Postdoctoral Fellows

aaronAaron David

I am interested in how plant-microbe interactions influence plant conservation and restoration. Specifically, my work considers how plant-soil feedbacks affect the demography of endangered plants. I am conducting this research at Archbold Biological Station, which boasts populations of several listed plant species endemic to Florida. I am a post-doc in both the Afkhami and Searcy labs. To learn more about my interests and experiences please visit my website!


Graduate Students

Stephanie Clementssteph

For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about tropical conservation. As an undergraduate, my interest in conservation led me to conduct research on the diversity-stability debate which looks at the how the diversity of an ecosystem affects its stability. I presented my research findings at the Mid-Atlantic Ecological Society of America Conference. I also had the opportunity to study abroad in Costa Rica during my undergraduate years. The beauty and diversity of the ecosystems there solidified my interest in tropical ecology. As a PhD student in the Searcy lab, I will study the effects of habitat fragmentation on tropical rainforests with the goal of revealing processes that inform tropical ecosystem conservation and restoration practices.


Caitlin Mothescaitlin

I am a PhD student interested in conservation of threatened and endangered species. I received two B.S. degrees from NC State University in Zoology and Conservation Biology. My research interests include combining ecology and conservation genetics to aid the protection and management of species and their associated habitats.



Hunter J. Howell

My research focuses on conservation biology through the use of quantitative population Hunter.jpgecology and community level analysis. I believe that in order to successfully preserve endangered species, it is imperative to have a quantitative understanding of population dynamics and their causes. While most of my previous research has focused on the conservation of freshwater turtles (specifically Spotted Turtles, Bog Turtles, Wood Turtles, Eastern Box Turtles, and Western Chicken Turtles) and land-management within protected areas, my current research is examining the impact of hydrology and invasive species on native herpetofaunal communities in the Everglades. Our long-term goals are to provide management recommendations for water regimes and tree-island restoration to help restore the Everglades’ ecosystem as a whole.


Dishane Hewavithana

My passion lies in protecting wildlife through a learned approach towards legislation. I havedishane-e1516932176542.jpg a background in Zoology, and Fish and Wildlife Management. For a previous degree, I dug through wild elephant poo to study its ecological impact! My broad interest of study is in incorporating ecology in the decision making processes in land development. As part of my PhD project I am investigating the impact of linear development such as roadworks, railway, and powerlines on wildlife, and hoping to make contributions for the implementation of policies that would be favorable to both man and wildlife. At other times, I chase after dragonflies and butterflies and dream of a better tomorrow.


Lab Pets


I am the lab mascot. I am especially talented at keeping everyone motivated during long days of pond sampling. I enjoy sniffing frogs and lying down in the shade after a long day’s work.