Research advising


I advise student research on a range of topics, but I’m most qualified to advise projects on climate change, restoration, and invasive species biology and management (as you can clearly see from this website). Most of my work is done at Spicewood Ranch in the Hill Country, Commons Ford Ranch Metropark, Wild Basin, Vireo Preserve, or Blunn Creek. I encourage students who I advise to work at one of these sites and to add to an existing project rather than starting from scratch as it is much easier that way to find sources of funding and gather meaningful results in the short time period required for most undergraduate projects. I mainly advise ENSP majors, but would also be happy to work with students from other majors whose interests overlap with mine.

If you are interested in working with me, please see my Research Page to find out about my on-going projects and Opportunities for Students page to read more about the past research projects that I’ve advised. Then, contact me with some ideas about what you might want to study.  I love working with students on research, so please don’t hesitate to contact me! This is my favorite part of my job.

Below is a list of student research projects that I have advised at St. Edward’s University. Some are ongoing.

2021-2022 Undergraduate Student Projects Advised

  • Rae Bennet and Janiece Jefferson – Impacts of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on soil moisture, compaction, and plant productivity. IUSE 8-week Summer Research
  • Camille Dedeaux and Meriam Elawad –The effects of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on native grassland systems and their ability to sequester carbon in the Texas Hill Country. Hook Scholar Research, ENSP Senior Research
  • Flor Flores Jaimes -Perspectives on water quality, contamination, and trust in government in rural versus urban communities along the US-Mexico border. McNair Scholar Research
  • Janiece Jefferson and Rae Bennet – Impacts of invasive Bothriochloa ischaemum on soil moisture, compaction, and plant productivity. IUSE 8-week Summer Research
  • Ederé Ohwobete – Analysis of contaminant levels in centralized water systems v. domestic wells in rural and urban communities along the US-Mexico border. McNair Scholar, Honors Thesis
  • Laurel Tashjian – Floral resources in invaded and restored grasslands of Central Texas. Mount Holyoke College, Senior Thesis

2020-2021 Undergraduate Student Projects Advised

  • Natalie Cuellar – Edge effects on invasive species spread at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Senior ENSP Research
  • Abril Gurrola, Yolanda Guzman, and Natalia Zaragoza –Public transportation 3 city comparison and recommendations to improve ridership. Senior ENSP Research
  • Colton Mitchel -Bird diversity in native and invasive forests around Austin, TX. Hook Fellow & Senior ENSP Research
  • Paloma Ridge-Rojas & Jose G. Zuniga –The relationship of drought tolerance and insect damage on trees. Senior ENSP Research
  • Logan Sigel and Natalie Turner – Carbon storage in invaded and native forests of Central Texas. Senior ENSP Research, and Honors Thesis Research (Sigel)
  • Andres Targa and Anna Qualls. Changes in plant diversity and abundance in response to shaded fuel break treatments at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, Austin, TX. Senior ENSP Research
  • Vinh Tran– An assessment of Austin’s urban forest ozone mitigation potential. IUSE 8-week Summer Research Experience

2019-2020 Undergraduate Student Projects Advised

  • Hailey Reier – Costs and benefits of campus trees at St. Edward’s University. Senior ENSP Research
  • Yeji Kang and Olivia Rome – Seedbank dynamics before and after a prescribed fire in the Texas Hill Country. Senior ENSP Research
  • Jack Ripple – Use of turkey tail fungus (Trametes versicolor) to restore soil fertility and improve ecosystem function in degraded Texas Hill Country forests. Senior ENSP Research Project, Hook Fellow
  • Vinh Tran– Biodiversity and productivity response to restoration in the Texas Hill Country. IUSE Research Experience

2018-2019 Undergraduate Student Projects Advised

  • Jonathon Brooks, Michael Gembarowski, Conlon McOsker, and Madison Tumicki – Changes in plant and animal diversity and movement in response to shaded fuel break fire mitigation. Senior ENSP Research
  • Aileen Brom, Shirley Ochoa, and Bowen Wilder – Response of insect diversity to prairie restoration at Commons Ford Metropark in Austin, TX. Senior ENSP Research
  • April Carranza– Exploring effects of an urban prairie restoration project on public engagement. Senior ENSP Research
  • Stella Cunningham and Abigail Ramirez – Pollinator plant diversity response to urban prairie restoration in the Edward’s Plateau, TX. IUSE Research Experience
  • Clarissa Mae de Leon – Mycorestoration of a Ligustrum-invaded urban park in Austin, TX. McNair Scholar Research
  • Grace DeLucia – How do formative environmental influences impact career path? Honors Thesis Research
  • Karolyn Newton – How to Maximize Vitamin N(ature): Determining the indicators of green space use in Austin, Texas. Honors Thesis Research

2018-2019 Graduate Student Projects Advised in the MSEM Program (this program was cut in 2019)

  • Faith Chonko – Environmental and ownership factors contributing to produce availability in convenience stores. Master’s Research
  • Elayna Grove – Wildlife diversity and abundance in invaded and native urban forest stands of Austin, TX. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow
  • Adriana Lee – Ecosystem function response to remediation of an old dump site at Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow
  • Becky Woodward – Fitness response of Asclepias asperula, antelope horns milkweed, with the inoculation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Master’s Research, Hook Fellow

2017-2018 Graduate Student Projects Advised in the MSEM Program

  • Ashley Bussell, Nico Gonzalez, Leslie Roberts – Characterizing heavy metals in bridge deck runoff: A rainfall simulation study. Master’s Research, Hook Fellows
  • John Gonzalez, Nicole Moore – Sampling Travis County’s water for lead contamination. Master’s Research.

2016-2017 Graduate Student Projects Advised in the MSEM Program

  • Savannah Bryson, Abigail Kropf, Eric Johnson – Effectiveness and feasibility of privet control techniques in riparian areas of Wild Basin. Master’s Research, Hook Fellows