SPA Lab Team (Fall 2019) missing a few members due to filed work. Left to right: Mike Farinacci, Toby Maxwell, Weicheng Wang, Bryce Izlar, Jamie Wright, Adriana Uscanga, Hilary Dawson, Barbara Bomfim, Ori Chafe, Sydney Katz, Alison Deak, and Lucas Silva.
Current Lab Members


Lucas Silva – Principal Investigator – Silva CV January 2020


Dr. Barbara Bomfim. Postdoctoral Fellow studying interactions between land-use change and biogeochemical cycles in tropical systems.


Dr. Toby Maxwell. Postdoctoral Fellow studying climate-induced alterations of carbon and water cycles in montane forests.
Adriana Uscanga. PhD candidate specializing in landscape ecology with focus on human-environment interactions and sustainability of agroecosystems.
Schyler Reis. PhD candidate investigating the effects of disturbance and climate on vegetation shifts across drylands of the Pacific Northwest.

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Jamie Wright. PhD candidate investigating climatic and biogeochemical processes that influence the stability of forest-savanna boundaries.


Ori Chafe. NSF Graduate Research Fellow MS student studying interactions of climate and disturbance with shrub expansion in the Arctic.
Mike Farinacci. MS student interested in the influence of climate and disturbance on forest ecohydrology in the Pacific Northwest. studying sustainable.


Hilary Dawson. Laboratory Technician. Interested in botany and currently investigating prairie drought responses through leaf economics.
Sydney Katz. Honors College student. Research Assistant. Interested in forestry practices and studying the differences in soil characteristics between managed and old growth forests.
Alison Deak. Research Assistant. Interested in fire ecology and studying the degradation and subsequent recovery of forest landscapes to inform land management decisions.
Bryce Izlar. Research Assistant. Interested in habitat fragmentation to apply and integrate SPA interactions into current ecological restoration science.


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Brooke Hunter. Phd student. Co-advised with Josh Roering. Interested in wildfire effects on hillslope erosion and how geomorphic processes influence soil properties and carbon storage.


Adrian Broz. PhD Candidate. Co-advised with Greg Retallack. Investigating the factors that control organic
matter preservation in ancient soils of Earth and Mars.


Previous Lab Members
Paulo Quadri. PhD candidate (UCSC Zavaleta‘s lab) working in collaboration with SPA Lab members to assess the impacts of rising CO2 and climate on alpine forests and how topography modulates these impacts.



Weicheng Wang. MS student interested in GIS and its applications in biogeography and ecology.


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Alexia Gee (SPUR student)
Aaron LeFore (Honors College student)
Braden Prillwitz (Honors College student)
Hunter Mackin (Env Sci Major)
Elizabeth Baach (Env Sci Major)
Recent Adventures:

Carbon and nutrient stock quantification at HJ Andrews

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Soil Science crew at Jory site in central Oregon


Experimental Analysis of Plant-Microbe “Communication”


Dendrochronology team exploring eastern Oregon

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SPA “lab meeting” American river



Tree ring sampling in Tibet


NSF Co-PI Corinne Wong sampling speleothems in Brazil