Jessica Coyle

Lecturer
E-mail: jes.r.coyle at gmail dot com

Jes is an ecologist who likes to think about processes driving variation in communities from large to small spatial scales. She completed her PhD in 2016 with Allen Hurlbert at UNC-Chapel Hill, where her dissertation research evaluated how morphological and functional traits can be used to detect environmental constraints on lichen epiphyte communities at different spatial scales. Currently, she is working on a model exploring the implications of mutualism on biodiversity patterns in the context of environmental constraints. Jes came to Stanford in September 2016 as a Lecturer to teach research-based undergraduate courses. For additional info on her projects and data sets, see her web site and GitHub.


Manpreet Dhami

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: mdhami at stanford dot edu

Manpreet is interested in species interactions and how these networks drive evolutionary outcomes. She completed her PhD in 2012 at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, with Mike Taylor and Jacqueline Beggs. Her PhD research focussed on the previously undiscovered intracellular symbionts of scale insects. She studied the host-symbiont coevolution and traced the ecological significance of this relationship. She received her BSc (Honours) in 2009 and BSc in 2008, also from the University of Auckland. Before moving to Stanford, she worked as a research scientist at the Plant Health and Environment Laboratory of New Zealand, where she developed molecular diagnostics for the identification of some of the world's worst invasive species. In May 2014, Manpreet joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow to study the community dynamics of Mimulus aurantiacus nectar microbes.


Nick Hendershot

PhD student
E-mail: jhende at stanford dot edu

Nick is interested in how ecological communities respond to land use change. During his undergraduate studies, Nick used congeneric wood-wren species to look at how interspecific interactions contribute to diversity along elevational gradients in tropical montane forest ecosystems. In 2014, he completed his BSc at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, under Aimee Classen, where his thesis focused on global drivers of belowground microbial diversity and abundance. Nick joined the lab in fall 2015, and for his PhD thesis, he initiated a project that asks how deforestation and agricultural intensification impact resource use and predator-prey interactions in bird communities in Costa Rica. Nick is a Stanford Graduate Fellow.


Po-Ju Ke

PhD student
E-mail: pojuke at stanford dot edu

Po-Ju is interested in understanding how plant-soil interactions influence plant and microbial community dynamics. He finished his Master's degree at National Taiwan University in 2013 with a focus on theoretical ecology. Supervised by Takeshi Miki and Tzung-Su Ding, his thesis took a trait-based approach to predicting plant-soil feedback strength, later published in New Phytologist. Po-Ju joined the lab in fall 2014, and for his PhD study, he uses 20 years of high-resolution aerial photos taken at Bodega Bay to study the temporal development of plant-soil feedback in dunes. By combining the aerial photo analysis with field work, high-throughput sequencing, greenhouse experiments, and mathematical modelling, he seeks to link microbial succession patterns to vegetation turnover. He is also working on incoporating mechanistic plant-soil feedback models into general coexistence theories to understand plant species coexistence. Po-Ju is a Volttera Award winner.


Devin Leopold

PhD student
E-mail: devin.leopold at gmail dot com

Devin received his BA from Hampshire College after completing a thesis project investigating lignin decomposition by white-rot fungi. He then moved to the Island of Hawaii, where he worked in conservation research for seven years, including three years of working as a technician in the lab, studying interactive effects of introduced rodents and habitat size on canopy food webs in a lava-fragmented forest system. In 2012, he transitioned to a PhD student to pursue his primary interest, microbial community ecology. Devin's PhD research is focused on ericoid mycorrhizal fungi and other fungal symbionts associated with Vaccinium calycinum, a Hawaiian endemic plant. He uses variation in island age and soil conditions across the Hawaiian Islands to understand how fungal symbiont communities change as ecosystems develop. Funded by a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, Devin also brings the fungal communities into the lab for microcosm experiments to examine how properties of symbiont species pools influence microbial community assembly and its functional outcomes for the host plant.


Andrew Letten

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: andrewletten at gmail dot com

Andrew's research aims to bridge outstanding gaps between theory and empiricism in understanding the role of environmental variability in generating and maintaining biological diversity. He completed his PhD in 2015 with David Keith at the University of New South Wales in Australia, where he investigated the role of spatio-temporal environmental heterogeneity in maintaining species coexistence and diversity in plant communities in South-east Australia. Previously he received a Masters of Environmental Science and Law from the University of Sydney, and a BSc (Hons) in Ecology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Andrew joined the lab as a CEHG postdoctoral fellow in fall 2015. He is investigating the impact of variability in resources (amino acids) and non-resource factors (osmotic pressure and temperature) on species and genotypic coexistence in nectar microbial communities.


Priscilla San Juan

PhD student
E-mail: psanjuan at stanford dot edu

Priscilla is broadly interested in understanding how animals are impacted by anthropogenic changes in the environment. She is particularly fascinated by the connection between animal microbiome and conservation. She completed her BA in Environmental Science at the University of California, Irvine. As an undergraduate, she researched antibiotic resistance in environmental bacteria, perchlorate toxicology in Caenorhabditis elegans, and the ecological roles of two invasive fish species in Mexico. She worked with Donovan German using digestive enzyme profiles to investigate how the fishes' roles change through a gradient of environments, ranging from pristine to urban conditions. Priscilla joined the lab in summer 2016, and has started to examine the effects of human land use on avian microbial communities and diversity.


Akira and Yutaka Fukami

Honorary members
No email yet

Akira joined the lab as an honorary member when he was born in January 2012. Akira recruited his brother, Yutaka, into the lab when he was born in December 2014.



In addition, we always have undergraduate students in our lab, either working on their thesis projects or assisting others to gain research experience. In summer 2016, Michelle Li and Anna Verwillow worked as assistants working on dune plants and nectar microbes, funded by the VPUE grants.

Our lab also hosts visiting students and scholars from other institutions. Most recently, we had Hirokazu Toju, an Assistant Professor from Kyoto University, as a visiting scholar from September 2015 to February 2016. Among other things, he helped to modernize our capacity and protocol for high-throughout sequencing and analysis. In January 2017, Tess Grainger from Toronto will join us as a visiting PhD student.




May 2014 - Stanford - Lab members with families and friends



Former members


Research affiliate - Mifuyu Nakajima

Lab technician - Marie-Pierre Gauthier

Post-doctoral fellows - Ben Callahan, Kabir Peay, Rachel Vannette, Meike Wittmann, Peter Zee, Kai Zhu

PhD students - Melinda Belisle, Matthew Knope, Holly Moeller

Visiting PhD student - Caroline Tucker

Undergraduate students - Safiyyah Abdul-Khabir, Breanna Allen, Sophia Christel, Simone Barley-Greenfield, Mitch Ginsburg, Ashley Good, Grace Goldberg, Whitney Hoehn, Diana Huynh, Nathan Kim, Hannah Lynch, Katrina Luna, Sharia Mayfield, Colin Olito, Kelsie Pombo, Rachel Powell, Kim Thai, Julia Tsai, Anna Wietelmann, Aaron Wacholder, Jeremy Watson

Field Studies Program undergraduate students - Daniel Halford, Tess Morgridge, Liz Parissenti, Jenny Rempel, Jake Riley, Nessarose Schear, David Zimmerman, Amy Zuckerwise

High-school student interns - Julia Borden, Christine Kyauk, Arjun Pillai, Roman Rosado, Jose Rosales