Dr. Corey E. Tarwater (Principal Investigator)

Dr. Tarwater has been working in tropical forests for over 20 years now. Her research combines in-depth knowledge of animal behavior combined with creative and advanced statistical modeling to understand how populations and communities respond to large and fine-scale environmental change. Dr. Tarwater holds a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a M.S. from the same university in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. She earned her B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology from U.C. Davis. She is a native of Encinitas, CA and has two kids that she enjoys outdoor activities with and that come with her on her field adventures.


Sam Case (Ph.D. student)

Sam is intrigued by plant-animal interactions within changing forest ecosystems. Particularly, he is curious about how functional traits vary within communities composed of native and non-native species, and how novel species interactions accelerate or hinder invasion processes. For Sam's Ph.D. research, he is studying the role of introduced game birds in seed dispersal networks of Hawaiian forests. This work is part of the Hawaii VINE Project, a larger investigation of seed dispersal networks in novel ecosystems in Hawaii.


Laura Gomez-Murillo (M.S. student)

Laura is interested in how the birds that follow army-ant swarms vary across the precipitation and fragmentation gradient in Panama (PLUMAS Project). She investigates how communities of army ant-followers vary across this gradient and what influences the costs and benefits of attending swarms. Although she began her MS research in January 2019, Laura has been working on the PLUMAS, Limbo, and VINE projects since 2014. Laura is from Medellin, Colombia.


Kim Jordan (M.S. student)

Kim’s current research interests lie in quantitative population ecology and the impacts of environmental change on biodiversity and ecosystem function. She hopes to address important questions related to the conservation of tropical birds, while exploring topics related to demography, physiological variation, and species interactions. For Kim’s M.S. research, she will be analyzing data collected on individually-marked birds in central Panama since the 1970’s. 


Mary De Aquino (M.S. student)

Mary is interested in how avian communities respond to changing environmental conditions. More specifically, she is keen to understand which groups are most sensitive to changing conditions and the mechanisms driving population trends. Mary is also interested in science communication and enjoys sharing her love of science and the natural world with others. She received her B.S. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and since then she’s been fortunate to work in diverse and beautiful landscapes from the plains of Montana to the cloud forests of Ecuador. In addition to most things bird-related, Mary enjoys backpacking, sports, art, and befriending dogs. 


Elizabeth Howard (undergraduate student)

Liz is a new student in the lab who just recently received a WRSP grant. Liz will be studying niches of birds that follow army ant swarms in Panama. Liz came to us from Omaha, Nebraska.

Summer Holeman (undergraduate student)

Summer is a new student in the lab who just recently received a WRSP grant. Her interest in avian ecology mostly stemmed from her desire to do field work. Summer is excited to look more into behavioral research, possibly including competition between birds at army ant swarms. Summer came to us from Cody, Wyoming.

Juan Felipe Castor Ospina (Crew leader, Panama)

Juan Felipe is a field biologist from Cali, Colombia with a special love for birds and the mountains. His research interests are in the molts of tropical birds, bird banding, and how to integrate these tools with management to help conserve birds.