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Brown Lab Members

Robbie Burger


Robbie Burger , Doctoral Student

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Dr. Jeff NekolaJeff Nekola, PhD

Inspired by 19th Century field naturalists, who conducted observations across the entire breadth of the natural sciences, I have developed a horizontally (focusing on vascular plants, lepidoptera, and terrestrial gastropods) and vertically integrated research program that ranges from organism taxonomy through population, community, and spatiotemporal ecology to biogeography, macroecology, and ecological modeling. The end result of these activities is the identification of general theoretical principles and the application of these findings to the conservation of biological diversity.

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Dr. Ana DavidsonAna Davidson, PhD

My research interests focus on understanding the natural and anthropogenic mechanisms that affect community structure and biodiversity, with an emphasis on keystone species, given their central role in the structure and function of ecosystems. Much of my work has focused on the roles of prairie dogs and banner-tailed kangaroo rats in the grassland ecosystems of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. My current research expands on this theme, and investigates the interactive effects of native and exotic herbivores on grassland communities and desertification processes.

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Trevor Fristoe , Doctoral Student


William BurnsideWilliam Roy Burnside, Doctoral Student

I am broadly interested in human ecology, community ecology, metabolic ecology, macroecology, and biogeography. I’m currently investigating the following questions: a) What are the ecological forces behind patterns of human cultural and linguistic diversity, and how much do they explain? b) How does territory size of humans and other social animals scale with population or group size? What does this suggest about the role of information in “social metabolism,” or the energy used by a social system? C) How can cancer, which shares many analogies with ecosystems, be insightfully considered and modeled as an ecological system? The Brown Lab and UNM generally are proving wonderful places to pursue such collaborative, interdisciplinary research.


Jordan OkieJordan Okie, Doctoral Student & Former PIBBS Fellow

I'm a biologist and ecologist trained in collaborative interdisciplinary science. I am broadly interested in macroecology, biological scaling, macroevolution, and complexity theory.

Currently, my research follows two general themes:

1) metabolic scaling across major evolutionary transitions and levels of organization, and the ecological, evolutionary, and physiological implications of these scaling relations;
2) the role of body size, temperature, and stoichiometry in governing the structure and dynamics of ecological communities, the metabolism of ecosystems, and the geographic distribution of biological diversity


Wenyun ZuoWenyun Zuo, Doctoral Student & Former PIBBS Fellow

I am interesting in Metabolism Theory especially in unicellular organism, metabolism pathway network in unicellular organism, and the entropy of network system (e.g. ecosystem entropy). My former research in China is about species-abundance relationship, environmental factors affecting species distribution, and also ecological modeling for predicting potential distribution of species, which I am still interested in and working on.

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