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 biotic and abiotic interactions influence community dynamics. 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 under Aimee Classen, where his thesis focused on global drivers of belowground microbial diversity and abundance. Nick will join the lab in fall 2015, and for his PhD, he plans to study the feedback between community structure and function using hummingbird-pollinated plant communities. He hopes to look at the effects of phoretic mites on nectar microbial community assembly in the tropics. 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 interactions between plants and microbes influence plant community properties and ecosystem functioning. He finished his Master's degree at National Taiwan University in 2013. Supervised by Takeshi Miki and Tzung-Su Ding, his thesis focused on indirect interactions between litter dynamics and soil microbes, and how the relative importance of plant traits to plant-soil feedback changes with microbial community composition. After receiving his Master's, Po-Ju worked as a research assistant in Miki's lab, investigating bacterial functionality in a reservoir and conducting theoretical extensions of plant-soil feedback. Po-Ju joined the lab in fall 2014, and for his PhD study, he is interested in applying both theoretical and empirical approaches to studying the linkage between traits, plant-soil interactions, and community structure.

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. Following graduation, he moved to the Island of Hawaifi, where he worked in conservation and ecological research for the last seven years, including 3 years of working as a technician in the lab, studying interactive effects of introduced rodents and habitat size on canopy food webs. This project utilizes a native Hawaiian forest on Mauna Loa Volcano naturally fragmented by lava flows. In fall 2012, Devin transitioned into a PhD student position in the lab. He plans to study plant community ecology using the same fragmented forest as a model system. He is concurrently working towards a Masters of Geographic Information Systems degree from Penn State University.

Andrew Letten

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: andrewletten at gmail dot com

Andrew is interested in how the ecological and evolutionary processes driving species coexistence vary across spatial, temporal, and phylogenetic scales. 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 will join the lab as a CEHG postdoctoral fellow in fall 2015. He plans to investigate deterministic and stochastic drivers of species-genetic diversity correlations in nectar microbe communities.

Rachel Vannette

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: raleva at stanford dot edu

Rachel completed her PhD in 2011 at the University of Michigan. She is broadly interested in chemically mediated species interactions and their implications for broader community dynamics. With her PhD advisor, Mark Hunter, she studied the role of nutrients and plant defense compounds in mediating multitrophic interactions among symbiotic soil fungi, their host plant, Asclepias syriaca, and aboveground herbivores including Danaus plexippus and Aphis asclepiadis. In the lab, Rachel examines how changes in the chemistry of floral nectar mediates community assembly of nectar-dwelling yeast and bacteria in Mimulus aurantiacus. She also examines how microbially mediated changes in nectar chemistry may affect pollinator visitation and plant fitness. Another project, in collaboration with Tad and Devin, examines arbuscular mycorrhizal communities in forest fragments of varying size in Hawaifi. Rachel is an LSRF Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Kai Zhu

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: kai dot zhu at stanford dot edu

Kai is interested in global change ecology, especially in models to understand biodiversity. He was a PhD student in ecology with Jim Clark and MS student in statistics with Alan Gelfand at Duke University. His PhD research was primarily in population and community ecology, focusing on biogeography and demography of eastern US forests. He is also broadly interested in statistical applications in ecology. Previously, he received MS in ecology and BS in physics from China. In May 2014, Kai came to Stanford as a postdoc in Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. Co-supervised by Chris Field, Nona Chiariello, and Tad, he is analyzing and synthesizing the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment.

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.

This summer (2015), David Cross, Carolyn Rice, and Nic Romano are working as undergraduate assistants on nectar microbe research, supported by the VPUE grants.

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, Meike Wittmann, Peter Zee

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