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Our Team

Dr. Ted Stankowich

Principal Investigator

Dr. Stankowich received his B.A. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California Davis, and he was the Darwin Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He also spent time as a Lecturer at UMass and a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Stankowich has a deep commitment to teaching and teaches a variety of courses including Evolution, Mammalogy, Ecology, and Behavioral Ecology. His research interests include the evolution, ecology, and behavior of predator-prey interactions, and he has worked on a broad range of taxa including carnivores, ungulates, rodents, and spiders. Dr. Stankowich's research involves both experimental studies (lab and field studies) and analytical techniques (phylogenetic comparative analysis, meta-analysis).

Dr. Stankowich's Curriculum Vita (PDF)

M.S. Biology Graduate Students

Max Amaya
For his thesis Max is investigating carnivore activity along an urban to rural gradient in collaboration with the Lincoln Park Zoo and Urban Wildlife Information Network (UWIN).

Kelly Hood

Kelly Hood
For her M.S. thesis, Kelly is studying intraguild competition effects on occupancy in bobcats.

Nicole Lopez
Nicole completed her B.S. at CSULB in Fall 2018 and worked on the correlated evolution of tusks and antlers in deer. For her M.S. thesis, she is studying how type of cover and presence of antipredator defenses influence foraging decisions in mammals.

Hannah Rabitoy
For her thesis, Hannah is studying the escape responses and defensive behavior of striped skunks using visual predator models.

Jordan Rodriguez

Jordan Rodriguez
For his thesis, Jordan is studying urbanization effects on small mammals and herps by expanding taxonomic surveys on our UWIN camera trap project.

Caitlin Stapp
For her thesis, Caitlin is studying the evolution and biomechanics of armor in armadillos.

Erin Weiner

Erin Weiner
For her thesis Erin is investigating the effect of wildfire on mesocarnivore ecology.

Undergraduate Student Researchers

Alex Avalos

Alexander Avalos
Alex is a Biology major and a MARC Scholar, and he is working on the evolution of body armor in pangolins.

Lizbeth Jardon
Lizbeth graduated in 2021 and was part of the RISE program. Her project examines changes in skull and jaw musculature between rural and urban coyotes.

Mariana Leyva

Mariana Leyva
Mariana is a Biology major and a MARC Scholar, and she is working on the evolution of quills and coloration in porcupines.

Volunteers & Research Assistants

  • Jazmin Esparza graduated in 2021 and is helping with our urban ecology projects.
  • Alec Fogy is an undergraduate and is helping with our skunk behavior project
  • Amber Hatchell graduated in 2021 and is helping with our coyote jaw morphology project
  • Annika Henry is an undergraduate and is helping with our coyote jaw morphology project
  • Roderick Perez graduated in 2018 and is helping with our urban ecology projects.
  • Megan Wickersheim graduated in 2021 and is helping with our urban ecology projects

Former Lab Members

  • Katrina Cazel completed her M.S. degree in Summer 2021 investigating the effects of antipredator defenses on responses to predators and urbanization.
  • Kathy Vo completed their M.S. degree in Summer 2021 investigating the effect of pattern and contrast on predator learning about aposematic displays.
  • Leslie Romero graduated in 2021 and completed her Honors Thesis on the evolution of coloration in squirrels.
  • Jack Villalba graduated in 2020 and helped with several of the coyote and urban ecology projects.
  • Michelle Ho graduated in 2020 and helped with the coyote skull morphology project.
  • Laura Bone is completing her M.A. degree in Psychology and worked on the responses of coyotes to different patterns in striped skunks.
  • Hannah Walker completed her M.S. degree in Fall 2018 investigating the drivers of warning color pattern variation in striped skunks.
  • Jonathon Moore-Tupas graduated in 2018 and completed his Honors Thesis on the energetic tradeoffs in mammals with sexual combat weapons.
  • Rita Collins completed her M.S. degree in Summer 2018 investigating the movement patterns and diets of urban coyotes.
  • Victoria Luce completed her M.S. degree in Spring 2018 investigating the biochemistry of noxious skunk defenses.
  • Kim Fisher completed her M.S. degree in Fall 2017 investigating striped skunk antipredator responses to coyotes and owls.
  • Jessica Ruth initiated our project investigating changes in skull and jaw musculature between rural and urban coyotes.
  • Earnest Chae graduated in 2018 and studied the evolution mammalian locomotion styles.
  • Chika Okeke graduated with Honors in 2017 and studied the evolution of relative brain and body sizes in squirrels.
  • Eliza McLean graduated in 2017 and studied the diversity in the diets of primates.
  • Colin Stensrud graduated with Honors in 2017 and studied the evolution spines in tenrecs.
  • Caitlin Fay completed her M.S. degree in Winter 2017 investigating aposematic learning and generalization in coyotes.
  • Ashly Romero graduated in May 2016 and worked on the correlated evolution of mammalian defenses and intelligence. She was a Presidental Scholar and was awarded Outstanding Graduate for her college.
  • Holly Schiefelbein completed her M.S. degree in Spring 2016 investigating wild predator responses to noxious odors and foods.
  • Jennifer Martin graduated in May 2016 is working on the evolution of spines in rodents.
  • Renee Stewart graduated in May 2016 and worked on a project on squirrel escape behavior, and was a field assistant on the lab's skunk research team.
  • Doreen Cabrera graduated in May 2015 and worked on the evolution of tusks in large mammals and the evolution of spines in rodents. She also was a field research assistant on the lab's skunk research team.
  • Melody Lilazy graduated in May 2015 and worked on a variety of projects including our skunk field work and our study of predator diets.
  • Rosanna Calderon graduated in May 2016 and studied the evolution of color patterns in squirrels (Sciuridae). She went on to get her M.S. in Biochemistry from CSULB in 2018.
  • Elan Carnahan graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in Environmental Science. She worked on squirrel escape behavior and helped with the GIS work on the GeoFear project.
  • Rabah Rabah graduated in May 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. He worked on squirrel escape behavior and was part of the skunk trapping team.
  • Julie McNamara graduated in May 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy and earned an M.S. in GIS in August 2014. She spearheaded the GIS work of the Geography of Fear project and worked on flight behavior in cactus wrens at Rancho Palos Verdes.
  • Nicholas Fedorko graduated in June 2014 with a B.S. in Biology. He developed the dataset on ungulates for the GeoFear project and studied the evolution of brain size in mammals.
  • Elizabeth Herrera worked with Holly Schiefelbein on a dog behavior project.
  • Trevor Stameisen graduated in December 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. He worked on the escape behavior of California Sciurids.
  • Lisa Campbell graduated in Spring 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She worked on the evolution of quills and other defenses in mammals.
  • Matt Kresky graduated in Spring 2013 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. He compiled the database on the diets of birds-of-prey that we used in the Geography of Fear project.