Lab Members


Joy WinbournePostdoctoral Fellow in the Institute at Brown for the Study of Environment and Society

Broadly, my research focuses on tropical forest ecology and coupled biogeochemical cycles. I am motivated by the pressing need to understand the function of tropical forests and how they will respond to anthropogenic activities. I am particularly fascinated by the process of biological N fixation, a microbially-mediated process responsible for the conversion of the abundant di-nitrogen in the atmosphere into biologically reactive forms. There are a number of pathways by which N fixers make a living including symbiotic relationships with trees (e.g. legumes) or free-living in the soil. My previous research activities investigated how variation in bedrock derived nutrients – namely phosphorus, molybedunum, and iron – influenced patterns of free-living N fixation in the rainforests of Belize. We found iron to limit rates of free-living N fixation in the soil of forests growing on limestone geology. My postdoctoral research focuses on understanding controls and patterns of symbiotic N fixation during secondary forest succession in the Atlantic forest of Brazil. Symbiotic N fixing trees are abundant in tropical forests yet little is known about the regulation of N fixation via this pathway especially in secondary forests. I plan to explore this gap in our knowledge in order to inform regional restoration objectives and global N budgets.


OsborneBrooke Osborne
Ph.D. Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the IGERT Reverse Ecology Program

Broadly, I am interested in terrestrial ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. I like thinking about microbial linkages between global change and ecosystem-scale processes and am especially interested in questions that will advance our understanding of nutrient cycling dynamics and address knowledge gaps for management/mitigation purposes in the face of global change.Currently I am focused on better understanding the influence of geomorphology, climate, and biological diversity on nitrogen cycling and limitation in lowland tropical forests and the underlying mechanisms of control. Additionally I am a student of Brown University and the MBL’s

“Reverse Ecology” IGERT program. My cohort and I are working to integrate net generation sequencing into improving our understanding of nitrogen cycling in salt marsh systems.In addition to my research I enjoy designing and participating in creative communication and outreach efforts to connect the public and decision makers to science. 



lindsaymccullochLindsay McCulloch Ph.D. Student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I am interested in tropical ecosystem ecology with a specific interest in how nutrients move throughout a system. Broadly, I study the interface between plants and soils and the varying potential influences they have on each other. I often think about the relationship between fungal hyphae and plants and how that facilitates the movement of nutrients in typically nutrient poor soils. I plan to better understand how this relationship contributes to larger processes, such as the carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycle to gain a better understanding of the intricate workings of these cycles and potential global impacts.



Sawyer Balint Undergraduate Environmental Science Concentrator

I am interested in the influence of terrestrial ecosystems on global climate, and how further study of biological process can advance our predictions of future climate change. As an avid outdoorsman and competitive sailor, I have long had a personal connection and interest in the intersection between ecology and climate. Most of the work I have participated in so far has focused on biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. Specifically, I have been involved in the study of nutrient cycling in tropical landscapes, with a strong emphasis on how changes in climate and biological diversity affect phosphorous cycling and nitrogen fixation.







Ruby Ho (Lab Manager)

I am responsible for the day to day operations in the lab, including helping students with their work and running samples that come in from our various projects.  All inquiries that are lab-specific should be sent to me.




Some Recent Lab Alums:

Justin Becknell (former Post Doc):  Current whereabouts: Assistant Professor of Ecology, Colby College

Aida Feng (former undergrad):  Current whereabouts: Fulbright Fellowship in Germany

Maya Almaraz (former PhD Student):  Current whereabouts: NSF Funded post doc in Ben Houlton’s Lab at UC Davis

Eric Roy (former post doc):  Current whereabouts: Assistant Professor at The University of Vermont

Rachel Chelsea Nagy (former Ph.D. student):  Current whereabouts:  Postdoctoral Fellow in Balch Lab at CU Boulder.

Cooper Tamayo (former undergrad):  Current whereabouts:  MS in Environmental Management at the Bren School, UCSB.

Rebekah Stein (former undergrad):  Current whereabouts: Graduate program in Ecology at the University of Michigan 

Laura Schreeg (former post doc):  Current whereabouts:  Program Manager at U.S. Agency for International Development and U.S.Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Radika Bhaskar (former post doc):  Current whereabouts – Visiting assistant professor at Haverford

Steven Goldsmith (former post doc).  Current whereabouts:  Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Villanova.

Joaquin Chaves (former post doc).  Current whereabouts: Research Scientist, NASA Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry

Shelby Hayhoe Riskin (former Ph.D. student).  Current whereabouts: Publishing papers and being a mom.  

Carmen Tubbesing (former Bio undergrad).  Current whereabouts: Ph.D. Student, UC Berkeley.

Jesse Bateman (former GeoBio undergrad).  Current whereabouts: Graduate student in ecology at Stanford.

Mana Tang (former GeoBio undergrad).  Current whereabouts: Graduate student in anthropology at the Washington University in St. Louis

Timothy Huth (former Env. Studies MS student).  Current whereabouts: Risk analyst at Risk Management Solutions.