Corey Tarwater (Assistant Professor; Principal Investigator)

Dr. Tarwater has 14+ years experience working in tropical forests. Her research combines in-depth knowledge of animal behavior combined with creative and advanced statistical modeling to understand how populations respond to large and fine-scale environmental change. Dr. Tarwater holds a Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and an M.S. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences); she earned her B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology from the University of California Davis.

Dr. Tarwater's curriculum vitae (PDF)

Jeferson Vizentin-Bugoni (postdoc)

Jeferson works on species interactions and networks with us in Hawaii and Panama. 

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Rebecca Wilcox (postdoc)

Becky obtained her Ph.D. in the Tarwater lab in 2020 and now is continuing to work with us as a postdoc.  

Seed dispersal is an ecosystem function critical for maintaining the structure of habitats and ecosystems. However, these unique mutualisms are under threat from climate change and invasive species. Rebecca's dissertation research focuses on identifying the factors that drive temporal and spatial mismatches between exotic avian disperser movement patterns, habitat selection and dispersal of native plants in Hawaii. With this research, Rebecca hopes to improve our understanding of why mismatches occur between native plants and exotic dispersers and integrate spatiotemporal variation into how we model seed dispersal systems. Ultimately, advancing the way that we model and assess the health of these novel and dynamic ecosystems.  

Sam Case (Ph.D. Candidate)

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 PhD research, he is studying the role of introduced game birds in seed dispersal networks of Hawaiian forests. Two non-native game bird species, the Kalij Pheasant and Erckel’s Francolin, are well established in forest habitat of Oahu, where all native seed dispersers are extinct. To explore whether these birds contribute to plant species invasion or conservation, Sam is investigating their diet, gut passage effects on seed condition, and movement ecology. This work is a part of the Hawaii VINE Project, a larger investigation of seed dispersal networks in novel ecosystems of Hawaii.

Laura Gomez-Murillo (MSc student)

Laura started her MSc in the Tarwater lab in January 2019. Laura has been working for the Tarwater lab since 2014 when she started as a field technician for the Hawaii VINE project and she has been the field crew leader for the Panama PLUMAS project since 2016. Her major interest is the ecology of tropical birds, particularly biotic interactions and life history traits. Laura is from Medellin, Colombia.

Rosemary Hopson (undergraduate)

Rosemary is interested in frugivory rates in Hawaii. She is researching the effects of neighborhood, landscape, and plant traits on visitation rates. In summer 2018, she will travel to Hawaii to gain experience in the field and gather data using a NASA grant she obtained. Rosemary has been in the Tarwater Lab since the start of her junior year. She is expected to graduate in May 2019 with a double major in Zoology and Botany with an Ecology concentration.

Josephine Tagstad (undergraduate)

Josephine is working to determine a non-invasive, vocalization-based method for identifying individual red-capped manakin males (Ceratopipra mentalis). She is a member of the Wyoming Research Scholars Program and has been working with the Tarwater Lab since the beginning of her freshman year in 2017. Josephine's research will take her to Panama in January of 2019 to explore whether individual males can distinguish between one another's calls by conducting aggression experiments, and she is expected to graduate in May of 2020 with a degree in biology. Follow Josphine's research pursuits here:

Terri Higgins (undergraduate)

Terri is studying personalities in song sparrows. More soon...

Pryce Millikin (undergraduate)

Pryce is studying birds in Hawaii. More soon....

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