Lab PI

My interests span a wide variety of topics at the intersection of theoretical, empirical, and applied ecology, and I have explored these interests in both aquatic and terrestrial systems. I am particularly interested in how populations and communities respond to environmental variation, both natural and human driven, and I use a mixture of mathematical and empirical approaches to understand processes that act across scales of spatio-temporal measurement and biological organization. I received my Ph.D. in 2004 from the University of California, Santa Barbara. I currently accept students through the Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Program, the Entomology Graduate Program, and the Biophysics Graduate Program.
Kurt Anderson
Associate Professor of Biology

Postdoctoral Scholars

Hilborn close.jpg
Anne's interests span the ecology and conservation of large carnivores with a focus on cheetahs. She is also interested in using social media as a tool for science communication and am currently working on ways to bring ecology classes into the digital realm. At UCR, Anne has been working to create two online classes in ecology and global change, and has done extensive work on making digital content more accessible to diverse audiences. Anne earned her Ph.D. from Virginia Tech University in 2018. Learn more about Anne at
Anne Hilborn
ILTI Postdoctoral Scholar, EEOB

Graduate Students

Matthew studies aquatic community ecology. He uses a variety of tools from data science and visualization, multivariate and time series analysis, GIS, laboratory experiments, and field work to understand how the underlying spatial structure of habitats influence community dynamics and diversity. Matthew carries out his field research through the UC Natural Reserve Systems at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory and was a fellow of the Institute for the Study of Ecological & Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI). Matthew also uses spatial microcosm experiments in the laboratory to test similar ideas using microbial aquatic protists. Matthew received his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at Florida State University working with Thomas E. Miller. You can learn more about Matthew at his website.
Matthew Green
PhD Student, EEOB

Ryan is interested in the spatial and abiotic processes that shape aquatic macroinvertebrate communities in dendritic systems. He has been working on analyzing large spatio-temporal datasets to examine the influences of taxonomy, traits, and environment on the community composition of aquatic arthropods. He is also conducting fieldwork to determine how different species respond to seasonal changes in wetted habitat. Ryan received his B.S. in Environmental Science in 2016 where he studied the invasion of Orconectes rusticus (rusty crayfish) in southeastern Pennsylvania. 
Ryan Conway
PhD Student, EEOB

CI1A5664.jpg 3.jpeg
Serj is interested in modeling population dynamics on spatial networks. He is currently exploring how network structure and environmental noise color influence persistence and synchrony in stochastic population models. Serj is co-advised with Dr. Helen Regan in EEOB.
Serj Daniellan
PhD Student, EEOB

William is studying urban freshwater ecology in the Santa Ana River. He is working to assess how wastewater and urbanization are affecting community composition and trophic interactions across spatial and temporal gradients. In addition to his research William is interested in science policy and pedagogy. He works with UCR Science to Policy and the National Science Policy Network to train graduate students in the skills needed to communicate scientific findings to policymakers. He is currently the National Science Policy Network Scholarship Program Coordinator and has previously served as the UCR Science to Policy Executive Chair and Government Relations Chair. At UC Riverside he has completed the University Teaching Certificate and collaborated with a local high school biology teacher to create an ecology unit based on the Santa Ana River. 
William Ota
PhD Student, EEOB

Clara works to develop and test food web theory with protist microcosm experiments in the lab to bridge the gap between theory and the natural world. She is especially interested in how the interplay between competition and predation affect population dynamics and what mechanisms drive stability. Current projects Clara is working on spatial predator-prey interactions and the roles of omnivory and cannibalism in foodweb stability.    
Clara Woodie
PhD Student, EEOB

Ben is broadly interested in applied ecology, especially in the context of insect vectors of human disease. He aims to better understand the interactions between pesticides, mosquitoes, and the enigmatic and diverse habitats that mosquitoes can use to breed. Of particular interest to Ben is the habitat ecology of invasive Aedes mosquitoes in southern California. He currently uses ornamental bromeliad phytotelmata as a model of a complex and cryptic breeding source to better understand both the larval ecology of Aedes and the effects of mosquito control efforts. Outside of ecology, he is passionate about all things entomology, with additional appreciation for Arachnida and Aves. 
Benjamin Nyman
PhD Student, Entomology

Gary's research interests are in freshwater ecology, ecosystem services, ecosystem health, and environmental flows. He is working to apply the Freshwater Health Index to the Santa Ana Watershed, the most extensive socio-ecological system in Southern California. He is synthesizing hydrological, ecological, and sociological data to evaluate the current state of ecosystem health, ecosystem services delivery, and governance structures and developing a framework for incorporating climate-change scenarios into water management decisions. Gary is co-advised with Dr. Helen Regan in EEOB.
Gary Qin
PhD Student, EEOB

Patrick's interests are in modeling the dynamics of spatial foodwebs. He is currently exploring Turing instabilities as well as more broadly considering the multiple dimensions of stability in these highly complex systems.
Patrick Lawton
PhD Student, Biophysics

Undergraduates are a big part of our research team. We have hosted numerous undergraduate researchers in our lab, many through UCR programs such as the California Alliance for Minority Participation, Summer RISE, the Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program, UC LEADS, and the University Honors Program.
Lab Alumni
Parsa studied the community ecology of stream systems in the context of flow disturbance (i.e. floods and droughts). His primary study sites were in the eastern Sierra Nevada at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL, a UC Natural Reserve) and the Santa Ana River. Parsa is now a post-doc at UC Davis with Dr. Andrew Rypel.
Parsa Saffarinia
PhD 2019
B.S., Rutgers University
Research interests:
Spatial community dynamics, complexity-diversity-stability relationships, and conservation applications. Theory and experiments with protist microcosms.
Sean Hayes
UC Riverside
Heather Hulton VanTassel
UC Riverside
Ashkaan Fahimipour
UC Riverside

This page is currently being updated and is under construction!

Johnathan Sarhad