Group Members

Looking to join our team? (See openings in the lab here)

Jump to our team, recent alumni, or past students.

Our Team

Amy E. Zanne

Senior Scientist

  • Research interests include ecology, evolution and physiology, especially that of plants, termites and microbes, decomposition, carbon cycling
  • Favorite species? An impossible question! Probably a Proteaceae - Conospermum ericifolium
  • Favorite things to cook? Fermented foods. Dishes that include lemon, mushrooms, rosemary, farro, cumin, zatar, tempeh, arugula, hot sauce, garlic, corn - usually of my own creation.
  • Find me at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Baptiste Wijas

Postdoctoral researcher

  • I have a particular interest in landscape ecology and am interested in the interactions that shape biodiversity and ecosystem functions. My research focuses on wood decomposition processes, herbivory, food webs, drylands and invertebrate detritivores such as termites.
  • Favorite species? Spotted pardalote
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Vegan tofu, asparagus and mushroom quiche

Paulo Bernardino

Postdoctoral researcher

  • I am interested in understanding abrupt changes in ecosystems, what causes them, and how they can be predicted. To do so, I use remote sensing and advanced time series analyses.
  • Favorite species? Philcoxia minensis! (Have you ever seen a plant with underground leaves?!)
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? All sorts of pasta. I would eat pasta every day if I could.

Abbey Yatsko

5th Year PhD Student

  • I am interested in how carbon cycles within trees of savanna ecosystems. My dissertation research is focused on measuring wood decomposition occuring within trees as well as quantifying methane emissions coming from termite mounds.
  • Favorite species? For plants, the quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), and for animals, I love eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)!
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Sourdough bread of all forms (stay tuned for my bakery opening...)

Yuri Souza

3rd Year PhD Student

  • My interests rely broadly on understanding ecosystem ecology, how species interact with each other, and how these interactions, in turn, affect and shape the environment. Right now, I am studying termites and their contribution to global diversity and to soil structure.
  • Favorite species? Striped Owl. This owl has a strong singing call and a funny staring face.
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Rice, Pasta, and pizza!

Bruna Hornink

2nd Year PhD Student

  • I am interested in studying how wood traits respond to climate and atmospheric changes over time, specifically within various environmental conditions. Also, my interests extend to tropical forest management and the diverse applications of dendrochronology in multidisciplinary settings.
  • Favorite species? Handroanthus impetiginosus
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Any kind of pasta, with or without sauce.

Larissa Verona

Research Assistant

  • I am interested in understanding how ecosystems function and how plants influence these processes. Additionally, I aim to apply this knowledge in applied efforts such as restoration ecology. Recently, I have been focusing on carbon dynamics in wetlands and am passionate about these incredible ecosystems!
  • Favorite species? Loudetiopsis chrysothrix. This small grass has amazing golden colors and an inflorescence that looks like an earring.
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Brazilian pão de queijo — a small bread filled with lots of cheese.

Guilherme Macedo de Alencar

Undergraduate student

  • I am interested in understanding how plant diversity affects ecological processes and how environmental filters shape the distribution of species in wetlands in Brazil.
  • Favorite species? Stachytarpheta glazioviana. A small plant with almost white leaves and black flowers.
  • Favorite thing to cook or bake? Zucchini lasagna.

Donna Davis


  • I am a multi-discipline artist intrigued with the idea of connection; my work explores intersections between art and science with a particular focus on natural and social ecosystems.
  • For more on Donna's work, check out her website here, or take a look at her feature in our photo gallery!

Recent Alumni

Rebecca Clement

Zanne Lab member from 2017 to 2022, now working on a postdoc studying aphids with the USDA.
Role: PhD student studying Australian termites from evolutionary and biogeochemical perspectives


Marc Rosenfield

In the Zanne Lab from 2019 to 2022, now a researcher in Denver working on carbon emissions and nature based solutions.
Role: Masters student studying carbon cycling in urban systems, patchy ecosystems and marine-terrestrial interfaces


Rose Cheney

Role: Undergraduate Student


Kelsey Bartlett

Role: Undergraduate Student studying the mechanisms and predictors of flower phenology shifts as well as the implications of global change on plant distribution and ecosystem function


Nora Cavanaugh

Role: Undergraduate Student studying how plants develop strategies for survival, growth and reproduction, plant diversity and adaptive radiation


Leona Neftaliem

In the Zanne Lab from 2018 to December 2020, now a PhD student at Stanford University.
Role: Honors Undergraduate student, studied wood decomposition and its influence in carbon cycling within various biomes


Habacuc Flores-Moreno

In the Zanne Lab March 2018 to December 2020, now a Data Curation Analyst at TERN.
Role: Postdoc stationed in Cairns, Australia, collaborated and deployed the wood, termite, and fungi (WTF) project


Marissa Lee

In the Zanne Lab until 2020, now a postdoc in Christine Hawkes’ new lab at NC State University
Role: Postdoc


Brad Oberle

In the Zanne Lab 2012 to 2015, now a Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at New College of Florida
Role: Postdoctoral Scientist & Adjunct Instructor


Past students

Postdocs, graduate, and undergraduate students

Marc Rosenfield

Rebecca Clement

Rose Cheney

Kelsey Bartlett

Nora Cavanaugh

Leona Neftaliem

Habacuc Flores-Moreno

Marissa Lee

Amy Milo

Tania Fort

Justin Hachey

Henry Betts

Oyomoare Osazuwa-Peters

Brad Oberle

Roy Rich

Luke McCormack

Mike Boyher

Justin Collins

Bryan Cordes

Maranda Evans

Andrew Harrington

Haris Lalic

Andrew Miller

Rachel Milner

Payal Patel

Mariya Shcheglovitova

Laura Bader

Juan-Carlos Penagos

Chris Riggs

Gonzalo Rivas

Shannon Shanafelt

Sheila Strickland

John Sweeney

Mandy Terry

Vania Torrez

Elvis Valderrama

Nicole Butler

Neeki Ahmadi