People

Congratulations!

We would like to congratulate Audrey Rader. May 13, 2017 Audrey graduated from the UNLV Geoscience program. She will be remaining with us over the summer as a Research Assistant and returning to the Abella lab and joining the School of Life Sciences as a graduate student in August 2017.

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January 21, 2017 (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services)

Audrey Rader is a Research Assistant with the School of Life Sciences. She will be entering the graduate program in the School of Life Sciences at UNLV beginning August 2017. Audrey’s research will focus on integrating biology and soils for the purpose of soil restoration and conservation. As a graduate student, she will examine the effects of disturbance on North American desert soils (specifically, the Mojave Desert) and will experimentally implement soil restoration techniques. She is funded through the Bureau of Land Management, California.

Audrey completed her Bachelor of Science in Geology through the Department of Geosciences at UNLV in May 2017. Audrey started volunteering with the Abella lab in June 2016 to assist with soil analyses and came on as a student worker in fall 2016. As a student worker, she conduced soil analyses including soil bulk density, soil texture analyses, and pH. In fall 2016 she presented preliminary research at the SER Southwest Conference, 9-11 Nov 2016 at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, NV, and received an award for her poster presentation. As an undergraduate, she also worked for the USFS Forest Inventory Analysis Program and assisted on a project with the Burnley group (UNLV) which focused on using GIS to predict background radiation.

In addition to enjoying all aspects of research, Audrey appreciates reading, yoga, and hiking in her spare time.

Congratulations and Welcome to our new graduate students

Audrey Rader, Camille Traylor, and Tiffany Pereira – profiles soon to come

Faculty

Dr. Scott Abella

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Dr. Abella is a Assistant Professor of Restoration Ecology in the School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada Las Vegas. He is also the Director and Ecologist, Natural Resource Conservation, LLC.

Since completing his dissertation work at Northern Arizona University in 2005, Dr. Abella has developed an international research program in conservation and ecology, with projects ranging across the deserts and dryland forest systems of the southwest United States, to oak woodlands in Ohio, and to the deserts of Kuwait. From 2006 to 2012, he ran an applied ecology research laboratory at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which concentrated on restoration research in the southwest United States. In 2012, Dr. Abella moved to the Washington, D.C. Office of the National Park Service. After his departure from NPS in 2014, he started an applied science company Natural Resource Conservation, LLC, which he continues today. In spring 2015, Dr. Abella returned to UNLV as a landscape ecologist to focus on ecological restoration research.

The Abella lab is currently housed in the School of Life Sciences, College of Sciences at UNLV. Dr. Abella’s research concentrates on applied ecology informing conservation and management, often in direct collaboration with resource managers and other scientists. His areas of expertise include forest ecology, restoration ecology, fire ecology, and plant ecology. He has successfully published over 95 peer-reviewed publications, 37 outreach articles, and delivered 130 public and conference presentations. He has also had 33 media appearances.

Dr. Abella completed his dissertation work on environmental and vegetational gradients in ponderosa pine landscapes at Northern Arizona University in 2005. Previous, he received a Master of Science from Clemson University in 2002, where he conducted multifactor classification of forest landscape ecosystems.

contact: scott.abella@unlv.edu

Research interests: restoration ecology, dryland forests; developing useful strategies and methods to facilitate recovery of ecosystem functioning

Personal interests: Ecology, what else is there?

Scott Abella           UNLV             Media                 Book

Lindsay Chiquoine, M.Sc. 

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Lindsay is a Research Associate in the School of Life Sciences and the laboratory manager for the Abella Applied Ecology Lab at UNLV. She has worked with Dr. Scott Abella since 2009 on several projects in the southwest including forest reconstruction, assessing desert landscapes and disturbances, assessing desert wetlands, and developing restoration techniques, including native and rare plant community restoration and restoration biological soil crust communities.

Lindsay has also worked with the University of California, Davis monitoring juvenile and adult desert tortoise movement and conducting habitat utilization assessments in Mojave Preserve, with the USGS in Olympic National Park as a wildlife technician conducting crews and surveys of amphibians, meso-carnivores and bears and conducting habitat assessments, and with consultants and non-profits as a professional botanist in the southwest USA. She has many years experience implementing front-country and back-country research, as well as several years experience developing, implementing, and managing research projects across the southwest.

Lindsay earned a Master of Science in Environmental Science with concentrations in desert soil ecology and restoration ecology from UNLV. She completed her thesis in 2012 on restoration of biological soil crust communities in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Humanities with a minor in chemistry from Northern Arizona University. While at NAU, she was as an undergraduate research assistant for the Ecological Restoration Institute and concurrently a research assistant in Political and Environmental Science.

contact: lindsay.chiquoine@unlv.edu

Research interests: Understanding and utilizing interactions within a complex environment to develop restoration methods that facilitate recovery of ecological functions; specifically vegetation-soil interactions and vegetation-biocrust interactions.

Personal interests: What am I not interested in?

 

Dr. Joshua Lee Greenwood

DSCN3086_cropped1Joshua is a Research Associate/Post-doctoral scholar in the School of Life Sciences at UNLV. He is working concurrently in the Abella and Stark labs. Joshua graduated with his PhD in Biological Sciences in May 2017. His dissertation work focused on the physiological response of mosses to desiccation. 

 

contact: greenw33@unlv.nevada.edu

Personal interests: Blending into the background, pizza, and pool

Abella Graduate Students

Dominic Gentilcore

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Dominic is a Ph.D. student in the School of Life Sciences with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His position is funded by an NSF EPSCoR Grant through the Nevada Solar Nexus Program. His dissertation research is focusing on vegetation recovery from disturbance, the environmental impacts of solar development, and solar restoration techniques in the eastern Mojave Desert.
 

Dominic has been involved with ecological monitoring on public lands for more than a decade. He grew up camping, hiking, and catching salamanders in the Ozarks before discovering that such activities could become a career when taking undergraduate field classes in botany, cave biology, and herpetology. After graduating from Saint Louis University with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2007, Dominic began several years of seasonal field work involving vegetation, soils, bighorn sheep, amphibians, and reptiles in NV, UT, and LA. In 2009, Dominic accepted a permanent position as a Biologist with the Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition where he helped plan ecological restoration projects and led a post-fire monitoring program for the Ely, Elko, and Carson City BLM districts in NV. In 2012, Dominic enrolled in the University of Nevada-Reno to complete an Master of Science in Natural Resources and Environmental Science. His thesis examined the effects of prescribed fire, chaining, and hand thinning on vegetation and soils of Pinyon-juniper woodlands in Central Nevada within the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Following graduation in 2015, Dominic joined the Great Basin Institute leading an Assessment, Inventory, and Monitoring (AIM) crew in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. After that season, Dominic transitioned into Data Support Specialist for the Desert Tortoise project in Las Vegas, NV.

Research interests: 

Personal interests: Hiking, botanizing

Simone Ka-Voka Jackson

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Ka-Voka is a MS student in the School of Life Sciences with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is currently fully funded through a cooperative agreement with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (GLCA). Ka-Voka’s research centers on restoration of exotic, invaded plant areas within GLCA and specifically in areas near culturally- and ecologically-sensitive sites, including cultural heritage sites, archaeologically significant sites, and areas containing hanging gardens. She is currently working on methods to decrease the exotic perennial grass Ravenna (Saccharum ravennae) and annual grass brome species (Bromus spp), and incorporate traditional ecological knowledge, or TEK, practice to encourage native recruitment and revegetation. She is an active member of the Hualapai Tribe. 

Ka-Voka earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Utah. While at the University of Utah, she worked in Dr. Dave Bolling’s lab on isotope analyses. 

Undergraduate Research Assistants

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January 21, 2017 (Josh Hawkins/UNLV Photo Services)

Vivian Sam is an undergraduate student in the School of Life Sciences at UNLV. Vivian has always loved animals. After working at a veterinary hospital for almost three years, she realized medicine was not in her interests (nor was veterinary school). Since an introduction to ecology, Vivian decided to pursue wildlife & vegetation ecology (but is not limiting herself to just that!) and to learn more about ways in which to protect biodiversity, such as through habitat restoration to help conserve plants and wildlife. Over the summer 2016 Vivian was an AANAPISI Summer Research program intern working with the Abella lab on developing methods for enhancing germination of key perennial species from our BLM-CA study sites and presented her summer research November 2 at the 2016 UNLV McNair Scholar and AANAPISI Undergraduate Research Symposium. She has continued to work on seed ecology studies, as well as working with Matt Rader on a wetland restoration project in Lake Mead National Recreation Area and invertebrate monitoring for that project. Vivian presented her research at the SER Southwest Conference, 9-11 Nov 2016 at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, NV, receiving first place for her poster presentation. Vivian is also an active treasurer of the Ecology, Conservation, an Evolution Club at UNLV. In her free time, she enjoys trying new restaurants around the Las Vegas valley and watching nature documentaries.

Matthew Rader is an undergraduate student in the School of Life Sciences at UNLV.  He is a local southern Nevadan and an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.
webMatthew started volunteering with the Abella lab in January 2016. He has been assisting with propagating biocrust material, including cyanobacteria and mosses, to be used for laboratory and greenhouse experiments and field studies in Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico. Over the 2016 summer, Matt came on as a seasonal research assistant to assist with our Pecos National Historical Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park projects. Beginning in fall 2016, Matt started his own research project testing the effects of carbon addition of the exotic annual Bromus rubens. He is also working with Vivian Sam on a wash restoration project in Lake Mead National Recreation Area. In spring 2017 they will be looking at wildlife utilization within the restoration project area, including observations of birds, lizards, invertebrates, and specifically pollinators. He is also working with Mary Balogh on a native seedling recruitment-protection study along a decommissioned road in the Dead Mountain Wilderness out side of Needles, CA. Formerly, Matt worked as Nature Ambassador with Outside Las Vegas Foundation (AmeriCorps).

Former Abella lab employees

Botanists

Carlee Coleman (Logan, UT), spring 2017

Emily Orling (Wenatchee, WA), spring 2017

Mandy Mountain (Las Vegas, Nevada), spring 2017

Mary Balogh (Dallas, TX), spring 2017

Matthew Mosher (CA), spring 2016

Evan Peters (NY), spring 2016

Brandon McNellis (CA), spring 2016

Terry Zaugg (ID), spring 2016

 

Student Volunteers

Interested in joining our lab? Prospective Students

We will have volunteer opportunities this summer 2017. E-mail Lindsay with your resume and an interest statement. Or contact one of our graduate students to inquire if they may need assistance.

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