Enquist Lab - People



James finished his PhD spring 2009. His dissertation focused on developing a common theoretical framework to unite adaptive dynamics theory and metabolic scaling theory. His dissertation focused on linking species diversity, food web/trophic dynamics, and specifically in terms of the effects of climate change on species interactions via the effects on plant stoichiometry.

James completed an NSF bioinformatics post-doc with Allen Hurlbert at UNC. James just started a job at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a Research Scientist in ecology in the Funadamental & Computational Sciences Directorate.

Scott is broadly interested in theoretical ecology, metabolic scaling theory and community ecology. He is interested in how growth and functional constraints shared by all trees interact with ecological processes, specifically competition mediated by light availability, to influence the evolution of life-history traits in tropical forests.

Nate finished his PhD in 2008. His dissertation focused on mechanisms that generate diversity in plant form and function and how this diversity in turn promotes species co-existence through space and time. His research approach at its core is integrative and comparative drawing from a diverse array techniques and tools including phylogenetics, traits, and scaling.

After being offered an NCEAS post-doc fellowship and an NSF bioinformatics postdoc he settled in at Harvard for a year to work with CTFS before then accepting a job as an Assistant Professor in the Botany Department at Michigan State.

Christine is interested in linking community ecology, functional traits, with methods of scaling and spatial patterns in ecosystems - especially mountain ecosystems and as they pertain to climate change.  Her dissertation focuses on assessing the relative roles of biotic and abiotic variables in influencing species interactions and community structure across gradients as well as assessing how this structure then influences ecosystem and carbon dynamics.

She was recently offered a post-doc at the University of Maine and will soon be moving on to greener (literally) pastures. 

Graduate Students

Lab Propagules

Drew was a post-doc in the lab. Drew is interested how the predictable constraints of size on plant form and function (plant allometry) can be used to "scale-up" from the functional attributes of individual plants to the structure and dynamics of whole populations and communities. These studies span from the physiology of leaves to global patterns of primary productivity, and he uses both theoretical models and empirical studies to address questions concerning the evolutionary and functional ecology of terrestrial plants.

He is now an Associate Professor at Kenyon College.

Jason was a USGS and NCERC post-doctoral fellow. Jason is interested in theoretical and simulation approaches to species diversity,  community ecology, macroecology and biogeography.

He is now an Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia, Okanagan

Ethan was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioinformatics. He split his time between the Enquist lab at the University of Arizona & Dr. Jessica Green's lab at the University of California - Merced. His research interests are primarily macroecological, combining theory with empirical analysis to address questions about emergent spatiotemporal patterns of biomass spectra, species diversity & abundance - especially questions focusing on the processes that drive these patterns. In addition, he is actively involved in studying emergent properties in the structure and dynamics of communities, with the goal of understanding community wide constraints on factors such as abundance, biomass, and species richness.

He is now an Assistant Professor at Utah State University.

Chuck defended his PhD in 2006. His dissertation focused on understanding variability in  plant allometry, morphology and architecture. He is interested in allometric scaling models and understanding the diversity of plant form in linking the scaling of abundance, size, and diversity within and across plant communities.

He is now an Assistant Professor in the school of plant biology at the University of Western Australia.

Evan started in our lab as an undergraduate interested in scaling theory and macroecology. He quickly became a Theory and Computational Technician. Evan still visits the lab from time to time and is involved in several lab collaborations

He is currently a post-doc at the University of Michigan in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology. In June 2012 he will be moving to Japan to lead the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.

Megan defended her PhD in 2007. Her dissertation focused on quantifying how phylogeny, physiology and life-history differences affect whole plant energetics and biomass allocation.In addition Megan investigated global and phylogenetic patterns of allocation and biomass partiioning within and across plant taxa. Via a series of creative experiments and large scale data sources her work uniquely quantified the degree of phylogenetic signals as well as the role of environmental variation in biomass partitioning.

She now works as a biologist for Idaho US Fish and Wildlife and the Idaho Botanical Gardens.

Megan McCarthy

Principle Investigator

Brian J. Enquist

Current Positions

Professor - Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

External Faculty - The Santa Fe Institute

While based in Tucson Julie is a PhD student coadvised with the  McGill and Lechowicz labs at the University of Maine and McGill University respectively. She is interested in plant functional traits, trait based community ecology, forest ecology and tropical ecology. For her PhD research, Julie is addressing two central questions: 1- Can we quantify the ecological strategies of trees based on functional traits? and 2- Can we detect community assembly rules based on these ecological strategies? In other words, is community composition the result of the environment selecting successful individuals based on specific traits and combinations of traits?

Peter was a lab tech in my lab for several years. He is now a PhD student in physical oceanography at Oregon State University. Peter’s expertise is now being applied to how large scale processes influence the dynamics of ocean currents. His research integrates the biological response to horizontal and vertical fluxes in the open ocean. His interests include the integration of numerous satellite observations with autonomous, in-situ observations (ARGO floats, gliders, etc.) to investigate bio/physical interaction in the World Ocean.

Julie Messier

Ben is a PhD student and is broadly interested in biological networks. His current research focuses on understanding how leaf venation networks impact plant adaptation and acclimation to novel climates. He is also interested in improving K-12 science education through experiential approaches.

Check out his weekly photoblog at http://bblonder.wordpress.com/ and his leaf blog by clicking here

Cathy is interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the coexistence of large number of species within tropical forests. She is also interested in plant phenotypic plasticity across different communities as well as soil-vegetation interactions. Her research aims to test several models of species coexistence and habitat partitioning of plant species by using observational and greenhouse experiments along elevational gradients in both temperate and tropical ecosystems.

Lindsey Sloat

Lindsey is a PhD Student and is interested in the effects of climate change on subalpine plant communities. Her dissertation aims to describe how changes in snowpack may alter the carbon budget in subalpine meadows, to explore the mechanisms behind biotic and abiotic drivers of carbon flux and community composition, and to document species and functional diversity patterns both along an elevational gradient and resulting from experimental manipulations in temperature and precipitation. She is also broadly interested in macroecoogical patterns, including abundance range size relationships and issues of species rarity.

Post Docs

Lisa received her PhD in ecophysiology from David Tissues lab at Texas Tech and was previously a visiting post-doc in the lab of Kiona Ogle at the University of Wyoming. She is currently a NSF postdoc working on extending metabolic scaling theory to account for additional aspects of plant hydraulics, xylem function, and carbon flux. Her work focuses on scaling metabolism, photosynthesis, and respiration across species in order to predict regional and global patterns of ecosystem functioning (e.g., carbon flux). She is focusing her efforts on deriving broad scaling approaches that integrate key plant physiological processes that affect ecosystem level dynamics and including Bayesian modeling approaches. Her approach addresses an increasing need for predictive models that scale from the leaf to globe in order to inform future research and government policy decisions.

Cyrille received his PhD in plant functional ecology from the lab of Eric Garnier in Montpellier France (PhD advisor: Prof. Marie-Laure Navas).He is a Marie Currie Fellow. Cyrille is working on linking plant traits with evolutionary and ecological theory, the SALVIAS and BIEN projects, as well as linking variability of plant traits with large scale biogeographic and macroecological patterns.


Vanessa Buzzard

Lab Technicians and Undergraduate Assistants

Vanessa is our lab technician. She runs the lab and is a key reason we are collectively productive and happy. She is the central technician on our recently funded NSF Macrosystems proposal. She is also mainly responsible for keeping the lab plot, trait, and stoichiometry project running. She is a wizard at organizing data, measuring countless tree branches, sapwood cross-sectional areas and tracheids. Vanessa is also spearheading several research projects including several on the dynamics of tropical tree communities.

Sean is interested in how physical processes control ecological patterns.  His Ph.D. thesis research uses physical process models to predict tree mortality. He is interested in developing mechanistic theory to predict the effects of environmental variation on tree hydraulics. He is developing a a carbon- and water-based tree mortality model linking roots, bole, and crown; implementation of tree mortality model. Sean will be joining the lab in the summer of 2012

Dr. Boyle is interested in patterns of diversity - including biogeography, and macroecology and plant systematics within and across plant assemblages. Brad is Co-PI on the BIEN and SALVIAS projects, and is an instructor for the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS). He studies large scale patterns of plant diversity, & tropical tree diversity especially in montane forests.

His PhD focused on elucidating patterns of biological diversity across spatial and temporal scales. At the largest scales, his work focused on how biogeographical history and current conditions generate and maintain gradients in taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional trait diversity. Mike was one of the cofounders of the SALVIAS project.

Mike is currently a post-doc with Michael Kaspari at the University of Oklahoma.


Amanda Henderson

Amanda comes to us from graduating from Kenyon College in 2010. She was an REU undergraduate and conducted independent research at our field site at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. She is currently a technician on our recently funded NSF Macrosystems grant. When not traveling to far, near, and quite distant macrosystems plots. measuring tree DBH and installing dendrometers she is engaged in several lab research projects associated with questions on trait-based community ecology.

International Students & Collaborators

The Enquist lab is fortunate to be co-mentors to several international PhD students and post-docs to spent part of their time during the year within the lab.

Irena is finishing her PhD with David Storch at Charles University in Prauge, in the Czech Republic. Irena is interested in Macroecology, scaling, and assessing mechanistic models for diversity gradients.

John is a PhD student as well as a Research Intern in Bioinformatics and Geospatial Analysis for the lab. He is coadvised with Steve Archer and Brian McGill. John is broadly interested in macroecology, species diversity, biogeography, species distribution or niche modeling. He has broad expertise in ecoinformatics, global change, community and population ecology, endangered species, and geographic information systems.  John is a central collaborator and developer of the iPlant and NCEAS funded BIEN project.

Check out his Blog by clicking here

Naia is finishing her PhD with J.C. Svenning at Aarhus University in Denmark. She is interested in botanical informations and the combined effects of climate change and land use changes on biodiversity loss and ecosystem service changes in tropical America.

Helene is an evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in biodiversity research. She is a CNRS researcher, based at the Center for Applied Mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. He work combines mathematics, bioinformatics and fieldwork to study questions ranging from macroevolution and macroecology to community assembly, biogeography, and conservation. Helene collaborates with the lab on questions of integrating phylogenetic, evolutionary, and mathematical approaches to understanding large scale patterns of species diversity.

Google scholar profile for Brian click here

The BIEN Project - Botanical data & range maps for the Americashttp://bien.nceas.ucsb.edu/bien/http://www.salvias.netshapeimage_14_link_0
Lab Photos../Enquist_Lab_Pictures/Enquist_Lab_Photos.html
The SALVIAS Project - Global 0.1ha Forest plot datahttp://tnrs.iplantcollaborative.orghttp://www.salvias.netshapeimage_16_link_0
The TNRS - Standardize your Botanical datahttp://tnrs.iplantcollaborative.orghttp://www.salvias.netshapeimage_17_link_0
Lab blog  - Lab news and bloghttp://enquistlab.wordpress.com/http://www.salvias.netshapeimage_18_link_0