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Dr. Erika Marín-Spiotta  is an Associate Professor of Geography and an affiliate of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Departments of Soil Science and Forest and Wildlife Ecology, and the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies program at UW-Madison. She studies biogeochemical and ecological effects of landscape disturbance and shifts in biodiversity due to changes in land use and climate, with a focus on terrestrial carbon cycling. She has served in several leadership positions at the American Geophysical Union, including Secretary of the Biogeosciences section and member of the Ethics Task Force and the Meetings Committee. Dr. Marín-Spiotta is a recipient of a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation, the Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring from the American Geophysical Union, the President’s Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists, and a Vilas Associate Award from UW-Madison. Marín-Spiotta is also past co-principal investigator on a NSF ADVANCE PAID award to support the advancement of early-career women in the geosciences. Dr. Marín-Spiotta is committed to increasing the participation of historically underrepresented groups in science and serves on the leadership board of the non-profit organization, the Earth Science Women’s Network. Download CV.


Ann Olsson 


Laura Szymanski, PhD Geography
Ricardo Rivera, PhD Forestry
Adam von Haden, PhD Environment and Resources
Elliot Vaughan, PhD Geography
Megs Seeley
, Botany and & Forestry major

Sanober Mirza, Geography & Environmental Science major
Catherine Kirwin, Geography major
Liam Patton, Geography & Environmental Studies major


Tim Whitby, Lab Manager (2014-2016). Tim has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Virginia, with a concentration in Environmental and Biological Conservation and a M.S. in Biology from Appalachian State University with a graduate certificate in GIS. Before joining our lab, Tim worked for Prof. Monica Turner over in Zoology, where he gained great field experience in Yellowstone and developed new lab protocols.

Elliot Vaughan, M.S. 2016. Geography. Factors controlling soil carbon and nitrogen storage in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Laura Szymanski, M.S. 2015 Geography. Soil microbial respiration and carbon turnover under perennial and annual biofuel crops in two agricultural soils.

Emily Atkinson, Ph.D. 2014 Geography. Land use legacies in tropical dry forests: Linking above- and belowground dynamics. Emily is now Undergraduate Program Director for the School of Earth, Energy & Environment at Stanford.

John Souther, M.S. 2014. Geography. Investigating successional dynamics in naturally-regenerated tropical forests of Puerto Rico: Testing and learning from a chronosequence approach.

A. Peyton Smith, Ph.D. 2013. Soil Science. Linking microbial community structure and function with tropical forest recovery.
Peyton is now a postdoc at Pacific Northwest National Lab.

AlumniNina T. Chaopricha, Ph.D. 2013. Environment and Resources. The Importance, origin, composition and stability of deeply buried
soil organic matter.
Nina is now a program coordinator at
Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Emily Eggleston, M.S. 2012. Geography. How Japanese American gardeners shaped internment camp landscapes: A soil chemistry and archival analysis. Emily is now an urban agriculture Extension Educator at Purdue University.

Marc Mayes, M.S. 2011. Environment and Resources. A landscape-scale study of relationships between agricultural land cover/use, soil parent materials and soil biogeochemistry in the Konya Basin, Turkey. Marc received his PhD from Brown University and is now a postdoctoral fellow at UC Santa Barbara.


Chris Morgan                                 Lea DalyIMG_0460b
Sandra Kinzer                                 Nawaf Alghamdi
Kelsi Wallander                              Zachary Stewart
Diana Macias                                  Sam Jensen
Jessica Rippe-Martinez              Ross Edel
Breana Nehls                                  Jack Travis
Amanda Janczak                            Jenny Renzas
Tommy Gorak                                Dylan S. Hill
Erin Mellenthin                            Grace Moran
Ravin Raatz                                   Gabrielle Hinahara

IMAG1726 copyLays Fernanda de Oliveira, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Brazil, Summer 2015
Ashley Avilés, Universidad del Este, Puerto Rico, Summer 2015
Doreen Cabrera, California State University Long Beach, Summer 2014
Ada Vilches Ortega, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Mayagüez, Summer 2013
Adriana Muñiz, Universidad de Puerto Rico-Arecibo, Summer 2012
Edison Caraballo, Universidad de Turabo, Summer 2012

lab lunch Dec 2014