Current Graduate Students:
Erica Johnson (Ph.D.)
Erica Johnson is interested in the biogeography of diseases and parasite-host interactions. She is from Caracas, Venezuela and completed her undergraduate degree at Universidad Simón Bolívar. Erica has participated in many research projects, both in academic and non-profit settings, seeking to integrate field work and GIS including: studying plant dispersal adaptations in fire-prone savannas, monitoring deforestation in the Amazon, and participating in the development of methods to assess Red List of Ecosystems criteria. Most recently, she has focused on landscape-level drivers of disease incidence and distribution. For her Ph.D. research, Erica will implement ecological niche models and trait data to understand parasite-host community composition. She plans to investigate the potential drivers of rodent-borne disease distributions in naturally fragmented habitats of Mexico.
Gonzalo E. Pinilla-Buitrago (Ph.D.)
Gonzalo Pinilla-Buitrago began his Ph.D. in Fall 2017. He is interested in biogeography and mammalogy. He received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, his hometown. He has used biodiversity informatics and museum collections in many projects, including the taxonomic revision of marsupials of the genus Marmosa in Colombia. He received a master’s degree from the Instituto de Ecología in Xalapa, Mexico, where he used ecological niche models of mammals and beetles to evaluate the long-term persistence of areas in which species co-occur. In his Ph.D., he is using ecological niche models and trait data to investigate temporal changes in community composition of cloud-forest mammals in Mexico.
Past Graduate Students & Post-Docs:
Jamie Kass began the CUNY Ph.D. program in the Fall 2013 semester. He is interested in biogeography and community ecology. A native New Yorker (from Queens), Jamie did his undergraduate at the State University of New York at Binghamton, dual majoring in Biology and English. Later, he completed a master's in Environmental Management at Duke University, where he conducted research on carnivores in Madagascar. Before coming to CUNY for his doctoral studies, Jamie worked for several years as a GIS specialist in various academic and environmental non-profit organizations. Jamie collaborated on production of the R package ENMeval (Muscarella et al. 2015) and led development of the web app "Wallace" (see News). For his dissertation, Jamie was focusing on the challenge of considering biotic interactors in models of species niches and ranges. After graduation, Jamie began a postdoctoral research at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan.
Beth Gerstner (Master's)
Beth Gerstner joined the lab in Spring 2014 and is from Staten Island, New York. She completed her undergraduate degree at Stony Brook University and then volunteered at the American Museum of Natural History. In her master's research, Beth is studying the distribution and conservation status of the "olinguito," a recently discovered carnivoran endemic to Colombia and Ecuador. Additionally, she has collaborated with Maria Gavrutenko on conservation and climate-change research on a rodent endemic to Madagascar.
Lázaro Guevara began his postdoc in the lab in spring 2016 (funded by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, CONACYT). Lázaro is from Oaxaca, México. He received his undergraduate degree at the Universidad Veracruzana in fall 2005 and later conducted his master and Ph. D. studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). His dissertation research focused on the systematics and evolution of small-eared shrews of the genus Cryptotis based on morphology, mitochondrial DNA, and ecological niches. Lázaro has received grants from CONACYT and Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO) for his research in several natural history museums. Now, Lázaro is interested in incorporating niche modelling in systematic and phylogeographic studies for a better understanding of the evolution and biogeography of small mammals in Central America, bridging from the Anderson and Carnaval labs at CCNY.
Robert Boria (Master's)
After conducting research in the lab as an undergraduate, Robert A. Boria began his master's program in spring 2012, with funding by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). A native of New York City, he conducted research on the evolutionary ecology of small mammals in Madagascar, focusing on tenrecs. The first chapter of his thesis explored the effects of spatial filtering of occurrence localities, with the goal of reducing the effects of sampling bias (and its effect on ecological niche models; Boria et al. 2014). His second chapter assessed ensemble forecasts of co-optimally performing Maxent models. Along the way, he played major roles in the development of two R packages, spThin (Aiello-Lammens et al. 2015) and ENMeval (Muscarella et al. 2014). After graduating, Rob began a Ph.D. program at the University of California at Merced, working with Jessica Blois.
Peter Galante (Master's)
Peter Galante began in the lab in fall 2012. Pete is from Conesus, New York. He completed his undergraduate degree at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and gained a wide variety of field experince across North America before coming to CCNY. In his master's research, he studied two aspects of niche modeling, using nesomyine rodents as study species. Specifically, he assessed two methods for estimating optimal model complexity, and compared ways for selecting input environmental variables. Pete played an especially critical role in the development of the R package ENMeval (Muscarella et al. 2014). After graduation, Pete was hired by the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History as a Biodiversity Informatics Specialist in a group led by Mary Blair.
Eliécer Gutiérrez (Ph.D.)
Eliécer Gutiérrez began his Ph.D. studies through the CUNY Graduate Center in August 2005. Eliécer is interested in the systematics and biogeography of Neotropical mammals. He received his undergraduate degree at the Universidad de los Andes in Mérida, Venezuela and later worked for the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC) in Caracas, Venezuela. Eliécer collaborated on a systematic revision of spiny pocket mice (Heteromys) in Venezuela (Anderson and Gutiérrez, 2009). He also participated in the fieldwork in Falcón, Venezuela in 2006 and Aragua, Venezuela in 2008, as well as subsequent analyses of the data from Falcón (Anderson et al. 2012). His dissertation research focused on the systematics, biogeography, and evolution of mouse opossums of the genus Marmosa, supported by grants from the American Society of Mammalogists and the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund of the American Museum of Natural History (including funding for DNA sequencing that he conducted in the lab of Sharon Jansa). After graduating, he was a postdoctoral Buck Fellow at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, conducting research on the systematics and biogeography of deer (genus Odocoileus).
Mariano Soley-Guardia (Ph.D.)
Mariano Soley-Guardia began the CUNY Ph.D. program in the Fall 2008 semester. He is interested in the evolution and biogeography of vertebrates, especially rodents and marsupials. As an undergraduate, he studied biology at the Universidad de Costa Rica. In his dissertation, he used GIS techniques to model the areas suitable for small non-volant mammals in southern Central America and northern South America. In the Central American portion, he tested the predictions of niche models with population-genetic analyses based on genetic data that he generated in the lab of Ana Carnaval and at the American Museum of Natural History. He also conducted theoretical research regarding niches and plasticity. Mariano received grants from the American Museum of Natural History, American Society of Mammalogists, and Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York (PSC-CUNY) for his dissertation research. He also was a critical part of the team that developed the R package ENMeval (Muscarella et al. 2014). After graduation, Mariano returned to Costa Rica and is employed by the School for Field Studies.
Aleksandar Radosavljevic (Master's)
Aleksandar (Aleks) Radosavljevic began the CCNY master's program in biology in the fall 2007 semester and joined the lab in the spring of 2008. An avid outdoorsman from northern New Jersey, Aleks did his undergraduate work in Biology at Marymount University in Virginia. Subsequently, he traveled widely in South America and then was employed at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History on the Biological Diversity of the Guiana Shield Program. Aleks' master's thesis assessed ways to avoid overfitting of models of species geographic distributions, leading to increased transferability of the models across space and time. His research on this topic addresses transferability in the Caribbean spiny pocket mouse Heteromys anomalus. Aleks won a travel award from the International Biogeography Society to attend and present his work at the biennial meeting of the Society in January 2009. The results of his project in Journal of Biogeography were selected by the editors to be featured as a "Special Paper" (Radosavljevic and Anderson 2014). Currently, Aleks is a Ph.D. student at Northwestern University, where he continued working with the lab on the development of the R package spThin (Aiello-Lammens et al. 2015).
Past associated Ph.D. students:
Dr. Marcelo Weksler conducted his Ph.D. studies and research supervised by Dr. Robert S. Voss at the American Museum of Natural History. During the Fall semester of 2004, Marcelo collaborated on phylogenetic analyses of the evolutionary relationships among species of spiny pocket mice (order Rodentia: family Heteromyidae: subfamily Heteromyinae), using morphological and genetic (allozymic) data (Anderson et al. 2006). Marcelo graduated in February 2005 and subsequently conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Alaska, working with Dr. Link Olson. In 2007, he began a second postdoc, this one at the American Museum of Natural History, working with Dr. Meng Jin on an NSF Tree of Life grant. Later, Marcelo gained a position as a researcher at the Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro.
Ali Raza (Master's)
Ali Raza worked in the lab as an undergraduate and later entered our master's program, where he conducted research (extending the ideas of his undergraduate research) to study the distributions of species of the genus Nephelomys in Venezuela. His important conceptual research led to a publication in the Journal of Biogeography (Anderson and Raza, 2010). Ali later pursued a master's in science education at CCNY.