People

PROJECT LEADERSHIP

Project Director

Haldre Rogers, Iowa State University. I became interested in the impacts of bird loss on forest and human communities after I moved to Guam in 2002 to work on the Brown Treesnake Project. In Guam, my job was to develop and coordinate the United States Geological Survey's Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team. This position included frequent trips to the Northern Mariana Islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota to determine whether the snake had spread to these locations. Through conversations with local citizens and countless hours performing night searches for snakes on Guam and these other islands, I was struck by the differences between the forests on Guam and on islands with birds. Guam's forests were silent due to the loss of birds and they appeared to support much higher densities of spiders, butterflies, and praying mantids in comparison to Tinian, Saipan and Rota. I wondered what other, perhaps more subtle changes were happening in the forest and decided to go to graduate school to pursue this line of research. The EBL project began as my PhD project while at the University of Washington and and has expanded from there. I spent 4 years as a Huxley Fellow at Rice University, and currently, I am an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. When not in the jungle of the Marianas or on a plane somewhere over the Pacific, I can be found playing frisbee, mountain biking, adventure racing, trail running, or eating chocolate.


Current Co-Investigators and Collaborators






Evan Fricke, SESYNC/University of Maryland.  I am currently a SESYNC postdoctoral researcher, and a former postdoc on the Ecology of Bird Loss Project. My interests are in community ecology, evolutionary ecology, and conservation. My work combines field experiments and quantitative models to understand the maintenance of biological diversity and predict species responses to global change. I tackle these interests through the lens of seed dispersal by studying the nature of the seed dispersal mutualism, its influence on species coexistence, and the consequences of its disruption. The long-term goals of my work are to provide empirical and conceptual advances that inform effective conservation of ecological interactions and ecosystem processes.



Ross Miller, University of Guam.  I am a professor of Entomology at the University of Guam, where my laboratory assists in the Ecology of Bird Loss Project, particularly with insects of the Marianas. I'm originally from Fort Collins, Colorado. I received my Ph.D from Washington State University's Department of Entomology, MS in Biology from the University of Houston, and BS in Zoology from Brigham Young University.







Dara M. Wald, Iowa State University. I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Communication in the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University.  My research explores the causes and consequences of environmental conflict over the management of natural resources and the use of innovative public engagement and communication strategies to promote effective and sustainable decision making and collaborative governance over land, wildlife and water. For the EBL project, my work explores how public and stakeholders' values and beliefs influence support for conservation action and invasive species management.


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Elizabeth Wandrag, Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra.  I am currently a postdoc at the Institute for Applied Ecology, and a former postdoc on the Ecology of Bird Loss Project. My research uses experimental, observational and quantitative techniques to understand the causes and consequences of human alterations to plant communities, and address fundamental questions on the factors that control the distribution of plant species. I am particularly interested in the role of biotic interactions, such as those with mutualists, antagonists and competitors.




Joshua J. Tewksbury, Future Earth - Colorado Hub.  I was trained as an ecologist, evolutionary biologist, and conservation biologist, researching climate impacts on plants and animals; the influence of fragmentation, connectivity, invasive species and mutualism loss on populations and communities; the evolution and functional significance of chemical defense in plants; and other topics. Currently, I am the Director of the Colorado Global Hub of Future Earth and Executive Editor of Anthropocene Magazine. 






Amy Dunham, Rice University. I am an Associate Professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at Rice University.  My research focuses on behavioral, population, and community ecology and is often applied to conservation issues in tropical rainforests.




EBL Postdoctoral Researchers

Hugo Thierry, Iowa State University. I received my PhD in Toulouse, France, studying the spatial temporal dynamics of the interactions between agricultural practices and pest population dynamics. My work consists in developing spatially explicit models to study population dynamics, ecosystem services and conservation biology. In this project, my goal is to develop management scenarios that effectively restore seed dispersal to the island of Guam.






Ryszard Oleksy, Iowa State University. I received my PhD in the UK working on movement pattern and seed dispersal by large fruit bats in Madagascar. On the EBL project, I am studying movement and seed dispersal of Mariana Fruit Bats. 
Henry Pollock, Colorado State University. I received my PhD in 2016 in the Program in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, studying comparative ecophysiology of temperate and tropical birds. I joined the project in 2017, and we are back for our second field season studying Sali (Micronesian starling – Aplonis opaca) on Guam. Our main goal is to understand the ecology of Sali and their potential for seed dispersal and forest regeneration. We are continuing to collect fecal samples to understand their diet, and we are also radio-tagging Sali to understand how they move about the landscape, what habitats they use, and where they are dispersing seeds. 

EBL Graduate Students


Ann Marie Gawel, PhD Student, Iowa State University. I study novel ecosystems and conservation in the Mariana Islands. Part of my PhD thesis focuses on seed dispersal in non-native vertebrates in a system that has lost its native vertebrates (the island of Guam). I am also addressing social science questions in my thesis, focused on how public perceptions and misperceptions affect conservation goals. I have a BA from the University of Chicago and MSc from the University of Guam. I joined the EBL team in August 2016 after working for four years as a regulatory biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Outside of my research, I enjoy hiking, outrigger-canoe-paddling, and raising a ruckus for social justice.

Jerilyn Calaor, PhD Student, Iowa State University. I am a graduate student at Iowa State University, and I am interested food web dynamics associated with loss of top predators. I received my BS from University of Guam. 



Marianas-based EBL Plant Field Crew



Benita Laird-Hopkins, Field Crew Leader . I’m a tropical ecologist and have worked on a number of different ecological systems in both the neotropics and in Asia. I have a background in soil ecology, ecosystem ecology and entomology. My primary interest is community ecology, researching how organisms interact in their environment. I love being outside, so when I’m not clambering through jungle for work I’ll be hiking, biking or running in whatever nature I can get my hands on!


Erin Fitz, Biologist. I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in Natural Resource Conservation. I am interested in landscape ecology and understanding the role humans play within the ecosystem. I am looking forward to gaining a greater understanding of tropical ecology on the islands. I continuously seek new ways to explore the world around me-namely through travel, hiking, rock climbing, drawing, and painting.


Zia Crytser, Biologist. I am an undergraduate at University of Guam. Growing up on Guam, I spent many hours outside enjoying nature. Not much has changed, except now I have a deep yearning to give back to nature for all that nature has provided to me. I am very excited for this opportunity to work with EBL to learn more about the relationship between plants and animals, and the effect of vertebrates on the ecosystem. During my free time you can catch me hiking or scuba diving.  

Marianas-based EBL Sali Field Crew


Martin Kastner, Field Crew Leader. My background is in restoration ecology and endangered species recovery, and I've been working with såli for three years now. I started off searching for and monitoring wild nests and then helped in an effort to design and install predator-proof nest boxes for the species. 
 Megan Pendred, Field Technician. I’ve spent the past 4 years moving from one field job to the next, taking me from Africa to the Seychelles and then from Panama to Hawaii. I’ve worked in some really biodiverse places so I’m interested to see how Guam differs and what lessons can be learned in terms of future conservation. 

Ovidio Jaramillo, Field Technician. I have more than 10 years of experience working with birds, primarily in Panama. I have participated in research projects including habitat use of shorebirds, edge effects on forest birds, and a variety of projects related to monitoring and inventories of bird communities. My passion for nature has led me to want to understand more about birds, and I am really excited in this second season with the Sali crew.

Nikki Suckow, Field Technician. I graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a B.S. in Integrative Biology. Since then I have been working with birds, learning about the life histories and behaviors of many different species as well as conservation efforts for some endangered ones. I am really excited to learn more about Sali conservation, and how their recovery could have a cascading impact on ecosystem health.



Iowa-based EBL Members



McKayla Spencer, Lab Manager, Iowa State University. My interest have historically been in reptile ecology, behavior, and conservation. After finishing my BS with University of Florida I was a member of the Brown Treesnake Research Team in Guam from 2013-2014. I left Guam with a strong interest in pursuing research concerning invasive species impacts on native communities. After finishing my MS at Austin Peay State University (with a focus on animal physiology and behavior) I am excited to further my knowledge in community ecology with the EBL team. I enjoy organizing chaos along with going out and doing fieldwork. I can often be found searching out the best herping, bugging, and hiking spots on my free time.



Forest Educators

We have supported twelve teachers through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Teachers program. These teachers worked with the field crew during the summer and developed curriculum for use during the school year, including a Chamoru-language local plant resource for educators (http://tinanom.weebly.com, developed by Daniel Pangelinan). Check out a summary of the EBL lesson plans here: http://ebleducators.weebly.com/.

Previous educators
2017
  • Moñeka de Oro, Guam
  • Mack James, Rota
2015
  • Daniel Pangelinan- Simon Sanchez High School, Guam
  • Roque Indalecio- Hopwood Junior High, Saipan
2014
  • Ben Seman- Hopwood Jr. High School, Saipan
  • Greg Ecle- Southern High School, Guam
2013
  • Dan Ho- Southern High School, Guam (currently in grad school)
  • Valerie Atalig- Rota Jr/Sr High School, Rota (currently teaching elementary school on Guam)
2011
  • Annette Pladavega-Kagman High School, Saipan (currently CNMI Science Curriculum Coordinator)
  • Mary Garvilles- Simon Sanchez High School, Guam
2010
  • Sabina Perez-  Simon Sanchez High School, Guam
  • Michael Subbert- Guam High School, Guam (now retired)

Former EBL Members

2018
Morgan Franke, Field Crew Leader (2016-2018), Currently a field biologist.
Ed Perez, Technician (2018)

2017
Courtenay Ray, Lab Manager (2009-2010, 2016-2017), Currently a PhD student at Arizona State University.
Tony Castro, Technician (2013-2017), Currently a field biologist.
Meg Kargul, Intern (2017-2018), Currently a PhD student.
Andrea Colton, Intern (2017-2018), Internship at Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.
Matt Benjamin (2017), Intern.

2016

Glorya Chlupsa, Technician (2016-2017). Currently an undergraduate at the University of Guam.
Allyson Earl, Intern, Currently working for the Hawaii Vine Project.
Joma Santos, Technician. Currently an undergraduate at the University of Guam. 
Christa Shen, Intern. 
Renata Diaz, Intern. Currently a graduate student at University of Florida. 
James Lucas, Intern. Currently a graduate student at Washington University in St. Louis.
John Bender, Avian Research Biologist. Currently a biologist at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago. 
Amanda Santos, Field technician. Currently a biologist with CNMI DFW. 
Kloe Borja, STEP-UP intern. Currently an undergraduate at Hollins College. 
Erin McCann, Field Crew Leader. 
Miranda Salsbery, Undergraduate researcher. Currently a graduate student at University of Nebraska. 
Brittany Clark, Undergraduate researcher. Currently a grad student at University of Georgia.

2015

Elizabeth Wandrag, Postdoctoral Researcher. Currently a Postdoc with Dr. Richard Duncan at University of Canberra, Australia. 
Nadya Muchoney. Field technician. Currently a PhD student at University of Nevada, Reno.
Timothy Harvey-Samuel. Field technician. Currently a Postdoc with Prof. Luke Alphey at The Pirbright Institute, UK
Marlyn Naputi, REU. 
Macy Ricketts, REU. Currently a graduate student at University of Wyoming. 
Evgenia Dubman, Research Coordinator. 
Stephen Johnson, Intern. 
Britney Zell, Intern. 

2014

Veronica Kuhn- Senior Thesis Student, Rice University. Currently a graduate student at Virginia Tech.
Jeff Brown- Senior Thesis Student, Rice University. Currently a graduate student at Rutgers University.
Alexandra Kerr - LSAMP researcher.
Allison Schaich - Rice University REU student
Stephen Pillman - University of Guam REU student

2013

Jasmin Silva- REU. Currently employed by Rice University
Alexandra Kerr- REU. Currently an urban farmer in NYC!
Micah Freedman- Intern. Currently a graduate student at UC Davis.
Kyle Ngiratregd- Field technician. Currently a biologist. 
Kelsey Wooddell- Undergrad research volunteer, Rice University. Currently in graduate school.

2012

Chris Roy- completed his MS at Rice University, currently an environmental consultant.
Monika Egerer- currently a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.
Tor Shimizu - University of Washington

2011

Rachel Volsteadt, Field Technician, currently works for USDA Wildlife Services on Brown Treesnake Control.
Megan Volsteadt, Field Technician, currently a graduate student at the University of Guam
Otton Mendiola, Field Technician, currently a farmer and fisherman on Rota.
Kaitlin Mattos, REU 2009 and Crew Leader 2010-2011; currently a graduate student at University of Colorado at Boulder
Isaac Chellman, Crew Leader 2010-2011, currently a Biologist in Yosemite/King's Canyon
Maggie Chan, Intern 2011, currently a graduate student at University of Alaska- Fairbanks
Jonnie Dunne, Intern 2011, currently a graduate student at University of Washington
Ethan Linck, REU 2011, currently a graduate student at University of Washington

2010
Eric Cook, Plant Propagation Specialist 2008-2010
Shahla Farzan, Intern 2010; currently a reporter for NPR. 
Amber Goguen, Intern 2010; currently a graduate student at Michigan State University
Summer Kemp-Jennings, REU 2010, currently a graduate student at University of Washington
Eleanor Caves, REU 2010; currently a graduate student at Duke University

2009
Bridget Bradshaw, Volunteer 2009; currently a roving field biologist
Courtenay Ray, Intern 2009; 
Eliza Hooshiar, Crew Leader 2009-2010
Emily Schultz, Intern 2009-2010; currently a graduate student with Tom Miller at Rice University
Jenny Howard, Intern 2009-2010; currently a graduate student at Wake Forest University
Julie Duay, Field Technician 2009-2010; completed her MS at Univ of Guam; currently an environmental consultant
Maia Raymundo, Field Technician; completed her MS at Univ of Guam. Currently a PhD student in Australia.
Cat Adams, REU 2009; currently a PhD student at UC-Berkeley
Anthony Ritter
Kaylyn Knaeble
Teresa Hecita
Leanne Obra, Field Technician 2009.
Mitch Piper, Intern 2009; currently an electrician. 


2008

Nash Turley, Field Technician 2008-2009; finished his PhD at University of Toronto, now a Post-Doc at Florida State University.
Theresa Feeley-Summerl, Field Assistant 2008.

2007

Tara Kenny, Field Assistant 2007; currently an emergency room physician.