previous people

Tolu Amuwo

Tolu joined the lab in ???? as an Environmental Science student. She is personally interested in studying global changes in terrestrial ecosystems and its implications for biodiversity and conservation as climate change progresses. Through this opportunity she aimed to develop a deeper understanding about the scientific process and how collaboration within the research field is implemented.

Julie Sieg

Julie joined the lab in Summer 2023 as a Biology student. She is interested in the implications of climate change on terrestrial communities and ecosystems, particularly aiming to contribute to the lab in understanding how phenological events are induced and affected by changing climatic conditions.

Daniel Buonaiuto

Dan joined the lab in 2016 and completed his PhD in 2022. He is interested in how plant communities are responding to global change, and how these responses are affecting the composition and function of North American ecosystems. In the summer of 2016, he completed his master’s degree at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment where his thesis work examined the reproductive ecology of woodland sedge, Carex pensylvanica, as applied to native plant production and ecological restoration. Dan’s current research interest is in plant phenology, with a particular focus on expanding phenology research to include a greater diversity of plant taxa, and investigating how phenological characteristics covary with other life history traits. More information at Dan’s website.

Geoffrey Legault 


Geoff joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow in 2019. He is a theoretical ecologist interested in a variety of topics in population biology, community ecology, and physiology. During his Ph.D. (University of Colorado at Boulder) he studied the impacts of stochasticity on coexistence and spatio-temporal range dynamics. He then worked with Joel Kingsolver (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) developing mechanistic models of insect growth and development. You can read more about his research here.

Mira Garner

Mira joined the lab in 2019 as a graduate student and completed her Masters in 2021. She is interested in understanding how climate change is shaping plant communities and developing strategies for conservation and restoration. Her master’s research sought to understand how climate change is affecting wine grape phenology and consequently altering the suitability of specific varieties to their current growth regions. Prior to graduate school, she worked at the Morton Arboretum on projects that studied: the population genetics of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) and big red sage (Salvia pentstemonoides), and the effect of phylogenetic diversity on prairie restorations.

Aliene Ettinger

POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW (2014-2016; 2018)

As a plant ecologist and conservation biologist, Aliene is fascinated with the vast diversity of plants on Earth and how they interact with their environment and other organisms. She is particularly interested in how climate change, urbanization, and other anthropogenic factors affect plant communities. Understanding anthropogenic impacts to plants is compelling to her for two main reasons: 1) humans exert a large and growing influence on Earth’s biota, and 2) we can simultaneously learn about their basic ecology and address applied problems in conservation biology and restoration. More information at Ailene’s website.

Ignacio Morales-Castilla


Why biodiversity is distributed on Earth as it does? What is the signature of historical and evolutionary processes on current diversity patterns? Can we predict the future of biodiversity in a changing world? These are among the central questions in which Ignacio’s research program focuses. Specifically, it aims to: (1) disentangle the relative roles of evolution and ecology as drivers of community structure, (2) understanding how different aspects of the species’ niches are evolutionarily conserved, (3) enhancing models of biotic interactions and/or species distributions by incorporating phylogenetic, functional and geographic information. More information at Ignacio’s website.

Faith Jones


Faith is an ecologist fascinated by questions around community structure assembly and change across systems and scales. She find questions with practical application particularly interesting. During her PhD at the University of St Andrews, she mainly studied global patters of biodiversity change using the BioTIME database of assemblage timeseries. In addition, Faith assessed the potential usefulness of museum acquisitions for setting baseline data to monitor change in Trinidad and Tobago freshwater data. See her website for more details.

Kristian Blackburn


Kristian is a certified sommelier hailing from Toronto, Ontario. His passion for food and wine led him to visit Vancouver in 2016 where he discovered the wines of the Okanagan Valley. To further his craft, Kristian enrolled in the Viticulture program at Okanagan College to study wine “from the roots up.” Since then, he has been working in vineyards and wineries throughout the region

Catherine Chamberlain


Catherine joined the lab as a graduate student and completed her PhD in 2021. She is a plant ecologist interested in understanding how anthropogenic climate change impacts plant communities. In November 2015, she graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a Master’s degree in Biodiversity and Conservation and for her dissertation, investigated the vegetation composition of grazing lawns along an anthropogenic impact and grazing pressure gradient at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. For her PhD dissertation, she continued to focus her research efforts on plant community composition and how temperature, precipitation, and photoperiod affect plant phenology.

Darwin Sodhi


Darwin joined the lab as a a graduate student in 2018. He was interested in understanding how plant communities are assembled, and how this assembly is affected by anthropogenic factors. In 2018, he graduated from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His thesis topic investigated the impact of the invasive vine Vincetoxicum rossicum on the functional diversity of meadow and understory habitats. His current interests are in exploring how climate change alters plant communities, and how this could impact how communities are assembled in the future.

Molly Clemens


Molly is in her third year of her SDSU/UC-Davis PhD program and helped coordinate phenological observations at RMI for the 2018 season. In addition to her interest in phenology she is also studying Vitis physiology and genetics (and spent spring 2019 in Bordeaux!).

April Mahovlic


April joined the lab in Summer 2020 as the Okanagan phenology sampling consultant. She is a recent microbiology graduate with an interest in the impact of microbial pathogens on grapevines in British Columbia. April graduated from UBC Okanagan with my BSc Honours in Microbiology in June of 2019. After graduating, she worked for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, studying Grapevine Trunk Diseases. Her Masters research (in Dr. José Ramón Úrbez-Torres’ lab) will focus on learning more about the effects of Grapevine Leafroll and Red Blotch disease in the Okanagan, with the goal of providing practical mitigation strategies to local growers.

Sophia Collins


Sophia joined the lab in the Fall of 2020 as an undergraduate student studying Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in the implications phenological shifts have for the futures of ecosystems, and what we can do to address the ramifications of climate change as a whole. Through her involvement with the Temporal Ecology Lab, she gained a better understanding of the scientific process and how computer software can be used to interpret data.

Alina Zeng


Alina joined the lab as a senior undergraduate student majoring in Urban Forestry at the University of British Columbia. As a firm believer in the partnership between the sciences and the humanities, she appreciates innovative solutions to bridge research and practice. Upon joining the Temporal Ecology Lab, all the strolling around looking at plants that she did served a purpose 🙂  Alina aspires to prepare herself for conducting independent research in her future endeavours around ecology and conservation sciences.

Dinara Mamatova


Dinara joined the lab as undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia majoring in Computer Science. She is interested in data visualization and analysis of the environmental and plant research data. Due to her time at the lab, she has had many great opportunities to learn about Bayesian statistics and survival models, work with the lab’s phylogenetic mixed model and study the influence of ever-changing climate on plant ecosystems and their life events

Grace Gooding


Grace joined the lab as an undergraduate student majoring in Environmental Sciences at the University of British Columbia. She is interested in the impacts of human disturbances in the environment, especially with respect to their impacts on biodiversity. Through her involvement in the lab, she gained a better understanding of the research process, as well as improving her data processing skills in ecological research

Phoebe Autio


Phoebe joined the lab in Fall 2019 as an undergraduate assistant working on a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Master of Management as part of a dual degree program at the University of British Columbia. She was personally interested in sustainable community development and working to mitigate the effects that climate change will have on communities around that world. She joined the Temporal Ecology Lab with the goal to develop a better understanding of the research process and to build a foundation in a science field.

Sadie Larter


Sadie joined the lab as an undergraduate student at the University of British Columbia studying Biology with a focus on Ecology. She joined the Temporal Ecology Lab as an undergraduate assistant to help with phenological data collection and with photographing plant specimens. Through this experience she hoped to gain insight into the process of scientific research and learn more about the phenology of local plant species.

Mika Yasutake


Mika joined us while working on her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Management as part of the B+MM Program at the University of British Columbia. While completing my degree. She joined the Temporal Ecology Lab as an undergraduate research assistant helping to collect, process and understand phenological data. Through this experience, she aimed to better understand the process of science as well as how it may be translated into policy, as hoped to apply it to my interest of science communication in the future.

Madisynn Flesner


Madisynn is finishing her undergraduate degree at UC-Davis in 2019 and is the current phenology technician at RMI.

Kelley Slimon


Kelley joined the lab while an undergrad assistant studying Environmental Science with a concentration in ecology and conservation at the University of British Columbia. She is personally interested in botany and plant ecology in the context of climate change. She joined the Temporal Ecology Lab working on collecting trait data and identifying plants to be used to study phenology and plant performance with climate change.

Asa Peters


As joined us after his sophomore year at Connecticut College studying botany and music technology. He is interested in plant ecology and invasive species, a topic I studied last summer with Professor Chad Jones. In the summer of 2017 he worked in the lab through the DaRin Butz internship program. He is also interested in ethnobotany, including technological, food related, and spiritual uses of plants in southern New England.

Angela Carreras


Angie joined the lab while finishing her degree at UC-Davies in 2019 as the phenology technician at RMI. She did a great job of working with Molly though another long hot summer and our weirdest, most spread-out phenology season yet. She balanced her time across phenology, coursework, track and restoration ecology training.

Nicole Merrill

UG RESEARCHER (2016-2017)

Nicole finished her undergrad at Northeastern University studying Environmental Science with an interest in ecology.  In 2016 she did a six-month co-op at the lab from June through November. She studied how plants and their phenology are affected by climate change while also getting exposure to R and helping with all of the fascinating research going on in the lab.  Other interests of hers include wetlands habitats and their varied relationships with humans as well as conservation and restoration.

Liz Stebbins

UG RESEARCHER (2016-2017)

Liz worked in the lab while a senior Harvard University studying Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She is primarily interested in climate change and its ecological effects — everything from plant communities to marine ecosystems. She loved getting to do hands-on work at the Arboretum, but also did some of the tedious work of lat/long for wine regions. She said, “I am really enjoying my first experience in a lab and hope to one day apply it out in the conservation world.”

Alice Linder


Alice joined us as HUCE fellow in January 2016 and in her senior year as a thesis student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB). Her interest in plant ecology and climate change drew her to the Wolkovich lab. In summer 2016 she stayed at Harvard Forest for the REU summer program, where she worked with Dan Flynn on community composition of deciduous trees at their range limits. Through her work with the lab, she realized a fondness for plant species identification across New England—from the forests of Massachusetts to the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Katherine Perkins


Kat worked at RMI while a senior at UC-Davis studying Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, supporting the Wolkovich Lab by collecting phenological data in the Robert Mondavi Institute vineyard. She is interested in ecology, education, art and politics. She found she enjoyed the meditative nature of monitoring seasonal change and the connection between herself and her ancestors that she felt while watching grape vines grow.

Dan Flynn


My work employs trait-based approaches to understand the processes by which species assemble into communities and the consequences for community disassembly, focusing on the applied challenges of biodiversity loss and global change. I have previously focused on the consequences of externally-driven changes to communities for ecosystem-level processes. In particular, I have extended the question beyond what species loss entails for ecosystem functioning to what aspects of diversity matter most for this process, and also to integrate an evolutionary perspective on these processes. Find more information on my website here

Johan Arango

LAB RESEARCHER (2016-2017)

Johan earned his bachelor’s degree in Agroindustrial Engineering. He is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Sustainability and joined the Wolkovich lab in the Fall of 2016. He was drawn to the lab because he is very interested in the effect that climate variation has on plants. He is very interested in societies’ reliance on plants and how a growing global population along with expanding markets will pose challenges and opportunities to achieve sustainability, especially in food systems.

Jehane Samaha


My work in lab fed into my own interests in community ecology, environmental history, botany, and horticulture. My previous research experiences include urban ecology fieldwork in the Greater Boston area, research on plant community shifts due to climate change in the alpine tundra of Colorado and the Hunnewell internship program at the Arnold Arboretum. By dipping my toe into the world of horticulture at the Arboretum, I experienced the combination of a beautiful public space—where people, art, plants, and science can coexist. I care about communicating science to broader audiences and was instrumental in the creation of the Tree Spotters program.

Tim Savas


My work in the lab focused on managing technical applications for ecology experimentation, from pheno-cams in Martha’s Vineyard and bespoke respiration chambers in Harvard Forest to our intelligent growth chamber system at Weld Hill. Previous adventures in exploring urban ecology across New York City (NYU ’09) make the Arb and Boston-proper ideal incubators for my research interests. Beyond lab life, I enjoy foraging for truth in all forms, whether through music production, comedy performance, or ad hoc engineering projects. 

Harold Eyster


Harold Eyster graduated in May 2016 with a concentration in Environmental Science and Public Policy. He has long had an interest in field ecology and and a more recent interest in climate. These two interests drew him to the Wolkovich Lab, which he joined in September 2014. In 2015-2016 Harold completed his senior thesis in the lab to test whether invasive species in Massachusetts have more flexible phenologies in their native (European) ranges versus introduced ranges. Read an update from his project here.

Sally Gee


Sally Gee graduated in May 2016 with a concentration in Organismic and Evolutionary (OEB) at Harvard. She joined the lab as a HUCE research assistant in the summer of 2014. Her interests in understanding the effects of climate change on tree populations and communities lead her to the Wolkovich Lab. Since joining the lab she spent a term in Costa Rica on the OTS program and completed her senior thesis studying the relationship between phenology and functional traits using the Arboretum’s collections. Read an update from her summer work here.

Wayne Daly


Wayne graduated from Trinity College Dublin in 2016 with an MSc in biodiversity and conservation. He completed a study on geoxylic suffrutices, and a dissertation on salt marsh ecology and plant community compositions. From there began an earnest fascination with plant ecology. He joined the lab to learn more about the time effects and pressures on plants and plant phenology from various environmental factors and anthropogenic activities. 

Michael Maccini


Michael joined the lab from afar in early 2016 as this year’s RMI technician out in Davis, California and has been recording the phenology of over 250 grapevines all summer and into the fall. Michael just finished his undergraduate degree in Plant Biology at UC-Davis and brought fantastic previous experience in phenology data collection to the lab. 

Sadie Sutphin


Sadie Sutphin was the lab’s RMI technician for the 2015 growing season. She survived incredible powdery mildew and another long, hot summer in Davis. She’s now wrapped up her degree from UC-Davis and last we heard was ‘working and traveling a bit, and gearing up for possible grad school.’

Sarah Benjaram


Sarah Benjaram was the lab’s first RMI technician and she set the bar high. She kept data collection going throughout the hot summer in Davis, completed impressive swimming races and dealt with Lizzie, Kim and Dylan as they finalized the sampling scheme. She graduated from Davis with a degree in Geology and is now working on MS in Earth Sciences at Montana State University. 

Julia Paltseva


Julia Paltseva graduated from Harvard in 2012 with a degree in OEB. She served for a year managing a reforestation project in Indonesia, where she fell in love with trees before joining the lab in Summer 2014 as a laboratory technician, setting up field sites in Massachusetts and Quebec. In 2016 she received her masters in Conservation Planning from the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB.

Magaly Gutierrez


As a freshman at Harvard College, I have yet to choose my concentration, but I am strongly considering a degree in environmental engineering. I have had an interest in the impact of climate change on the environment for many years now, and my desire to improve my understanding of the changing environment has led me to join the Wolkovich Lab.

Terilyn Chen


I am a junior studying Environmental Science and Public Policy. Since a young age, I have been very interested in and fond of plants, and I am excited to be able to learn more about phenology and ecology through hands-on work as part of the Wolkovich Lab. I’m also interested in riparian habitats and wetlands, animal law and ethics/philosophy, and environmental justice issues.