Skip to main content

School of Forest, Fisheries, & Geomatics Sciences

School of Forest, Fisheries, & Geomatics Sciences


Graduate Students - Interdisciplinary Ecology

Photo Name Degree Seeking Advisor Bio
  Jennifer Ferngren  MS 

Concentration: Natural Resource Policy and Administration

Advisor: Taylor Stein

I have always had a passion for nature and preserving our natural systems for future generations. I am an Orlando local and graduated from UCF with a degree in Environmental Science. I now work at E Sciences, Inc. as an environmental consultant. I work on environmental permits with local and federal governmental agencies ensuring that impacts to natural areas are done in the most sustainable and ethical manner possible.
  Hannah Gottesman  Ph.D.  Will Patterson and Sue Lowerre-Barbieri I am a doctoral student broadly interested in movement ecology of fishes and fisheries sustainability. My research will focus on the spatial ecology and population connectivity of gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis) to help better understand their resilience. As a Cornell University undergraduate, I used passive acoustic telemetry to investigate the temperature-dependent migration of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in collaboration with the Applied Ecology Lab at North Carolina State University’s Center for Marine Sciences and Technology.
  Carolina Jordão  Ph.D.  Robert Buschbacher

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Interdisciplinary Ecology, School of Natural Resources and Environment; M.S. in Environmental Engineering and B.S. in Environmental Management from the University of São Paulo, Brazil.

I have been working in environmental governance in the Brazilian Amazon for the past 10 years, including work with a diverse set of stakeholders in the Amazon frontier of Mato Grosso State in Brazil, focusing on issues of municipal environmental management, social participation, forest governance, leadership training, and capacity building and socio-environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams. For my dissertation research, I am working with the “Rede de Capacitação da Amazônia” (Recam) network and I am exploring issues around organizational culture, funding, collaboration, and social learning in socioenvironmental NGOs at Brazilian Amazon.

I am also interested in gender integration and mainstreaming in the environmental movement., and I work with group facilitation and visual thinking.

  Pamela Montero Alvarez  Ph.D.  Eben Broadbent and Angélica Almeyda Zambrano I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Biological Science at the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP); and my Graduate Diploma on High Amazonian Studies from The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP). My professional experience includes service as a Specialist on Protected Areas for the “Peru Bosques” – USAID/Peru Project; Specialist on conservation and ecotourism concessions for the Ministry of Agriculture. Recently, I conducted the project: “Developing Communal Monitoring Strategies through Community-Based Tourism in the Peruvian Amazon”, funded by the Rufford Foundation. I am currently part of the Governance and Infrastructure in the Amazon – GIA Project. For my dissertation research, I investigate the relationship between conservation and tourism in the Amazon via analysis of social capital and networks and conceptual approaches to community-based tourism.
  Aaron Pilnick  Ph.D.  Joshua Patterson I am a PhD student in Dr. Joshua Patterson’s lab based out of the Florida Aquarium’s conservation facility in Apollo Beach, Florida. My research focuses on coral reef restoration aquaculture. Specifically, I am working on developing scalable methods to culture the long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, in hopes of restoring much needed herbivory to Caribbean coral reefs. My background includes an undergraduate degree from Tufts University (double major in Biology and Environmental Studies), five years of professional experience in the Public Aquarium industry, and working as a SCUBA instructor in the Florida Keys.
  Esteban Rodofili  Ph.D.  Vincent Lecours During my biology program at the University of Buenos Aires, I developed an interest for the geospatial technologies. I realized their potential in the field of conservation biology, allowing us to analyze spatial patterns and also enabling better access to different environments. My first experience with GIS was during my undergraduate thesis analyzing the honey locust invasion in the Rolling Pampa. After completing my undergraduate program, I worked on designing a drone survey for the Marsh Deer Conservation Project in Argentina’s wetlands while taking public policy courses at the Torcuato Di Tella University in Argentina. Afterwards, I worked for the Cethus Foundation analyzing Commerson’s dolphin mark-recapture data in San Julián Bay, Patagonia. This experience informed my choice of specializing in marine sciences, which combined with my interest in geomatics guided me to the Lecours Lab.
  Adam Searles  Ph.D.  Charles Martin and Laura Reynolds I am interested in the community ecology of estuarine and nearshore marine ecosystems. My research aims to elucidate the mechanisms driving community-level differences between seagrass and macroalgae dominated coastal habitats. Due to eutrophication, macroalgaes continue to proliferate in Florida’s estuaries. Seagrasses are thus under compounding pressure from increased competition and nutrient concentrations. Shifts in associated habitat quality and quantity will impact ecological function and ecosystem services such as fisheries productivity and ecotourism. Understanding these impacts is essential to forming ecosystem-based management strategies to bolster the resiliency of important resources in our changing biosphere.
  Rachel Serafin  MS Josh Patterson  
  Ran Zhi  Ph.D.  Jiangxiao Qiu My research focuses on identifying hotspots of soil legacy phosphorus in middle Florida, and expect to find a best management proposal to reduce or remove phosphorus from soil. I was major in Environmental Engineering during my Master’s period. I care about our environment and ecology, which I would like to devote myself to them for my life.