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lab members


Sara Kuebbing, Assistant Professor

I am a plant ecologist interested in how human actions—like the movement of nonnative species around the globe—affects ecological communities.  My primary aims in research are to build a better theoretical understanding of how invasion by plant species alters communities and ecosystems and to apply this knowledge to promote the stewardship of our environment.  I am particularly interested in learning more about how nonnative species interact with one another and how ecological communities change as they increase in the level of invasion by nonnative plants.

I joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. Prior to moving to Pitt, I was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies with research funding through the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies and the Smith Conservation Fellows Program.  I received my PhD from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee and my BS from the Department of Entomology & Wildlife Conservation at the University of Delaware.


rachel reeb, graduate student

Rachel is a first year graduate student whose research interests include plant community ecology and restoration ecology. As an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, she studied biogeographic variation in common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) as well as plant-fungal interactions in eastern deciduous forest. Rachel spends much of her free-time hiking and traveling, and is excited to explore her new home in Pittsburgh!

Isabel + Plants.jpg

Isabel Acevedo, undergraduate student

Isabel is an undergraduate research intern from Brown University who is spending her Summer 2018 exploring how the phenology of native and nonnative old-field plants respond to warming temperatures. She is currently collaborating with the botanical curators at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to use herbarium records to trace historical changes in phenological events and setting up a growth chamber experiment to test how warming and the presence of soil microbes influences growth and phenology.


leland bennion, research assistant

Leland completed his M.S. in Biology in 2018 as a member of the Schultz Conservation Biology lab at Washington State University. His thesis work focused on evaluating the effects of treatments for invasive species in the habitat of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly. More specifically, he evaluated how the target and non-target effects of taxa-specific herbicide application altered the availability of critical resources for Fender's blue and whether these changes in habitat could result in a net gain for the population. Leland loves exploring the backcountry, traveling the back roads and trying new things.