Brown Lab Members

Robbie Burger


Robbie Burger , Doctoral Student

My interests lie at the interface of ecology and economics and specifically where the two disciplines parallel thematically and overlap practically. The former includes such areas as evolutionary and behavioral ecology; the latter involves transdisciplinary research in such fields as ecological economics, human ecology, and conservation policy.

Click here for his website

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.

Click here for his website

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.

Click here for her website

Trevor Fristoe

Trevor Fristoe , Doctoral Student

I am interested in using a macroecological approach to gain a better understanding biological communities. In particular I hope to examine global patterns of diversity and the evolutionay and ecological mechanisms that lead to these patterns.

William BurnsideWilliam R. Burnside, Doctoral Student

I study how metabolism affects ecological patterns and processes, especially in humans and other social species. At the organismal level I am compiling data to assess how temperature affects the rates organisms interact. At the societal level, I study how energy availability effectively constrains patterns in both traditional and modern human societies, from the territory sizes of hunting and gathering cultures to the economic growth rates of modern industrial nations. I also collaborate with computer scientists to study how the size of ant societies affects the rate they detect and harvest food and whether ant colonies are better at using their social networks to harvest dense piles of food or food that is distributed more evenly. Finally, I worked with Vernon Scarborough, an archaeologist, on a case-study based assessment of social complexity. Together, these studies help illuminate how the metabolism of societies affects socioecological patterns, including latitudinal gradients in the size and density of societies and patterns of socioeconomic growth, development, and diversification.

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 & 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.

Click here for her website

Click here to see past Brown Lab Members