Lauren Schmitt

Ph.D. Student (2015 - Present)

 

My research combines ecosystem ecology, community ecology and chemical ecology to assess drivers of decomposition in coffee agro-ecosystems. Recent projects have looked at the roles of keystone ant species, shade trees and coffee flower petals in decomposition. I am investigating the role of caffeine as a defense against herbivores and as a driver of decomposition. Broadly, I am interested in sustainable food systems that are ecologically and socially sustainable. Prior to joining the Perfecto lab, I received a Master's in Applied Environmental Sciences from University College Dublin where I did research on bumblebees along Ireland's eastern coast. 

 

Keywords: Sustainable agriculture, coffee agro-ecosystems, nutrient cycling, chemical ecology

 

M.Sc. in Applied Environmental Science, University College Dublin (2015)

B.S. in Environmental Sciences, B.S. in Anthropology, University of Notre Dame (2014)

lschmit@umich.edu

Jonathan (Jonno) Morris

Ph.D. Student (2018 - Present)

 

I study the community ecology of natural pest control in agroecosystems. My research is driven primarily by two questions: First, how do biodiversity and interaction complexity regulate the functioning of biological control? Second, how does agricultural management impact that ecology? I have investigated these questions primarily by chasing around ants in coffee agroecosystems in southern Mexico. Currently, I am developing ecological network theory and models to expand questions about biocontrol function to the community level. Beyond research, I find joy in exploring the wonder of the cosmos as revealed by the tools of science and sharing this wonder with others through teaching and outreach. When I’m not doing sciency things, I struggle to advocate for environmental and social justice but sometimes get distracted by the good food and drink in Ann Arbor.

 

Keywords: Community ecology, natural pest control, ecological networks, biodiversity

 

M.S. in Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan (2016)

B.S. in Environmental Science, University of Florida (2010)

jonno@umich.edu

Iris Saraeny Rivera Salinas

Ph.D. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I am broadly interested in complex ecological interactions that maintain diversity in agroecosystems such as trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMII’s), mutualisms and keystone species. My research is conducted in coffee agroecosystems in Mexico and Puerto Rico where these types of ecological interactions are embedded in complex networks of community interactions. For my Ph.D., I plan to develop a series of projects that explore the role of TMII’s in permitting coexistence of species and in the biological control of pests of coffee. Outside of research, I enjoy going to the movies, dancing and trying new places to eat in Ann Arbor.

 

Keywords: TMII’s, agroecosystems, diversity, agroecology, Mexico, Puerto Rico, ants, coffee

 

M.S. in Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan (2019)

B.S. in Engineering of Agroecology, Universidad Autónoma Chapingo (2015)

iriveras@umich.edu

Hagan Capnerhurst

M.S. Student (2017 - Present)

 

I research pest and natural enemy communities on Michigan tart cherry orchards, specifically how cherry growers respond to the invasive fruit fly spotted wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) and how these responses influence pest abundance and parasitoid wasp diversity and abundance. My current work asks how cultural pest management practices influence the incidence of spotted wing Drosophila and their natural enemies. I use a mixed-methods approach, utilizing quantitative arthropod data and qualitative data on growers’ adaptive responses to the pest. Beyond my primary area of research, I’m interested in food sovereignty, farming therapy, and promoting transparency in the food system.

 

Keywords: Invasive management, parasitoids, biological control, adaptive capacity

 

B.S. in Sustainability Science, Furman University (2017)

hagancap@umich.edu

Jannice Newson

M.S. Student (2018 - Present)

 

I study biocontrol of coffee farm pests in Puerto Rico, specifically the coffee berry borer. I am examining the role of ants in controlling the coffee berry borer's destruction of coffee fruits. In addition to agro-ecosystems, I am interested in wetland ecology and invasive plant species. I also enjoy crocheting and yoga.

Keywords: Coffee, pests, biocontrol, wetlands

B.S. in Environmental Science, University of Missouri (2018)

jnddcs@umich.edu

Bella Mayorga

M.S. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I am in the Conservation Ecology and Environmental Informatics tracks in the School for Environment and Sustainability. I am interested in interdisciplinary studies of agro-ecology and community-based initiatives in food systems sustainability. Prior to starting my graduate studies, I conducted research analyzing urban bird community dynamics in community-managed gardens of the central California coast. Outside of research, I enjoy plant-based cooking, sustainable fashion, rock climbing, sewing, and hiking. 

 

Keywords: Urban agriculture, food systems, sustainability, energy 

 

B.S. in Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara (2019)

bmayorga@umich.edu

Andriana Miljanic

M.S. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I am interested in the impacts of land-use change and agriculture on local communities and native species. Prior to joining the Perfecto Lab, my research was focused on pollinator communities. I studied how local-level management and landscape composition impacted bee biodiversity in tree plantations throughout the southeastern US. Outside of research, I enjoy exploring new cities, art, and the natural world. 

 

Keywords: Sustainable agriculture, land-use change, communities, biodiversity

 

B.S. in Environmental Science and Biology, Emory University (2017)

miljanic@umich.edu

Teresa Dorado

M.S. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I am in the Conservation Ecology track at SEAS interested in the intersection between ecological processes and community outreach. In particular, I am interested in the interactions between plants and animals as it pertains to land management. Prior to attending SEAS, I analyzed species diversity in rain gardens and their contribution in enhancing ecosystem services in an urban Chicago neighborhood. Outside of academics, I enjoy painting, running, long bike rides, and eating anything with dark chocolate. 

 

Keywords: Biodiversity, land management, community empowerment, ecology

 

B.S. in Environmental Science, Loyola University Chicago (2018)

tdorado@umich.edu

Ayana Curran-Howes

M.S. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I attained my B.A. in Biology from William Jewell College in 2017 and am interested in how the migration of wildlife and humans is being impacted by climate change, human-imposed boundaries and artificial barriers such as borders. Also passionate about systemic change to food production and consumption, I am interested in how the diversification of farming systems can facilitate migration. I spend my spare time hiking with my dog, painting and enjoying live music.

Keywords: Migration, biodiversity, climate change, food systems, justice

B.A. in Biology, William Jewell College (2017)

achowes@umich.edu

Beth Weiler

M.S. Student (2019 - Present)

 

I’ve been researching Michigan Hymenopteran diversity as it relates to pollination in Dr. Erika Tucker’s lab, and am now planning to explore more plant-insect interactions in the neotropics. My project will focus on parasitoid wasp diversity and their functions as pest control in coffee agroecosystems. Aside from research, I love macro photography of arthropods, scuba diving, caring for my reptile collection, and trying out new beers.

 

Keywords: Biodiversity, pollination, agroecosystems, parasitoids, biocontrol

 

B.S. in Environmental Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2015)

blweiler@umich.edu

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Office: 3541 Dana

Lab: 3543 Dana

440 Church Street

Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Contact

Phone: (734)-764-8601

Email: perfecto@umich.edu