umbrella of mathematical biology, I am excited by the applications in ecology ranging from climate change to network modeling.

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

Paul Glaum

Environmental Consultant

Waterborne Environmental

Joseph Hartert

Graduated with a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

University of Michigan

Christopher Yun

Graduated with a BS in Biological Sciences

University of California, Davis

Fernanda Arao

Graduated with a BS in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

University of California, Davis

Sophia Pelletier

Graduated with a BS in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology and Oceanography

University of California, Davis

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Valdovinos Lab, Winter 2018


Marco Ruiz

PhD Student

Applied Math

I am a Ph.D. student in the Applied Math department at UC Davis. I am interested in theoretical ecology and would like to explore plant-pollinator systems, especially through dynamical system theory, network theory, and machine learning. My drive to understand these systems lies in their relevance to climate change.


Milton Stookey

PhD Student

Applied Math


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