Current lab members

lab photo

Postdoctoral researchers

Shyam Thomas. Shyam is excited by applied conservation-oriented research regardless of the ecosystem or taxa involved. His research typically involves spatial analysis and modeling, and he enjoys the challenge of developing spatial models that are geared towards finding solutions to real-world conservation problems. To date, he has worked on several research projects: (i) grassland ecology and conservation, (ii) invasive species distribution modeling, (iii) plant tolerance to herbivory within a biocontrol management context, (iv) insect pest outbreak and spillover in an urban-rural landscape, and (v) patterns and drivers of mercury bioaccumulation in freshwater sport fishes. As a member of the Hansen and Larkin labs, he is developing spatially explicit models to predict invasion risk and quantify socio-economic impacts of Eurasian watermilfoil invasion in Minnesota lakes.



Jesús Pinto Ledezma. Jesús is from the lowland region of Bolivia and his research focuses on the intersection between macroevolution and macroecology. He applies macroevolutionary theory and phylogenetic comparative methods to understand geographic patterns of species diversity and the assembly of local biotic communities. Also, as a field biologist, he loves to explore all aspects of the natural history of vertebrate species, especially Neotropical birds. Jesús is co-advised by Dan with Jeannine Cavender-Bares.



Katherine Marchetto. Katie is working on a project to 1) assess the efficacy of using goat browsing to control invasive plants, and 2) examine a control strategy to reduce the exposure of goats used in invasive plant management to a potentially deadly parasite, meningeal worm. Katie is co-advised by Dan with Tiffany Wolf in the College of Veterinary Medicine. 


Research staff

Wesley Glisson. Wes is a Research Fellow involved in many aspects of our field and laboratory research. For his M.S. with Dan at Northwestern University, Wes investigated the sensitivity of secretive marshbirds to vegetation condition in natural and restored wetlands in southern Wisconsin. Before coming to UMN, Wes worked as a researcher in plant biology at Chicago Botanic Garden and in wildlife biology at the USGS Coop Unit at the University of Idaho.


Graduate students

Rafael Contreras-Rangel. Rafa is a Master's student in Conservation Sciences whose work addresses management of the invasive green alga Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort).


McKaylee Duquain. McKaylee is a member of the Menominee Nation, in northeastern Wisconsin. She is currently a Master's Student in Conservation Sciences, and is part of the Kawe Gidaa-Naanaagadawendaamin Manoomin Project. This project was created in collaboration with Tribes of the Great Lake region to better understand threats to and protect wild rice.


Sara Nelson. Sara is a Master's student in Conservation Sciences investigating the impact of goat browsing on plant community composition in buckthorn-invaded woodlands.


Michael Verhoeven. Mike is a PhD student in Conservation Sciences conducting research on ecology and management of aquatic invasive plants. The focus of his current research is quantifying the effects that invasive aquatic plants have on native ecosystems and examining the mechanisms of their reproduction and colonization.


Carli Wagner. Carli is a Master's student in Conservation Sciences whose work addresses plant-community impacts of the invasive green alga Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort).


Undergraduate students

  • Jonah Bacon
  • Jackson Millasovich