Sunshine Van Bael
Dr. Sunshine Van Bael’s 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 Panama and in the southeastern US that include microbial ecology, chemical ecology, biodiversity conservation, coastal restoration and agroecology.
Candice Lumibao is a post-doctoral scholar in the Van Bael lab studying the community ecology of fungal symbionts in two coastal plants, Spartina alterniflora and Taxodium distichum. Her work includes understanding the response of fungal communities to petroleum contamination in salt marsh plants and soil. This work builds on her previous accomplishments studying fungal communities in grasses, as well as investigating how trees were influenced by climate change in the past. For more information, visit Candice’s website.
Lorena Torres Martinez
Lorena holds the Koch Postdoctoral Teaching Fellowship in Tulane's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Along with teaching Plant Biology and a course on bioinformatics, Lorena is conducting research in the Van Bael lab centering on how inundation influences baldcypress symbiont communities. This builds on her Ph.D. research that focused on plant population ecology and climate change. You can read more about her research at her website.
Elizabeth Kimbrough is a Ph.D. student who studies bacterial and fungal endophytes of baldcypress throughout the southeastern US.
Her research interests also include tropical ecology, coastal restoration, botany, lichens, bryophytes and conservation biology. For more from Liz, check out her writing webpage.
Mareli Sanchez 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.
Erin Chapman is a Master’s student in Environmental Science. Her passion is conservation biology with a focus on landscape ecology. She has worked with herpetology, ornithology, and botany. She hopes to make the planet a better place for its organisms through ecological land management.
From left to right; Julia Simon, Steven Medina, Rebecca Wang, Brittany Maldonado, Meg Maurer, Rachel Froehlich, Clare Lister, Trey Hendrix, Sunshine Van Bael. (Not pictured: Callie Oliver, Max Berdik, Caroline Faircloth).