Sunshine Van Bael
Dr. Sunshine Van Bael’s (she/her) laboratory studies community ecology with emphases on symbioses and plant-animal interactions. Broadly, we are interested in how plants, animals and fungi become involved in symbioses with other organisms to feed themselves and defend themselves from enemies. We are involved in projects in Ecuador, Panama and in the southeastern US that include microbial ecology, chemical ecology, biodiversity conservation, coastal restoration and agroecology.
Dr. Rosa Soria (she/her) is a postdoctoral fellow who explores the interaction between tropical forest diversity and microbial communities. Her research interests include soil health, soil ecology, soil restoration, heavy metals, soil geochemistry, biochar, and carbon sequestration. She is also interested in outreach activities aimed to visibilize the participation of women in science.
Mareli Sanchez (she/her) is a Ph.D. student interested in how fungal endophytes and root mycorrhizal fungi help non-halophytic plants deal with salinity stress, as well as the role of mycorrhizal fungi in forest restoration. Broadly, her research interests are tropical ecology, wetland ecology, mycology, biogeography, and soil biochemistry.
Bolívar Aponte-Rolón (he/him) is a Ph.D. student interested in studying bacterial and fungal endophytic communities in tropical forests and mangrove ecosystems. His research interests are, broadly, tropical ecology, agroecology, mycology and myrmecology.
Elizabeth MacDougal (she/her) is a Ph.D. student who studies mycorrhizal and root endophyte fungi in Louisiana wetlands. She is interested in the role they can play in ecological restoration, and her current research evaluates whether sand made from recycled glass can be used to restore damaged coastal ecosystems.
Jacob Dixon (he/him) is a Ph.D. student interested in endophytic and epiphytic fungi in plant species in the Convolvulaceae – mostly in the genus Ipomoea – and their effect on specialist and generalist tortoise beetles. He is also interested in endophytic fungal alkaloids and the ecological role they play in affecting insect herbivore development. His research interests include ecological biochemistry, coevolution, and entomology.
Bek Markel (they/them) completed a MS degree on baldcypress endophytes and is currently a research technician working on coastal restoration projects
A sample of undergraduates in 2022
Blaine Martin and Iker Yturralde (not showing: Olivia Barfield, Emily Nochowicz, Judge Sanchez, Sam Kosiborod, Hannah Fabian)
A sample of undergraduates 2021
Judge Sanchez, Iker Yturralde, Oliva Barfield, Blaine Martin