Lab Members

Dan Doak

Professor, Environmental Studies

I am interested in a range of topics in population biology and community ecology, including both basic issues and those related to conservation biology. At the moment, my field work is focused on plant population ecology, especially the demography of arctic and alpine plants and how they respond to climate change, and on the ways that termites influence an East African savanna system, and in particular their effects on acacias and the communities they support. I am also working collaboratively on modeling projects on a variety of topics and species.

Megan Peterson

Post-doctoral Researcher

I’m a plant evolutionary ecologist broadly interested in how multiple forces interact to shape contemporary evolution. In particular, my research has focused on interactions among mating systems, demography, and selection in driving patterns of adaptive divergence. I recently joined the Doak lab where I’m collaborating with Dan and Bill Morris to dissect the roles of local adaptation and plasticity in determining climate responses in alpine plants.


Ryan Langendorf

PhD Candidate

I am an aspiring theoretical ecologist in both the Environmental Studies and Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology programs working on developing and improving tools for characterizing communities and their dynamics. What does that actually mean? Well, I spend my time buried in equations and code, trying to improve the ways ecologists answer questions like “What role does the structure of a food web play in its stability and persistence?”, “What structures of competitive interactions best support restoration efforts?”, “In what ways can we infer dynamics of an unknown community from a heavily studied one?”, “What is the impact of species aggregation on predictions of community stability?”, “Do communities develop in predictable ways with regard to the way they are structured?”, and most importantly, “What are ecological interactions, and how can we realistically and usefully describe them?”.

Nathalie Chardon

PhD Candidate

My broad research interests are species range limits, and how these will respond to climatic and other anthropogenic impacts. My dissertation research focuses on the range limit determinants of the alpine cushion plant Silene acaulis across portions of its North American and European range. I am specifically examining the effects of disturbance at range edge and center populations, and if such effects are consistent across climatic, elevational, and latitudinal gradients.

Christopher Steenbock

PhD Candidate

I am interested in characterizing spatio-temporal host-parasite interactions in Rocky Mountain pine forests; and in understanding and characterizing the long term ecological processes that have shaped the expansion and structure of isolated pine forests in northern Wyoming.

April Goebl

PhD Student

I joined CU Boulder as a PhD student in both the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology program and the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. I am co-advised by Dan Doak and Nolan Kane. Broadly, my interests include understanding how plant populations respond to environmental change and understanding the importance of genetic diversity in population persistence. I use a combination of field experiments, population genomics, and stochastic population modelling in my research.

Michael Drake

PhD Student

I am interested in investigating the impacts of humans on wildlife at the community and population levels. By uniting ecological and human dimensions research, I hope to conduct solution driven research that promotes biodiversity conservation in the modern age. I primarily work with terrestrial mammals, but previous research projects have allowed me to work with a wide range of taxa, including coyotes, pangolins, neotropical primates, aquatic flies, and steppe grasses.

Lisa Natale

PhD Student

With a background in pure mathematics, I love asking abstract questions. I enjoy exploring complex systems (no shortage in biology!) and am drawn to develop theory and methods to help ecologists analyze ecosystem structure and species interactions. I’m fascinated by emergent properties, concepts of stability, and the interplay between community structure and dynamics. I’m also curious about the role of biodiversity in shaping persistent systems. Appreciating that observation can yield invaluable insight, I seek to weave abstract exploration and tangible experimentation in my research. I am grateful to be a member of the Doak Lab, the Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology Program, and the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at CU-Boulder.

David Zonana

PhD Candidate

My research focuses on how local adaptation and social behavior influence patterns of gene flow between populations (and even species). To address these questions, I am combining population genomic approaches with social network analyses in a hybrid zone between the California and Gambel's quail in the deserts of southern California. I am co-advised by Dr. Michael Breed. My time at CU has strengthened my long-standing passion for teaching all things biology.


Recently moved on:

Allison Louthan
Post Doctoral Research Associate, Duke University
Reilly Dibner
Lecturer and research scientist, Univ. Wyoming
Doug Keinath

Conservation Biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service

Lizzie Lombardi
Lab Manager Emerita. PhD student at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University