:: Principal investigator :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Nathan J. Sanders


Nate is interested in all of the work described on these pages.

:: Current graduate students ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Lacy Danikas Chick, PhD student

Lacy is starting her 4th year in the PhD program. Her M.S. degree is from Middle Tennessee State University where she addressed the thermal physiology and variation in locomotor performance of the Northern Watersnake. Her current research interests center on the relationship between thermal physiology and broad-scale patterns of diversity.

Quentin Read, PhD student

Quentin is a 3rd year PhD student who is interested in plant community ecology and environmental gradients.

:: Current postdocs ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Keenan Mack
Keenan is a 1st year NIMBioS postdoc from Indiana University. He is working on modeling the dynamics of mutualisms.


:: Current undergraduate students ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
:: Former graduate students :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Katie Stuble, PhD 2013

Katie is now a postdoc at the University of Oklahoma, where she's working on plant community assembly, trait-based ecology, and precipitation.

Melissa Burt, MS 2013

Melissa finished her MS degree on the interactions between warming, hervivory and seedling density on population growth in white oaks. She's continuing to work in the same system.

Mariano Rodriguez-Cabal, PhD 2012

Mariano is now a postdoc at the University of British Columbia working on above-ground below-ground linkages and invasions. His research focuses on the study of plant-animal interactions, especially mutualisms involving seed dispersal by frugivorous vertebrates. He is especially interested in the causes and consequences of the disruption of plant-animal interactions due to anthropogenic disturbance and/or exotic species in the temperate forests of Patagonia, Argentina.

Jean-Philippe Lessard, PhD 2010

JP's PhD was on ant community ecology and biogeography. JP's research has adopted a phylogenetic approach to the study of community assembly and biological invasion processes. JP is now a postdoc at McGill University.

Jarrod Blue, MS 2010

Jarrod's thesis focused on the effects of fertilization and insect herbivores on plant community structure. His undergraduate work at Davidson College worked to test the model of species sorting and mass effects within treehole communities. Jarrod is now in Law School.

Greg Crutsinger, PhD 2009

Greg's research focused on the community- and ecosystem-level consequences of hostplant population genetic diversity in Solidago altissima and linkages across surf and turf boundaries. Greg is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Maggie Patrick, MS 2008

Maggie's thesis was on ant communities in treefall gaps in Costa Rica. She's now a PhD student in Geography at UTK.

Lara Souza, PhD 2008

Lara's dissertation research focused on community invasibility and the controls on invasion in old field ecosystems. She is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma
Windy Bunn, MS 2008

Windy's thesis work focused on the temporal and spatial dynamics of forest communities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She's now a fire ecologist at Grand Canyon National Park.

Matt Fitzpatrick, PhD 2008

Matt studied broad-scale distributions of invasive ant species, how dispersal by ants affects patterns of plant diversity, and other interesting problems in invasion biology, and macroecology. He isnow an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, Appalachian Lab.

Kristin Lane , MA 2006

Kristin studied the combined and interactive effects of soil nutrient additions and plant invasions on insect communities.

Jaime Ratchford, MA 2005

Jaime studied ant community structure and reassembly in Darlintoina fens and adjacent forests. She currently works at Oregon State University.

:: Former undergraduate students ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

David Fowler
David worked in and around the Smokies and at the Ant Warming site. He continues to work on ants around the world. He's somewhere in the middle of Africa in the picture to the right.


Courtney Patterson
Courtney is now a technician in an ecosystem ecology lab.

Johannah Reed
Johannah spent the summer of 2011 at RMBL working on the effects of hemi-parasitic plants on community structure and ecosystem function. We're working on her paper and will submit it soon.

Carissa Chambers
Carissa finished her honors thesis in 2011 on the relationship between body size, resource use, and temperature in ants.
Laura Ellis
Laura helped with various studies around the Smoky Mountains. She spent the last summer working in an estuarine system at Dauphin Island Sea Lab looking at predator-prey interactions in an experimental food web. She wishes to continue work in ecology working in a marine ecosystem, but the Smoky Mountains will always be home.
Jeramy Webb
Jeramy worked on the foraging behavior of Formica subsericea at Coweeta and in the Smokies. Jeramy i snow in Law School at the University of Chicago.
Jessica Welch
Jessica worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab with Becky irwin on the assemblage structure of solitary bees in three different habitat types. She's now in grad School in EEB@UTK.
Claire Brown
Claire worked with WIndy in the Smokies, spending time in the backcountry and examing spatial and temporal variation in plant community structure. Her undergrad work resulted in one publication in Ecography with Windy.
Audry Hite
Audry spent the summer in Idaho, another summer in Florida, and and the academic year in the lab sorting arthropod specimens from the Smokies.
Andrew Johns
Andrew's spent the past two summers working the Smokies on ant community ecology. When he grows up, he wants to be a dentist. But his true love will always be the insects in the Smokies.
Nancy Bennett
Nancy is preparing to attend Vet school.
Chris Burgess
Chris worked with JP on a project looking at how resources and temperature interact to affect leaf litter arthropods in the Smokies.
Kerri Crawford
Kerri did her undergraduate Honors Thesis with us (mostly with Greg Crutsinger). This past summer, she did her field work on the causes and consequences of galling in Solidago altissima. Kerri is now a postdoc at Indiana University.
Mark Genung
Mark worked on Solidago as an undergrad. He's now a postdoc at the University of Tennessee.
Dana Glore
Dana is going to Physician's Assistant school here in Tennessee.
Melissa Habenicht
Melissa is starting to think about grad school in ecology. She spent several summers doing restoration ecology in the wild mountains of Idaho. She's now a grad student at Western Washington University.
Jessica Hite
Jessica is now in grad school at Indiana University where's she's working on predator-prey interactions in Spain.
Raynelle Rino
Raynelle did her undergraduate research at Humboldt State Univesity on the foraging behavior of Formica obscuripes. She also has worked with us on leaf litter ant diversity in the Smokies. Raynelle is going to be a graduate student at San Francisco State University.
Matt Lau
Matt did his undergraduate research at Humboldt State on a variety of topics. He's now a graduate student at Northern Arizona University.
Sheilah Lillie
Sheilah did her undergraduate research at Humboldt State on the plant communities in Darlingtonia fens and adjacent upland habitats. She's now a graduate student at Humboldt State University.

Melissa Geraghty
Melissa (on the left) worked on the mesoecology of ants of the southern Appalachians and aquatic insects of the southeastern US.

:: Former postdocs :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Orou Gaoue
Orou was a NIMBioS postdoc who works on forest ecology and population dynamics. He is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaii.


Tara Sackett
Tara came to us from McGill University where she worked on spider community ecology. At UT, looked at how interactions among a variety of leaf litter arthropods affect community structure and ecosystem processes here in the southern Appalachians and in northern North America. Tara is now a postdoc at the University of Toronto.
Rob Dunn

Rob is now an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at North Carolina State University.
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