S. Luke Flory, Ph.D. (PI)
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
Deah Lieurance, Ph.D.
I am responsible for the implementation of the IFAS Assessment including 1) the Status Assessment, used to evaluate the invasiveness of non‐native species that currently occur in Florida’s natural areas, 2) the Infraspecific Taxon Protocol, used to evaluate the invasive potential of horticultural selections and cultivars, and 3) the Predictive Tool, used to determine the potential invasiveness of species that are not currently found in Florida but are proposed for introduction (e.g., biomass crops and ornamental plants).
My dissertation research addressed many aspects of mechanisms contributing to the success of non-native Lonicera species and included plant-herbivore interactions, chemical ecology, enemy release, tolerance and resistance to herbivory. I also have experience in the areas of ecosystem ecology, plant allometry, ecophysiology, and the testing and development of biocontrols for prominent invasive plant species in Florida.
Whalen Dillon, Ph.D.
Amy Kendig, Ph.D.
I am broadly interested in the community ecology of disease systems, including how disease mediates communities and what factors shape pathogen communities. My current research focuses on fungal pathogens of the invasive grass, Microstegium vimineum. I am investigating how they affect and are affected by ecological interactions between M. vimineum and native grass species. For more information on my research, visit: https://amyekendig.wordpress.com/
Cathy Fahey, M.S.
My research is broadly focused on how plants interact with soil microbial communities, and how these interactions feedback to determine plant community structure and ecosystem processes.
I am currently working on projects with the invasive grasses, cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) and Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum). My goal is to address how soil microbes mediate interactions between invasive and native plant communities. I am particularly interested in mycorrhizal fungi and how they influence invasion success and resistance to invasion.
Julia Maki, M.S.
My research interests focus on the structure and function of grazing land ecosystems in Florida. Broadly I am interested in the understanding the mechanisms responsible for spatial and temporal variability in pasture plant communities, how pasture composition and productivity are linked to soil characteristics, and how the interactions between plants and soil influence ecosystem-scale responses.
Gio Tomat-Kelly, B.S.
I am broadly interested in plant-soil interactions and the interactive effects of fire, climate change, and plant invasions on the structure of native plant communities. For my research I will be evaluating the effects of cogongrass (Imperta cylindrica) invasion and drought on post-fire Florida pine communities. I hope to investigate the effects of these factors across multiple trophic levels.
Jesse Borden, B.S.
I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of living things. I am broadly interested in how ecosystems function as whole communities and specifically how they respond to specific changes and disturbances, particularly those that are anthropogenic in nature. My most recent research has focused on forests degradation from urbanization and habitat loss and how arboreal herpetofauna species are responding to such degradation in both Florida and Kenya.
I am a coffee roaster and master’s student living in Portland, Maine. Broadly, my research interests focus on the impact of climate change on coffee agriculture at ecological and community levels. Through my master’s research, I seek to identify within commercially available Coffea arabica cultivars, a gradient of resilience in response to projected changes in climate. I hope to use my studies and research to enhance the sustainability of coffee agriculture, in order to defend the livelihoods of coffee producers and those who depend on the coffee industry and to protect the health of the environments where coffee is grown.
Tabitha Petri, B.S.
I’m widely interested in how plant community dynamics influence the resistance of native populations to changes, such as exotic species invasion and climate change. More specifically, I am integrating and expanding a system for the evaluation of the invasive potential of non-native ornamental plant species across Florida.
Taylor Clark, B.A.
Lab Manager and M.S. Student
I am currently working to quantify the environmental correlates of the distribution and abundance of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) invasion in Florida. I am interested in invasive species management, restoration ecology, biological controls, and wildlife conservation. Through research I hope to improve our understanding of restoration in Florida’s native plant communities.
Drew Hiatt, M.S.
I’m broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms causing plant invasions, with an emphasis on the role of phenotypic plasticity and how plasticity varies among invasive plant populations. Specifically, I am evaluating variation in competitive ability and response to shade among 12 Florida populations of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica). I am also working on a project to examine the economic costs of non-native plant invasions in Florida, looking at both monitoring/treatment costs and the value of lost economic productivity on agricultural and natural areas.
- Callie San Antonio (Undergraduate research intern)
- Peter Gianelli (Undergraduate research intern)
- Liliana Benitez (New College of Florida, REU program)
- Jess Williams (IFAS Assessment)
- Emma Byerly (University Scholar, Honors Thesis)
- Teresa Orosa (Undergraduate research intern)
- Gabriela Sullivan (Stamps Scholar, IFAS Assessment)
- Avery Schmmeur (Undergraduate research volunteer)
- May Zhou (Lawton Chiles High School, Student Science Training Program)
- Mily Gandhi (Liberty High School, Student Science Training Program)
Postdoctoral Research Associates
- Christina Alba, Ph.D.
- Kerry Bohl Stricker, Ph.D.
- Jules NeSmith, M.S. and lab manager (2013 – 2017)
- James Estrada, Ph.D. and lab manager (2011 – 2013)
- Chris Wilson, Ph.D.
- Bryan Tarbox, Ph.D.
- Dïnia Cartry, M.S. Student and International Graduate Student Intern (University of Rennes 1)
- Amaleah Mirti (University Scholar, Lombardi Scholar)
- Stanley “Will” Dezern (University Scholar, Honors Thesis)
- Katie Nickerson (University Scholar, Honors Thesis)
Undergraduate Research Assistants
- Austin Young (Lombardi Scholar, IFAS Assessment)
- Christina Wiley (Lombardi Scholar, IFAS Assessment)
- Hannah Borchelt
- Anbinh Ho
- Alex Garcia (undergraduate research volunteer)
- Hannah Moore
- Zach Higginbotham
- Nick Johnson (Lombardi Scholar)
- Ethan Landrum (Lombardi Scholar)
- Gabriel Smith (State University of New York, REU program)
- Amy Conant (Post University, Connecticut, REU program)
- Bruna Trentin (Brazil Scientific Mobility Program)
- Ananda Van Doornik Christo (Brazil Scientific Mobility Program)
- Wesley Lewis
- Sheila Scolaro
- Andrea Sakelson
- Micah Weiss
- Sarah Morris (IFAS Assessment)
High School Research Assistants
- Jasleen Kahlon (Spruce Creek High school, Student Science Training Program)
- Joanne Zhao (Spruce Creek High school, Student Science Training Program)
IFAS Field Experiment Station Interns
- Kevin Scheiber (2017)
- Matthew Akers (2015)
- Ben Sperry (2014)
- Jules NeSmith (2013)
- Erin Hamilton (2012)