PEOPLE

Cindy Looy

Assistant Professor

Cindy is a plant ecologist who investigates the response of Paleozoic plants and plant communities to environmental change during periods of mass extinction and deglaciation, and the possible evolutionary consequences. Her primary research is focused on several aspects of the end-Permian biotic crisis and its aftermath, and the transition from a glacial-dominated world to an ice-free one during the Late Carboniferous to the Middle Permian. >>

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Ivo Duijnstee

Adjunct Assistant Professor

Ivo is an adjunct assistant professor in Integrative Biology and an assistant professor at the Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He teaches biological topics for geology students and vice versa. He mainly works on the (paleo)ecology of foraminifera, single-celled marine organisms whose shells easily fossilize.

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Renske Kirchholtes

Graduate Student

Renske is a graduate student who works in collaboration with the Netherlands Geological Survey. Her main interest is focused on phytolith research and its application in paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Phytoliths, small silica particles found in most plants, which are particularly resistant to weathering, are useful in botanical, archeological and geological studies.

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Winnie Hsiung

Graduate Student

Winnie is a graduate student whose research interest is in how plant communities reflect climate changes through time. She is working on pollen collection and the relationship between pollen frequency and climate changes. Her previous research focused on vegetation assemblages on a cretaceous guyot. Current research focuses on pollen signals which reflect past climate changes from lake cores.

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Jeff Benca

Graduate Student

Jeff is a graduate student implementing studies of living plants to test hypothesized drivers of mass extinctions and environmental changes in the deep past. Much of his experimental and fossil work emphasizes ecological and developmental responses of lycopsids (clubmosses, quillworts, spikemosses) to environmental changes that fundamentally shaped the evolution of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems.

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Dori Lynne Contreras

Graduate Student

Dori is a graduate student working at the interface of paleobotany and tropical ecology to investigate the functional evolution of rainforests. She is interested in understanding the ecological roles of angiosperms and gymnosperms in late Mesozoic plant assemblages from tropical paleo-climates. Her research involves comparative studies of fossil and extant plant communities using morphological functional traits, leaf physiognomy, and physiological traits

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Susan Tremblay

Graduate Student

Susan is a graduate student in the Mishler Lab, who is interested in all aspects of early land plant evolution. Liverworts are her main passion, because they occupy an important position as the sister group to the rest of the land plants. She incorporates fossil evidence into liverwort phylogenies in order to form a more complete picture of their early evolution and is especially interested in the origin and evolution of their unique oil bodies.

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Robert Stevenson

Research Assistant

Robert is a recent graduate with a BA in Integrative Biology. He currently works as a Research Assisant managing projects on intra-canopy variation in epidermal morphology in Coastal Redwood and Giant Sequoia, Carboniferous palynology, aerodynamics of Permian conifer seeds, and comparitive aerodynamics of gymnosperm seeds.

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Meriel Melendrez

Research Assistant

Merial was an undergraduate student in Integrative Biology. She currently works on her honors thesis within the project "Epidermal leaf morphology changes with height in the tallest tree in the known universe, Sequoia sempervirens". Meriel graduated with a B.A. in Integrative Biology in Spring 2012.

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Stephanie Ranks

Research Assistant

Stephanie recently graduated with a triple major in Integrative Biology, English, and Celtic Studies. She is currently researching seed plant phylogenies with a special focus on conifers, with the goal of mapping conifer winged seed evolution with respect to tree height.

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Taehee Han

Undergraduate Student

Taehee Fan is an undergrad in Integrative Biology. He works with Susan Tremblay on her research into Devonian liverworts, making permanent slides of the fossils and photographing them so their cells can be compared to those of modern liverworts.

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Diane Erwin

Museum Scientist

Diane Erwin is the paleobotanical collections manager at UCMP (University of California Museum of Paleontology). Her primary research interest in Tertiary plant systematics, floristic and vegetational change through time and space dovetails with her day-to-day curation of one of the world's largest fossil collections of Tertiary plants from western North America. Diane currently does field work and fossil plant collecting in California and Nevada.

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Hannah Bonner

Honorary Lab Member

Hannah Bonner is an author and illustrator of paleo books and other educational materials for children and adults. Hannah got to know Cindy years ago while consulting with scientists at the Smithsonian on how to reconstruct Paleozoic coal swamps for her first book, When Bugs Were Big. Hannah is also the creator of the Looy Lab plant mascot. Here we see this teenage lycopsid recording the the world's first lycopodcast for the site.

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