Luis joined the Sala Lab in fall 2016 as a Ph.D. student in the Environmental Life Sciences program. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras Campus in 2015. Luis is interested in woody plant encroachment, climate change and plants responses to changes in their environment, for which he has done related research on a variety of ecosystems like Siberian Arctic Tundra (Woods Hole Research Center), Tropical Wetlands and Tropical Dry Forest (CATEC – UPRRP). Currently Luis is expanding his research curiosity toward Desert Ecosystems. He is interested in how precipitation and herbivory interacts to affect the probability of seedlings establishment of woody plants and non-native grasses in a native-dominated grassland at the Jornada Experimental Range (Chihuahan Desert).
Courtney joined the Sala Lab in the fall of 2018 as a Ph.D. student in the ELS program. She is interested in studying biogeochemical interactions between nutrients, plants, soils, and water availability in drylands. A current project of hers focuses on multi-year rainfall manipulation effects on grass and shrub phenology. Before joining the Sala Lab, she received her MSc from Arizona State University, where she investigated the ecological stoichiometry and physiological responses of three Daphnia species to phosphorus-enriched lake seston, and her BSc from the University of Notre Dame.
Sam joined the Sala lab in the fall of 2018 as a PhD student in Environment and Life Sciences. Sam studies how climate, soil water, and disturbance control plant diversity and functional type abundance in dryland plant communities. With the Sala lab, Sam will be collaborating on a new multi-year drought manipulation study in three dryland ecosystems across the American West. His Master’s work in big sagebrush ecosystems explored how climate, ecohydrology, and disturbance affects plants diversity, and how livestock grazing changes plant communities over time. Sam received his MESc from Yale University and his BS from the University of Tennessee.
Chris will be joining the Sala lab in the fall of 2019 as a Ph.D. student in the ELS program. He received a Bsc in Geoscience from Drexel University in 2016, where he researched paleontology and tropical ecology. After graduating, he worked as a staff scientist at the Academy of Natural Sciences assisting with a variety of aquatic ecology research projects investigating the impacts of land use practices on ecological systems. Chris is interested in researching the effects of changes in climate and land use on ecosystem services and resilience at multiple scales.