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Graduate Students

Doctoral Students

Maegen Rochner

Maegen Rochner

Maegen comes back to enter our Ph.D. program after successfully earning her M.S., conducting the first study ever to apply tree-ring dating techniques for dating debris slides in the eastern U.S. For her doctoral work, Maegen will be traveling out west to sample whitebark pines in the Beartooth Mountains of northwestern Wyoming to learn more about the environmental responses of these high elevation forests during major climate episodes of the last 1000 years. One hypothesis is that snow and ice build up during the Little Ice Age caused a massive die-off of centuries-old whitebark pines that established during previous warmer climate episodes. She'll also be investigating the spatiotemporal dynamics of tree establishment to investigate any potential shifts in treeline that may have occurred in response to these climate episodes.

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Zach Merrill

Zachary Merrill

Zach joined us in fall 2016 after receiving his master’s degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where his studies and masters research emphasized human-wildlife interactions and perceptions. For his doctoral research, he has begun extensively sampling across Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior, targeting white spruce and balsam fir trees from across the island. He will then use these trees to dissect the trophic relationship between wolves, moose, and fir trees. These three species form a closed three-level system; he plans to use the trees to reconstruct past and present moose and wolf populations.

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Savannah Collins

Savannah Collins

Savannah rejoins our lab after receiving her master's degree in fall 2014, when she analyzed the tree-ring record from a location in southern Georgia for a possible hurrricane signal. For her doctoral dissertation research, Savannah is migrating more into the human dimensions of natural disasters such as extreme weather events and wildfires. She is also interested in reviewing the perceived risks of human populations about these hazards and will investigate how policies that supposedly help manage and mitigate damage from these natural hazards can be improved.

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Laura Smith

Laura Smith

Laura joined us in August 2017 after receiving her master's degree from Frostburg State University in Applied Ecology and Conservation Biology. At Frostburg, Laura learned her skills in dendrochronology and ethnobotany from Dr. Sunshine Brosi in the Department of Biology. For her dissertation project, Laura plans to use her training in tree rings and ethnobotany to conduct three separate studies related to the use of plants by Native American groups and how this information can be obtained using the tree-ring record.

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