Graduate Student Fellowship Program 

Home People Cohort 2

Cohort 2

Zutao Yang

I’m a PhD student in the Department of Geography at Michigan State University. It is hard to define my study area at present. However, in the future, I wish people would regard me as a researcher who is related to ecological informatics or environmental informatics. In general, my research focuses on using remote sensing techniques, GIS, and mathematical and statistical tools to find out important information for solving environmental and ecological problems by exploring existing data.Currently, I am studying the driving factors of water and carbon flux of Lake Erie. Specifically, I am trying to relate algal bloom with net ecosystem change of Carbon Dioxide within western Lake Erie. 

Nick Skaff

I am a PhD student at Michigan State University and my research focuses on how disease emerges at the nexus of terrestrial and aquatic landscapes. My dissertation addresses the impacts of wetland abundance, isolation, and water permanence on human West Nile virus (WNV) incidence. I also work with a large collaborative research group (, where I am involved with several projects dealing with the effects of connectivity and climate on the chemical, physical, and biological properties of lakes at the macro-scale.

Derek Roberts

Derek is a current graduate student in the Water Resources Engineering group at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on water quality monitoring and modelling in the nearshore of Lake Tahoe.

Kait Farrell

I am currently a PhD student in the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia. My dissertation research is based at the Coweeta LTER and is part of a macrosystems project looking at the influence of measurement scale on estimates of stream metabolism and nutrient uptake rates. I am also examining the role of ‘large’ aquatic consumers (primarily salamander larvae) on stream processes. In my free time, I enjoy cooking and spending time outside with my dog.

Ian McCullough

I’m a PhD student at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). My research interests are in biogeography, global change ecology, limnology and conservation. I am working on a NSF Macrosystems project investigating the role of microenvironments in macroecology, specifically in the context of potential shifts in species distributions in response to climate change. Using a combination of tree-rings and process-based models, I also study the effect of climate change on growth and mortality risk of ponderosa pine, a widespread, ecologically and economically important tree species in western North America. Prior to moving to UCSB, I studied water quality, land use and residential development in the Belgrade Lakes watershed in Central Maine as an undergraduate at Colby College. I used Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery to estimate water clarity of Maine lakes as a master’s student at the University of Maine. When I am not working, I enjoy sports, hiking, running, humor and looking for moose, my favorite animal.

Sam Burke

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo Ontario.  My broad research interests include freshwater food web ecology, ecosystem biogeochemistry and contaminant bioaccumulation.  My thesis work focuses understanding how food web structure, sources of productivity, and bioaccumulation of mercury relate to climate variables in thermokarst lakes of Arctic Alaska.

Mindy Morales

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Iowa State University.  My research bridges algal community ecology and carbon biogeochemistry to address the role of freshwater primary productivity in global carbon cycles. My current research investigates the effects of stochastic nutrient pulses resulting from anthropogenic disturbance on algal community assembly and phenology. Specifically, I am interested in how these processes trigger and maintain Cyanobacteria dominance in eutrophic lakes, and the related effects on carbon cycling in these highly productive ecosystems.

Jonathan Doubek

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. My primary research focus is quantifying how multiple stressors (e.g. land use changes, climate change, invasive species and nutrient loading) affect lake planktonic communities, which have resulting consequences for lake water quality and human use. I combine field research, laboratory experiments, and ecosystem modeling to examine how each of these aspects individually influences lake food webs, but also how these different stressors can interact for combined effects.

Jamie Summers

I am a PhD candidate at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. My work uses paleolimnological approaches to explore how industrial activities in the Athabasca oilsands region (northern Alberta) are impacting the biota of regional lakes during a time of climate change. I entered my PhD after a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s in environmental sciences and a masters from Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) in environmental urban planning.

Sarah Bartlett

I am a PhD student at the School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My research focuses on environmental monitoring of micro-pollutants and toxins in Wisconsin lakes. I am investigating cyanobacterial toxin production in Wisconsin eutrophic lakes using high- resolution buoy measurements and auto- sampling. Additionally, I am assessing the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products at several Lake Michigan beaches. My work is centered around the deployment and upkeep of the water quality monitoring buoy, IRIS2, which is moored in Lake Winnebago during the summers months.

Facundo Scordo

I am a PhD student in the Geography department at the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina. My thesis research objective is to determine the structure and functioning of Muster and Colhué Huapi lakes affected by climate variability and human impacts in the Senguer River watershed. I have experience in networking, as I am working in the project Sensing the Americas Freshwater Ecosystem Risk (SAFER) from Climate Change I have been involved in GLEON since the G15 meeting in 2013, held in Bahía Blanca, Argentina. In February 2014, I was elected to take the new leadership role in the GLEON Student Association (GSA), and I am expected to take the chair position after G17 in 2015.

Flora Krivak-Tetley

I am working as part of an intercontinental team to compare the population behavior and impacts of the forest insect Sirex noctilio within its native and non-native ranges. When I’m not doing field work in Spain, South Africa, Argentina, or the northeastern United States, you can find me at Dartmouth College where I am currently a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program. My interest in forest ecosystems solidified during my MS at the University of California, Berkeley, where I studied the impacts of climate change and management practices such as fire suppression on old growth forests in the Sierra Nevada. My past experiences and interests span a broad range including rare and endangered species conservation, nonprofit land conservation, farm-based education, green building, and adaptive management in ecology.