Who We Are

NGB

Noelle G. Beckman, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

I integrate quantitative and empirical approaches to enhance our knowledge of the mechanisms that limit populations and maintain biodiversity in natural and modified environments. Currently, I'm investigating population spread of plants under different global change scenarios. Read more about current projects by following the links under research themes.

Learn more about Noelle.

Bogen

Sarah Bogen

Fall 2018 - present

PhD Student in Math & Stats with specializations in Interdisciplinary Studies & Climate Adaptation Science

I am interested in using data-driven mathematical modeling approaches to study complex ecological phenomena. I started research as an undergraduate at Capital University where I modeled the spatial and temporal spread of White-Nose syndrome in North American bats. Since then I’ve had a range of quantitative research experiences in areas such as agricultural epidemiology, genomics, microbiology, and systems biology. Most recently, I used a statistical approach to study the genetics of mental health at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. My past work has allowed me to explore several mathematical techniques and collaborate with biologists in a variety of sub-fields. For my PhD research, I will be returning to my ecological roots to study extinction risk of plant species under climate change. I am also interested in disseminating mathematical and scientific knowledge through education and advocacy.

Borah

Binod Borah

Fall 2018 - present

PhD Student in Ecology

I am a PhD student pursuing a degree in Ecology through the Biology Department. I am interested in ecological interactions, particularly between plants and animals and how they influence population demography and community dynamics. In the Beckman Lab, I plan to study animal-mediated seed dispersal in a changing world, using a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches. I have a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation from National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bangalore and Wildlife Conservation Society-India Program. My dissertation looked at responses of interspecific associations in mixed-species bird flocks to selective logging in East Himalaya, a project I continued after graduation. I am also actively involved in biodiversity conservation in the larger landscape and consulted with multiple protected areas and community reserve managers to set up management goals, generate biodiversity and socio-economic information, and raise funds for effective protection.

Learn more about Binod.

Jos

Elsa Jos

Summer 2018 - present

PhD Student in Ecology

I am interested in how species interactions determine the abundance and distribution of plant species. I would like to integrate theoretical and empirical approaches for this. I plan to study the evolution and ecology of fruit traits and how these traits mediate plant-animal interactions. I completed a Masters in Ecology and Environmental Sciences from Pondicherry University, India. My masters research focused on the evolution and ecology of touch-sensitive stigmas in angiosperms, which I did with Dr. Hema Somanathan at IISER, Thiruvananthapuram, India. After this I continued working with her on a project looking at population sizes and species diversity in Myristica swamps in Southern Western Ghats, India.

Learn more about Elsa.

Eric Sodja

Eric Sodja

Fall 2017 - present

M.S. Student in Ecology

I use a modeling approach to investigate how plant spatial distributions and diversity influence interactions plants have with other organisms, such as insects, fungi, and mammals, and how these interactions in turn influence the distribution and diversity of plant species. Understanding these interactions is useful to predict the changes that may occur given disturbances to the system, such as species invasions, shifts in resource availability, or other environmental changes. I received a B.S in Conservation & Restoration Ecology and a B.S. in Economics with a minor in Geographic Information Science from Utah State University.

Learn more about Eric.

Cole Carlson

Cole Carlson

Spring 2018 - present

Undergraduate Researcher

I am a Junior Biology student and am pursuing a minor in chemistry as well as psychology. I am pursuing a career in medicine but would also like to explore research opportunities that I am interested in order to gain more knowledge about the world around me as well as how research is conducted. I have been a research assistant in Dr. Maddens behavioral analysis lab for a 2 semesters working with research involving delayed discounting. Recently I have found an interest in ecology and would like to explore research in this area and learn more about ecological processes along the way.

Justin Tirrell

Justin Tirrell

Spring 2018 - present

Undergraduate Researcher

I am pursuing a Biology major and a Philosophy minor. My role within the Beckman Research Group is to create mathematical models for biological processes. I was drawn to this particular focus because I desire to participate in research that informs policy makers and the public about how human behavior affects local ecosystems. By creating well-researched predictive models, I plan to contribute insight into how biological systems may change their behavior as human behavior continues to alter natural ecosystems.

ALUMNI

Rebeca Acosta, University of Panama Undergraduate Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Spring 2009)

Julio Batista, University of Panama Undergraduate Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Fall 2008)

Sophia Christoforides, UMN Undergraduate Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Fall 2008)

Reina Heinz, UC-Santa Cruz Undergraduate Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Matt Certo, Western Washington University M.S. Student Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Summer 2008)

Christopher Moore, CSU-Fullerton M.S. Student Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Summer 2008)

Amy Dickson, Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Spring 2008)

Serica Zwack, Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Spring 2008)

Bernardo Lopez, Volunteer, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Fall 2007)

Sonja Riddle-Ford, Undergraduate Directed Research in Panama, University of Minnesota (Summer 2006)

Michelle Stein, UMN M.A. Student Intern, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama (Summer 2005)