Postdocs & Students

Peter Zee : Post-doctoral Researcher

Peter Zee

Post-doctoral Researcher

Contact Info:

Peter's webpage

Peter is a post-doc working to understand the consequences of trait evolution in ecological communities. He is working collaboratively with the terHorst lab and Sebastian Schreiber (UC Davis). He has broad interests across community ecology and evolutionary biology, with a particular interest in interactions at community, social, and genetic levels. Before arriving at CSUN, Peter was a postdoc with Tad Fukami at Stanford and a PhD student at Indiana University with Jim Bever and Greg Velicer. Outside of work, he enjoys spending his time hiking and camping out in nature, watching films, and playing basketball.

Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler : Post-doctoral Researcher

Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler

Post-doctoral Researcher

Contact Info:

Catalina joined the lab in summer 2016, having graduated from Mathew Leibold's lab at Univ. Texas, Austin. She is a shared post-doc with Tom Miller, but is primarily based at Florida State University. She is studying the community ecology of the microbial inquiline communities of pitcher plants.

Nickie Cammisa : Masters Student

Nickie Cammisa

Masters Student

Nickie graduated from Muhlenberg College, where she worked for three years in the environmental toxicology lab of Dr. Jason Kelsey. During her undergraduate years, Nickie enjoyed her field research experiences, which included studying Rainforest Ecology for a semester with the School for Field Studies in Australia, and traveling to Costa Rica to study environmental and economic sustainability. In addition, she was very active in the environmental sustainability scene; she served as the president of the College's Permaculture Garden, secretary of the College's Environmental Action Team, and the Student Sustainability Coordinator for Sodexo. For her Masters project, Nickie will be examining the role of phenotypic plasticity in shaping ecological and evolutionary processes at the community level.


Zoë Scott : Masters Student

Zoë Scott

Masters Student

Zoë graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Aquatic Biology. She studied abroad in Australia, did a research internship in Moorea, French Polynesia, and traveled throughout New Zealand and the Polynesian Atolls. To fuel her love for the ocean, she is research SCUBA certified, and has been diving in some truly amazing places. Her childhood love for the ocean has grown into a desire to study how local adaptation in invasive species affects the ecology of the community, completing the feedback loop between the ecological and evolutionary forces acting on community structure. In the future, she hopes to use this research as a step stool to influence marine policy, as well as educating the public on contemporary marine issues.

Jamie Canepa : Master's Student

Jamie Canepa

Master's Student

Contact Info:

Jamie graduated from Pomona College and joined the lab in 2015. He is interested in speciation and reproductive isolation. He is studying the population genomics of a shore crab (Pachycrapsus crassipes) along both the western and eastern shores of the Pacific Ocean, in order to document differences in phenotypes (claw color) and identify regions of the genome that may be under selection in each region.

Melissa Kurman : Master's Student

Melissa Kurman

Master's Student

Melissa joined the lab in 2015, having graduated from Temple University, where she worked on genetic variation in deep sea corals in Erik Cordes' lab. She is now focusing on genetic variation in the response of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) to temperature. She is also using genomic tools to identify candidate regions of the genome that are under selection. For my information, visit her website:

Alejandro Flores : Undergraduate Student

Alejandro Flores

Undergraduate Student

Contact Info:

Alejandro has been helping out in the lab on a huge variety of projects, but is now looking to take on his own independent research on protozoa living in pitcher plants.