Current Graduate Students
Jason Miller (MS anticipated June 2021, Ecosystem Studies, Environmental Sciences & Policy Program). Jason joined the lab in January 2019. He is studying orchid ecology. He was awarded a Cofrin Research Grant in May 2019.
Jacob Pelegrin (MS anticipated June 2021, Ecosystem Studies, Environmental Sciences & Policy Program). Jacob joined the lab in September 2019. He is studying Rhizopogon population genetics. He was awarded a Cofrin Research Grant in May 2019.
Current Undergraduate students
Natasha Clark (BS May 2020, Biology). Natasha joined the lab in Sept 2019. In June 2019 she was awarded an Heirloom plant grant to study wild rice (Zizania spp.). She will use DNA sequencing to identify the species of wild rice present in the bay of Green Bay.
Megan Richter (BS Biology anticipated May 2021). Megan joined the lab in January 2019. She worked on the Phragmites australis soil microbiome project. Starting fall 2019 she will work on the Ridges orchid project. Megan was also awarded an Heirloom plant grant in June 2019 to develop a set of simple sequence repeat loci (SSR) to study population genetics of our wild rice populations.
Lab alumni: former graduate students
Katie McDonald (MSc December 2018). Katie examined macrofungal diversity at two Cofrin Center for Biodiversity Natural Areas: Penninsula Center Sanctuary (Door County, Wisconsin) and Kingfisher Farm (Manitowoc County, Wisconsin). Her thesis serves as the first fungal biodiversity study of these important natural areas and will provide valuable information for understanding forest ecology, succession, and effects of climate change on fungal biodiversity. As part of her thesis she will document fungal genetic diversity for future generations by depositing the fungal specimens in the UWGB Gary A. Fewless Herbarium. She has already documented new records of hypogeous fungi for Northeast Wisconsin from Kingfisher Farms (a species of the genus Tuber) and Penninsula Sanctuary (2 Rhizopogon species).
Samantha Nellis (MSc December 2016) Samantha investigated the distribution and composition of nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria communities in Wisconsin plants. The objectives of her study were to: (1) investigate and describe the microbial community found in the floral nectar of Wisconsin wildflowers, and (2) determine the extent that pollinator species shape the composition and distribution of nectar-dwelling microorganisms and to investigate the potential limitations of microbial dispersal. Samantha is being co-advised by Dr. Lisa Grubisha and Dr. Amy Wolf. I am assisting Samantha with the molecular microbial ecology part of her research.
Matthew Peter (MS September 2015). Matt’s thesis, A comparison of ecological states, restoration potential, and morphological and molecular genotyping between native and exotic Phragmites australis in Door County, WI wetlands, was completed under the direction of Dr. Matthew Dornbush, his thesis advisor. Matthew and I worked on the molecular genotyping of his populations. A description of his thesis research may be found here: Matthew Peter
Lab Alumni: Former Undergraduate Students
Rebecca Malcore (BS May 2019, double major Biology and Human Biology). She is now in a Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan.
Rebecca joined the lab Fall 2017. She is working on the Phragmites australis soil microbial community study.
April 2019 Rebecca presents a poster on her Phragmites australis research at the 18th University of Wisconsin Undergraduate Research Symposium (URSCA). For the poster she presented at this symposium, she was awarded the Sager Scholarship for Scientific Writing.
April 2019 Rebecca was selected to present her research at the 16th Annual University of Wisconsin System Research in the Rotunda, Madison, WI
June 2018 Rebecca was awarded the Friends of Peninsula State Park Student Research Grant to study yellow lady slipper orchids.
May 2018 Rebecca was awarded a Cofrin Center for Biodiversity grant to study the fungi associated with coral root orchids at Toft Point.
April 2018 Rebecca presents a poster on her Phragmites haplotype study at the 17th University of Wisconsin Undergraduate Research Symposium (URSCA).
Fall 2017 Rebecca was awarded an Heirloom Plant Undergraduate Research Grant to examine the Phragmites plants found on the DNR Phragmites Adaptive Management Grant. She is using chloroplast sequences to determine what haploptypes of native and exotic Phragmites are present in Green Bay wetlands.
Makayla Swain (BS anticipate 2019 Environmental Science) Makayla joined the lab in May 2018 to study conservation genetics of coral root orchids at Toft Point. She was awarded a Cofrin Center for Biodiversity grant to complete this study. In June 2018 Makayla joined our collaborative orchid project with the Ridges Sanctuary and the Smithsonian Ecological Research Center. She is now in a MS program studying climate change effects on forest ecosystems at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada.
Maddison Quamme (BS May 2019 Biology/Environmenatl Science) and Jennifer Bahling (BS May 2019, Environmental Science). Jennifer and Maddy joined the lab September 2018 and worked on the Phragmites australis soil microbiome study.
Autumn Ruleau (BS December 2018, Biology). Autumn worked in the lab fall semester 2018 on the agriculture soil projects.
Lydia Deweese (BS May 2018, Human Biology). Lydia joined the lab in May 2017. She isolated DNA and conducted PCR from soil samples. Lydia spends a lot of time as a star women’s Phoenix volleyball player. Fall 2017 she is completing an independent study in the lab looking at how cultivation techniques affect microbial community composition and biodiversity in corn fields using next generation Illumina DNA sequencing.
Zachary Gates (BS anticipated May 2019, Biology). Zachary joined the lab in May 2017. He spent all summer working on all of the lab’s current projects including participating in orchid surveys and collecting soil samples at the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor, field sampling in corn fields, processing soil, and numerous DNA isolations and PCR. He also started collecting hypogeous fungi in Wisconsin!
Bob Walker (BS anticipated May 2017; Biology, emphasis in Ecology & Conservation Biology) Bob joined the lab in spring of 2016. He worked on the orchid restoration project at the Ridges Sanctuary in Bailey’s Harbor, WI.
Josh Moyer (BS May 2017; Biology, emphasis in Cellular and Molecular Biology) Josh worked with Samantha Nellis investigating microbial diversity in nectar since Fall 2015. Starting the summer of 2016 he investigated diversity of agricultural soil microbial communities. He pursued his interests in bioinformatics, while working with Samantha, to develop a tutorial using the Qiime pipeline for future students to use in my lab to analyze Ilumina-generated microbial community DNA sequence data.
Phillip Malchek (BS May 2017; Biology, Ecology and Conservation Biology emphasis). Phillip assisted graduate student Katie McDonald with her fungal biodiversity study during spring semester 2017.
Angela Grimm (BS anticipated May 2019, Environmental Sciences). During Fall semester 2016, Angela collected and identified species of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus using DNA sequencing.
Maxwell Larsen (BS May 2016; Biology, emphasis in Ecology & Conservation Biology) During the summer of 2015 Maxwell collected and identified lichen species in Mahon Woods in the Cofrin Memorial Arboretum.