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 Panama and in the southeastern US that include microbial ecology, chemical ecology, biodiversity conservation, coastal restoration and agroecology.

Mareli Sanchez

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

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

Elizabeth MacDougal (she/her) is a Ph.D. student with research interests in coastal restoration, climate change and science outreach

Nico Potoker

Nico Potoker (he/him) is a +1 master's student whose research interests include tropical ecology, fungal biology and wetlands conservation and restoration

Bek Markel

Bek Markel (they/them) completed a MS degree on baldcypress endophytes and is currently a research technician working on coastal restoration projects

Undergraduates 2021

Judge Sanchez, Iker Yturralde, Oliva Barfield, Blaine Martin

Undergraduates 2020

Olivia Barfield (left) and Reid Belanger (right). Not in photo: Molly Duncan, Anya Mukundan, Emily Nochowicz, Iker Yturralde.

Lab alumni

Gone but not forgotten! Much gratitude to our lab alumni! Demetra Kandalepas, Stephen Suchy, Jordan Hoffman, Taryn Farber, Ryan Wolfe, Matthew Moore, George Washburn, Casy Gu, Joshua Lerner, Kathalina Tran, James Sebes, Elaine Broussard, Ivana Levy, Keiana Cave, Mallory Kiefer, Rebecca Flournoy, Aurora Duncan, Alison Harrington, Kaylee Arnold, Brittany Bernik, Alexander Freeman, Jennifer Janowsky, Amelia Lormand, Emma Darr, Miranda Hendrix, Emma Tower, Kimberly Mighell, Erin Chapman, Candice Lumibao, Lorena Torres-Martinez, Trey Hendrix, Rebecca Wang, Rachel Froehlich, Alexandra Greengrass, Jacklyn Drewry, Max Berdik, Carolyn Babendreier, Brittany Maldonado, Julia Simon, Clare Lister, Meg Maurer, Steven Medina, Callie Oliver, Elizabeth Kimbrough, Bek Markel, Peter Tellez, Stephen Formel, Lucy Murray, Reid Belanger, Kayla Quincy, Selisha Garrett, Molly Duncan, Nath Clarke