South Florida Terrestrial Ecosystems Lab
Southeast Environmental Research Center
 

Research Staff


Michael Ross

Dr. Michael S. Ross
Director
Curriculum vitae
rossm@fiu.edu


Dr. Ross's general research interests are in the area of environmental controls on plant community composition and structure, the involvement of these controls in the successional process, and the implications of successional development on restoration efforts.

His approach often incorporates large-scale field manipulations with pattern analysis based on "natural experiments", usually arrayed along well-defined environmental gradients. His background and expertise is largely in forests of the southern Appalachians, the Lake states, boreal central Alberta, and the tropical Florida Keys. The challenge in developing successional models for such forested ecosystems is to incorporate interactions within and among spatially-variable, size-structured populations.

Presently, the majority of his research has been directed toward restoration of the mixture of forested and herbaceous coastal wetlands of mainland south Florida.

 

Dr. Jay P. Sah
Assistant Director
Curriculum vitae
sahj@fiu.edu

Dr. Sah has been a central member of the Terrestrial Ecology Research team since the early months of his doctoral program in 1996, when he became involved as a Graduate Research Assistant. 

Currently, he is a Research Associate/Faculty and his research focuses on ecosystem processes and their management implications in the seasonal wetlands in Everglades, coastal wetlands of the Southeast Saline Everglades, and the tropical and sub-tropical upland forests of the Miami Rock Ridge and adjacent islands in South Florida.  

Dr. Sah’s expertise is in studying vegetation-environment relationships and effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on pattern and processes in various types of plant communities, including upland forests and floodplains, wet prairies, marshes and other seasonal wetlands.

 His research approach includes the use of multivariate statistical techniques to interpret relationships among vegetation and environmental variables in large data sets, spatial integration of the analytical results via extensive GIS databases, and system dynamics modeling.  He is also involved in inter-disciplinary research on socio-economic issues, conservation, and natural resource management in Nepal.

Susana Stofella

 

Susana L. Stoffella
Research Associate
Curriculum vitae
stoffell@fiu.edu

Susana has worked on surveys of temperate and subtropical grasslands in her native country: Argentina. Conscious of the importance of multivariate techniques as tools to analyze vegetation data she has devoted many years of her research life to their study and application.

Her research interests also have focused on vegetation-environment relationships and the effect of disturbances on grasslands, specially grazing. On the latter, she has worked on the effect of sheep grazing on the community dominated by a common Patagonian shrub. She is also interested in the link between plant functional traits at the ecophysiological level and community dynamics to better understand vegetation controls on ecosystem processes.

She joined the group in 2004 and began analyzing data on the effect of fire on the herb layer of South Florida Pine Rocklands. She was involved from the very beginning in the Loxahatchee Impoundment Landscape Assessment (LILA) experiment at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge when tree seedlings were planted on built tree islands in 2006 and have continued since then monitoring trees. Also, she helps in other activities related to projects conducted by the team.

 

Allison Jirout
Lab Manager/GIS Specialist
ajirout@fiu.edu

Allison joined SOFTEL full time in October 2015 after spending a season at Denali National Park and Preserve. Her interests include GIS and remote sensing applications for resource management, specifically vegetation monitoring.

She earned her B.S. in Environmental Studies and Geography at Florida State University in 2014.

She earned her M.S. in Geographic Information Science at Florida State University in 2015.

 

Alexander Martinez-Held
Lab Technician
aheld@fiu.edu

Alexander graduated with a B.Sc in Environmental Science from the University of Oregon. He is broadly interested in disturbance dynamics, with an emphasis on fire ecology as well as multi-proxy paleoecological studies. Locally in the City of Miami, his interests are the compounded impacts of climate change and urbanization on fragmented or remnant habitats. In his spare time he can be found hiking or visiting Miami's museums and art galleries.

 

Josue Sandoval
Lab Technician
josandov@fiu.edu

Josue started working part-time as a lab technician for SOFTEL in March 2017. In May 2017, he became a full-time lab technician after graduating from Florida International University with a B.A. in Sustainability and the Environment and certificate in Agroecology. His general interests include environmental policy, resource and land management, and GIS.

 

Katherine Castrillon
Student Assistant
kcast037@fiu.edu

Katherine began working at SOFTEL part time in January 2017. Katherine will graduate from FIU in Fall 2017 with a B.A. in Environmental Studies, a certificate in Agroecology, and a certificate in Biodiversity Conservation and Management. Interests include restoration ecology, flora and fauna conservation, and wetland ecology.

 

Santiago Castaneda
Student Assistant
scast140@fiu.edu

Santiago began working part-time for SOFTEL as a lab technician on March 2017. Santiago will graduate from FIU in Spring of 2018 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. His interest are marine ecosystems.

Previous Personnel

Jesus Blanco

Zenia Bravo

Nate Colbert

Junnio Frexia Jessica Heinrich Rachel King
Allison Lambert Jennifer Lopez Lawrence Lopez
Diana Rodriguez Pablo Ruiz Alexandra Saldana
Adam Spitzig David Trujillo

SOFTEL Collaborators

Dr. Victor (Vic) Engel Hydrologist US Geological Survey, Gainesville, FL vengel@usgs.gov
Dr. Evelyn Gaiser Professor, Bilogical Sciences Department of Biology and Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University gaisere@fiu.edu
Pat Houle Instructor Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International Unviersity houlep@fiu.edu
Dr. Krish Jayachandran "Dr. Jay" Professor, Environmental Studies Department of Earth and Environment, Florida International Unviersity jayachan@fiu.edu
Dr. Susanne Koptur Professor, Biological Sciences Department of Biology, Florida International University kopturs@fiu.edu
Dr. John (Jack) Meeder Adjunct Professor, Environmental Science Allegheny College, Meadville PA
Dr. Steve Oberbauer Professor, Biological Sciences Department of Biology, Florida International University oberbaue@fiu.edu
Dr. Joe O’Brien Research Ecologist USDA—Forest Service, Athens, GA jjobrien@fs.fed.us
Dr. Renee Price Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environment Department of Earth and Environment, and Southeast Environmental Research center,  Florida International Unviersity pricer@fiu.edu
Dr. Len Scinto Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, and Interim Director, Southeast Environmental Research Center Department of Earth and Environment, and Southeast Environmental Research center,  Florida International Unviersity leonard.scinto@fiu.edu
Dr. James (Jim) Snyder Research Biologist U.S. Geological Survey, Ochopee, FL  jim_snyder@usgs.gov
Dr. Leonel Sternberg Professor, Bilogical Sciences Department of Biology, University of Miami l.sternberg@miami.edu
Dr. Keqi Zhang Associate Professor, Environmental Studies; Director International Hurricane Research Center Department of Earth and Environment, and International Hurricane Research Center, Florida International Unviersity Keqi.Zhang@fiu.edu
Dr. Gail Hollander Associate Professor, Global and Sociocultural Studies Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies, Florida International University hollande@fiu.edu
Dr. Jennifer Rehage Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Environment Department of Earth and Environment, and Southeast Environmental Research center,  Florida International Unviersity rehagej@fiu.edu
Dr. Bill Anderson Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environment Department of Earth and Environment, and Southeast Environmental Research center,  Florida International Unviersity andersow@fiu.edu
Pablo Ruiz Vegetation Mapping Project Manager National Park Service, South Florida Caribbean Network pablo_ruiz@nps.gov
Dr. Jed Redwine Biologist, NPS-SFCN National Park Service, South Florida Caribbean Network jed_redwine@nps.gov
Dr. Mary Carrington Associate Professor, Department of Biology Governor's State University,  m.carrington@govst.edu