SPA Lab Dream Team (Winter 2022) Top left to bottom right: Schyler Reis, Braden Hensley, Emily Huckstead, Hilary Rose Dawson, Julia Odenthal, Adriana Uscanga, Sophia Shuler, Brooke Hunter, Alison Deak, Sydney Katz, Emily Scherer, Delaney Kleiner, Jamie Wright, and Lucas Silva. Missing a few core members (Ori Chafe, Adrian Broz, Noah Savage). 

Screen Shot 2022-11-08 at 1.50.52 PM

Lucas Silva – Principal Investigator – silva-cv-Apr-2023

Current Lab Members
Emily Huckstead. Laboratory Manager. Interested in ecological relationships and their applications to management practices that promote sustainability.



Ori Chafe. PhD student. USFS ORISE Fellow and NSF GRFP recipient studying post-fire trajectories of western Pacific Northwest forests.
Feel free to amend as necessary


Hilary Rose Dawson. PhD student interested in plant-environment interactions under disturbances like drought and wildfire. Website 



Courtney Mathers. PhD student interested in how management practices affect soil microbial communities and their carbon-storing functions.
P1000675 (1) (1)
Brooke Hunter. Phd Candidate. Honorary SPA Lab member Advised by Josh Roering. Interested in wildfire effects on hillslope erosion and how geomorphic processes influence soil properties and carbon storage.
Sydney Katz. MS student. Interested in forestry practices and studying the differences in soil characteristics between managed and old-growth forests.



Julia Odenthal. Undergraduate research assistant working on field experiments for the selection of microbial communities for enhanced carbon sequestration functions.


IMG_5667 (3)

Emily Scherer. Undergraduate research assistant studying plant communities and their fungal networks.


Photo For SPA Lab

Sarah Schneider. Undergraduate research assistant working on measuring carbon content in contemporary soils and paleosols.



Holly Amer. Undergraduate research assistant studying sustainable land management and the effects of wildfire on soil



Sophia Shuler. Undergraduate research assistant using data science tools to map forest carbon stocks.
Former Lab Members 
IMG_1682(1).JPGDr. Adriana Uscanga. Landscape ecologist with focus on human-environment interactions and sustainability of agroecosystems. Now postdoctoral fellow at Michigan State University. 


Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 7.39.08 PM.png

Dr. Jamie Wright. Soil scientist interested in climatic and biogeochemical processes that influence the stability of forest-savanna boundaries. No postdoctoral fellow at USFS CA.



Dr. Adrian Broz. Former PhD student. Investigating the factors that control organic matter preservation in ancient soils of Earth and Mars. Now postdoctoral fellow at NASA. 


Dr. Barbara Bomfim. Former PhD student and Postdoctoral Fellow studying interactions between land-use change and biogeochemical cycles in tropical systems.Now research scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.



Dr. Toby Maxwell. Former PhD student and Postdoctoral Fellow studying climate-induced alterations of carbon and water cycles in montane forests. Now research scientist at USGS Idaho.
Dr. Paulo Quadri. Former PhD candidate now postdoctoral fellow working with SPA Lab members and UCSC Zavaleta‘s lab. Now conservation scientist Latin America Project Manager at NCX.
Dr. Schyler Reis. Former PhD student investigating the effects of disturbance and climate on vegetation shifts across drylands of the Pacific Northwest. Now BLM Natural Resources Fire & Fuels Scientist.
Alison Deak. Former MS student interested in fire ecology and studying the degradation and subsequent recovery of forest landscapes to inform land management decisions. Now Research Scientist at USFS CA. 


Mike Farinacci. MS student interested in the influence of climate and disturbance on forest ecohydrology in the Pacific Northwest.



Jerod Aguilar. Former NSF – GRFP fellow interested in the origins of life and search for extraterrestrial life. Now PhD student examining how volcanic burial affects the preservation of organic carbon in ancient soils.



Braden Hensley. Undergraduate research assistant working on soil response to fire disturbance and pyrogenic carbon stabilization.


Bryce Izlar. Research Assistant. Interested in habitat fragmentation to apply and integrate SPA interactions into current ecological restoration science.



Lenora Davis. Research Assistant (NSF-funded ESPRIT fellow). Interested in incorporating climate change and local ecological research into environmental science curriculum as a high school teacher.


Weicheng Wang. MS student interested in GIS and its applications in biogeography and ecology.


Alexia Gee (SPUR student) now graduate student at Washington State University.



Delaney Kleiner. Honors College student. Research Assistant (NSF-funded ESPRIT fellow). Interested in climate change, conservation, and sustainability with an ecological emphasis. 


Aaron LeFore (Honors College student) technician at PBS Environmental Engineering INC



Noah Savage. Honors College Student interested in the potential
sustainability of controlled-environment agriculture and hydroponics.
Tara Seely (MS student) now PhD candidate and UC Berkeley
Laura Emberson (MS student) now research analyst at NRCS
Braden Prillwitz (Honors College student)
Hunter Mackin (Research Assistant Env Sci Major)
Elizabeth Baach (Research Assistant Env Sci Major)

Pre-Covid SPA Lab Team (Fall 2019) missing a few members due to filed work. Left to right: Mike Farinacci, Toby Maxwell, Weicheng Wang, Bryce Izlar, Jamie Wright, Adriana Uscanga, Hilary Dawson, Barbara Bomfim, Ori Chafe, Sydney Katz, Alison Deak, and Lucas Silva.

Recent Adventures:


Carbon and nutrient stock quantification at HJ Andrews

image (11)

image (9)

Soil Science crew at Jory site in central Oregon


Experimental Analysis of Plant-Microbe “Communication”


SPA “lab meeting” American river



Tree ring sampling in Tibet


NSF Co-PI Corinne Wong sampling speleothems in Brazil