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The Baskett Lab

Students, postdocs, and lab alumni


Current students

Graduate students


Robert Dunn, Graduate Group in Ecology, Joint Doctoral Program with San Diego State University (Kevin Hovel, SDSU adviser)

While I am broadly interested in applying ecological theory to marine conservation and management issues, my dissertation research focuses on the influence of trophic dynamics on community structure within subtidal rocky reef ecosystems. I am also interested in the effects of fisheries on biotic interactions as well as ecosystem restoration, which was the focus of my Master's research at North Carolina State University. My current work, in collaboration with my advisor at San Diego State University, Dr. Kevin Hovel, is on predator-prey interactions among California spiny lobster, sheephead wrasse, and sea urchins on rocky reefs in the Southern California Bight. Along with spending lots of time collecting data underwater, I will be using empirical data from field and lab experiments to develop a community dynamics model to simulate the biotic interactions occurring in this ecosystem.
Website: http://robertpdunn.wordpress.com/
GoogleScholar profile: http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=azB2rH0AAAAJ
Additional affiliations: Hovel Lab, SDSU

Vadim Karatayev, Graduate Group in Ecology

I am interested in the dynamics of metacommunities in spatially and temporally variable environments, and how these communities are shaped by strongly dispersing species. Some of my previous and ongoing research also relates to freshwater ecology and biological invasions. As lakes, streams, and coastal marine systems are hotspots of both human activity and biotic diversity, my research typically lies in the context of environmental changes and conservation.
Website: http://aqeco-vadim.weebly.com/

Richard Kim, Graduate Group in Ecology

I am broadly interested in wildlife conservation, invasion ecology, and predator-prey dynamics. On a theoretical aspect, I am interested in exploring mechanisms that govern the dynamics of trophic interactions and alternative ecosystem states in systems where invasive species and listed species co-occur. On an applied conservational aspect, I plan to design empirical study to parameterize system-specific models and perform decision analyses: under which conditions invasive species should be removed for the conservation of target listed species.

Additional affiliations: Lawler lab, USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Undergraduate students






Current postdocs


Greg Backus, postdoctoral scholar on NSF-funded managed relocation project

I am interested using mathematical modeling techniques to explore the many possible futures of conservation biology. My previous research focused on how modern genetic engineering technologies might be used to eradicate invasive species. Now I am studying the managed relocation of organisms to protect species and genotypes that are geographically restricted. If implemented, both of these of these ideas could have a wide range of potential ecological, economic, and social outcomes. As we discuss how these possible ecological futures might unfold, I am interested in applying my quantitative skill set to the larger interdisciplinary conversation.
GoogleScholar profile: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=BHNRA80AAAAJ&hl=en
Collaborative research link: https://research.ncsu.edu/islandmice/

Mike Gil, National Science Foundation Research Fellow (co-mentor: Andy Sih)

Broadly, I'm interested in the role that species interactions play in regime shifts in natural ecosystems. Recently, I've become particularly interested in understanding if and how animal social interactions over fine spatiotemporal scales affect the structure and function of ecological communities. To answer my questions, I combine observations and experiments from the field, mostly in tropical coral reefs, with various modeling approaches. I also love connecting the public with science, an incredible process of discovery that is often misunderstood.
Website: mikegil.com
Outreach website: SciAll.org
Additional affiliations: Sih lab, https://sihlab.wordpress.com/

Katie Kaplan, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife postdoctoral scholar on marine reserve monitoring

My research investigates ecological processes in marine ecosystems in order to improve approaches to marine conservation and fisheries management.  I am interested in the use of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a tool for ocean and coastal management, and methods for determining their efficacy in achieving conservation and fisheries management objectives.  My current research involves assessing California's marine protected area network and assisting the state of California in developing a long-term monitoring plan for the MPA network. 
Website: https://katherinekaplansite.wordpress.com/
Additional affiliations: CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife, Botsford lab, Hastings lab

Lauren Yamane, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife postdoctoral scholar on fisheries/reserve integration

I investigate the mechanisms that drive changes in the abundances of fish and invertebrate populations, and apply quantitative approaches to address issues in marine resource management.  Currently, I am using mathematical models combined with empirical time series to assess the contributions of California’s marine protected area network to fisheries outside reserve boundaries.  For a description of my dissertation work on salmon population dynamics, please see:  http://botsfordlab.ucdavis.edu/people/

Additional affiliations: CA Dept of Fish & Wildlife, Botsford lab, Hastings lab

Lab alumni

Emil Aalto, Graduate Group in Ecology (co-adviser: Marcel Holyoak); PhD completed 2013
Dissertation title: Lagged Recruitment, Indirect Interactions, and Delayed Recovery in Multi-Species Fisheries
Current position: Postdoctoral Scholar, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University (de Leo lab)

Jaime Ashander, Population Biology Graduate Group; PhD completed 2016
Dissertation title: Causes and Consequences of Evolutionary Rescue in Noisy Environments
Current position: Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Los Angeles (Shaffer lab)

Lewis Barnett, Graduate Group in Ecology (co-adviser: Louis Botsford); PhD completed 2015
Dissertation title: Effects of Fishing, Species Interactions, and Climate on Populations and Communities: Insights for Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management
Current position: Postdoctoral Scholar, joint with the Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service and School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington
http://lewisbarnett.wordpress.com/
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=WfKvBp4AAAAJ

Scott Burgess, Center for Population Biology; postdoctoral scholar 2011-2014
Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida State University
http://scottburgessecology.wordpress.com/

Max Castorani, Graduate Group in Ecology, Joint Doctoral Program with San Diego State University (SDSU adviser: Kevin Hovel); PhD completed 2014
Dissertation title: Context-dependent species interactions in seagrass ecosystems
Current position: Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
http://maxcastorani.weebly.com/
http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=OOkVA9IAAAAJ

Allison Dedrick, Graduate Group in Ecology (co-advisor: Louis Botsford), PhD completed 2017  
Dissertation title: Effects of Environmental Conditions and Management Practices on Harvested Marine Populations
Current position: Postdoctoral Scholar, Rutgers University (Pinsky lab)
Nao Takashina, Visiting graduate student from Kyushu University (adviser: Yoh Iwasa) in 2013-2014
Current position: JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
https://sites.google.com/site/naotakashinaswebsite/

Luojun Yang, Undergraduate researcher (exchange student from Nanjing University) in 2016-2017
Current position: PhD student, Princeton University

Last updated September 2017