The Team

Current Members

Elise Gornish

PI

Interests: Restoration, plant traits, drought effects, STEM inclusion, puns

Trace Martyn

Postdoctoral Researcher

In general, Trace is interested in plant community and quantitative ecology. She particularly enjoys studying semi-arid ecosystems; she has worked on grazing projects on the shortgrass steppe in Colorado, studied complex annual plant communities in Western Australia, and studied climate change impacts on the sagebrush steppe in the Western US. Trace is excited to combine her past experiences with the expertise in the Gornish lab to explore using plant functional traits to inform strategies for multiple management goals.

t.martyn@uq.net.au

TraceMartyn.net

@MartynEcology

Katherine Hovanes

Postdoctoral Researcher

Katherine is interested in population and community ecology and diversity. She studies fine-scale spatial patterning of individuals within populations and wants to use demographic data to model long-term population growth under variable conditions and to study species coexistence. Katherine is also a fan of cooking and playing strategic board games.

Julea Shaw

PhD Student

My dissertation research focuses on integrating strip seeding, targeted grazing, and prescribed burns to promote native perennial grass establishment and reduce invasive annual grass cover in California grasslands.  I am broadly interested in how invasive species alter ecosystem function, and the restoration of natural spaces for multiple benefits and land uses. I spend most of my time at UC Davis and am co-advised by Dr. Leslie Roche and Dr. Elise Gornish. Before my time at UC Davis, I earned a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Conservation Biology and Ecology at Arizona State University. As an Arizona native, I have a particular fondness for arid and semi-arid systems.

Hannah Farrell

PhD Student

Hannah's research interests are on understanding vegetation community pathways and soil recovery following restoration projects, land management activities, and disturbances such as fire. She hopes her research can be used to establish better management practices.

Iris Rodden

PhD Student

Iris is interested in identifying and understanding aspects of, and interactions between, various edaphic and environmental factors that may influence the recovery outcomes of restoration efforts, such as why certain resultant plant communities may be favored over others. She is also interested in considering predicted climatic changes and anthropogenic pressures in order to help design feasible and realistic restoration targets. She hopes her research will contribute towards recreating ecosystems that are functional and sustainable, although perhaps different than their previous state.

Sierra Lauman

PhD Student

Sierra is broadly interested in plant community and restoration ecology. She has worked extensively in annual plant communities in Southern California. Her focus is on developing theory driven ecological restoration projects that can be used to inform and improve restoration success and management practices. She is a big fan of potlucks and karaoke.

Marquel Begay

PhD Student

Marquel is a first-generation college student who comes from the Navajo Nation. Marquel is passionate in working with tribal communities to address rangeland, agriculture and watershed issues in the face of drought and climate change. Her research will focus on native seed restoration for degraded rangelands on the Navajo Nation. Marquel hopes that her work will inform best management practices for rangelands on the Navajo Nation and the broader Southwest.  

Lia Ossanna

PhD Student

Lia is interested in soil ecology of arid lands and utilizing the soil microbiome to better assist in ecosystem recovery. Her previous work includes research on mine revegetation and incipient soil development. Lia intends to use her career to stronger relationships between scientists and policymakers to better inform regulations and management practices, as well as promoting science communication and diversity in STEM.  She is a native Tucsonan, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast.

Amy Gill

Masters Student

Amy is a Fullbright student from Pakistan. She is interested in understanding and identifying vegetation management strategies to conserve and restore desertifying rangelands. Her general interests are: restoration ecology of arid lands, conservation, and revegetation of desert lands. Her current research is focused on developing an understanding on the invasive effects of Eragrostis lehmanniana on establishment and survival of a native Southern Arizona plants -Agave palmeri

Albert Kline

Field Technician

Albert is a research technician for the Gornish lab who is passionate about nature. He has a BS in plant sciences from the University of Arizona. Through his life experiences and working as a tech, he's garnered knowledge in different field research skills and hopes to apply them to restoration oriented questions and continue to learn along the way. In his free time he enjoys trying new foods, being outdoors, skateboarding, spending time with his cat Neko, and watching anime.

Vega

Honorary Lab Member

Interests: playdough, Frozen the movie, carrots, and cats

Lab Alumni

Marci Caballero-Reynolds (Undergraduate), currently just being awesome
Maowei Liang (Postdoc), currently working as a postdoc at Peking University
Max Li (Postdoc), currently working as a research assistant at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
Breahna Gillespie (visiting scholar from San Diego State University), currently finishing up her PhD at SDSU
Patricia Ambrosio (visiting scholar from Brazil), currently completing studies at Ciência sem Fronteiras EUA
Amanda Dechen (visiting scholar from Brazil)

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