Graduate Students


Shih-Yi (Winnie) Hsiung is interested in vegetation shifts through geological time and how they were influenced by climate changes. She investigates this by examining pollen samples from a wide variety of sources: a sediment core from Clear Lake, CA which is thought to be 130,000 years old, plants and pollen from UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and the Jepson Herbaria, pollen traps from different regions of California and pollen loads from about 1,000 Californian honeybee specimens (Apis mellifera) from the Essig Museum of Entomology, UC Berkeley.

Sarah Hykin

Sarah Hykin: Tens of thousands of museum specimens have been preserved with formalin, a chemical that makes DNA inaccessible to older sequencing methods. By combining newer sequencing and bioinformatics techniques, however, Sarah and her collaborator Ke Bi are developing experimental methods for extracting and sequencing phylogenetically informative DNA from these historical specimens.

 Shufei Lei

Shufei Lei is a PhD student interested in information and environmental governance in collaborative management of public resources. He is currently working on the Ecoinformatics Engine baselayer database.

 Erica A Newman

Erica A. Newman:  The ubiquity of disturbance in structuring ecological communities continues to motivate a search for generality in disturbance ecology. A better understanding of various disturbance types and quantitative comparisons of their effects over multiple scales is required for both species-level and landscape-scale conservation efforts, however, few quantitative syntheses of cross-system comparisons of disturbance effects exist. Using an information entropy-based theory of macroecology, I compare community-level metrics of biological communities in transition, including the fire-evolved closed-cone conifer system of Bishop Pines at Point Reyes National Seashore, and a novel grazing regime in high Sierra forb-dominated meadows in Sequoia National Park.


Michael Peterson

Michael Peterson: I study the population genetics and biogeography of the caddisfly Dicosmoecus gilvipes, and stoneflies Pteronarycs californicaCalineuria californica, and Hesperoperla pacifica, which are common in western North American rivers. My research investigates the genetic structure, natural history traits, and biological behaviors of these species to assess their ability to disperse, which is critical to their resilience to wide-scale change. 

Andy Rominger

Andy Rominger: I am investigating how communities have responded to the past 20,000 years of global change. Toward that end I am building new statistical methods that leverage large repositories of newly digitized data on the ecology, natural history and distribution of species through space and time. 

Natalie Stauffer

Natalie Stauffer is looking at the population genetics of a widespread and common mayfly, Baetis tricaudatus. Better understanding how this important benthic macroinvertebrate is distributed in both its aquatic larvae stage and terrestrial adult stage will help us predict how this important component of many aquatic food webs will be impacted by climate change.


Hiromi Uno discovered an unusual migration pattern in a mayfly (Ephemerella maculate) where the adult females migrate from the warmer river mainstream to the cooler less productive tributaries to oviposit. Hiromi is investigating both the physiological reasons for this E. maculate migration and its ecological consequences.

Rachel Walsh

Rachel Walsh: I am interested in investigating how responses to climate change differ between species.  To address this question, I am studying patterns of habitat use by two species of chipmunks in Yosemite National Park and integrating my field data with studies of museum specimens.