I’ve been fortunate to work on a wide range of problems in ecology, from bull trout in western Montana to tropical forests in Thailand. I enjoy both developing ecology theory, using models to solve management and conservation problems, and getting out in the field to explore nature. I am especially keen on understanding how animal populations experience and handle uncertainty in their environment. My favorite part of the job is working with students and helping them achieve their academic goals.
Laura was born and raised in central Mexico. She has research experience in statistical ecology and mathematical modeling for biology. She was originally trained as a mathematician and statistician during her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively. Laura got her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas at Lawrence. Her doctoral research focused on the problem of estimating the fundamental niche of a species from presence data. In this field, she is interested in studying species’ ecological niches (the match of a species to a specific environmental condition), its relationship with the areas of distribution of species, and how these might change due to human impacts. Now she started working on the statistical validation of sampling designs that account for imperfect detection of individuals to determine if these survey methods yield reliable estimates of population distribution and density.
Laura loves folding paper and creating beautiful geometric shapes of modular origami.She also likes dancing and exploring nature.
Originally, Erin is from Phoenix, Arizona and she obtained her BS in wildlife conservation and management in Tucson from the University of Arizona. Erin worked in AZA accredited zoological facilities and in animal shelters throughout her undergraduate studies which led her to make the leap into Grad school. Taking the knowledge and experience she acquired in animal welfare and her degree into consideration, Erin decided she wanted to explore the effect feral cats have on native Hawaiian fauna. It is crucial to her that she incorporate the practice and idea of decolonizing conservation biology in her research by involving the community through outreach. Currently, her plans are to finish grad school and pursue employment through a government agency such as the USFWS back on the mainland.
On her free time Erin enjoys working as a veterinary technician at a local clinic and talking to her family back home. She also partakes in equestrian activities, hiking, and weekend beach trips.