top of page

Current Lab Members


Rebecca Terry

Associate Professor


phone: 541-737-3723


Jesse Laney

Graduate Student

Research Focus:

I investigate the spatial and temporal dynamics of multiple dimensions of biodiversity across heterogeneous environmental conditions. A large part of my work is based on comprehensive, multi-year resurveys of the birds and mammals in desert-montane systems in the Northern Great Basin of North America. Using modern field surveys and museum collections, I investigate temporal community dynamics of small mammals across elevational gradients in response to a century of landcover and climate change. Additionally, I use empirical field data to investigate the area–heterogeneity tradeoff in functional diversity across communities of disparate taxa (birds and mammals). I also study biodiversity and the resiliency of communities at the macro-ecological scale. Specifically, I use remotely sensed datasets and multivariate techniques to understand the degree of spatial dimensionality (co-variation among multiple biodiversity dimensions) of passerine birds across the North American continent, with an emphasis on the potential role of topographic complexity as a correlate and/or driver of functional, phylogenetic, and taxonomic diversity. My extended interests in biodiversity have led me down other research paths, including work in fields such as paleobiology, taphonomy, and even analyses of the behavior of birdwatchers. Lastly, I am an avid birder myself and you will usually find me skulking around staring through a pair of binoculars at our feathered friends.


Alyssa Semerdjian

Graduate Student

Research Focus:

My research questions concern the ties between small mammal morphology and environmental change. I want to know, in broad terms, whether there are taxonomic, habitat, or behavioral traits that determine the strength of morphometric adaptation in response to climate change. I am using small mammal specimens to answer these questions across a range of spatial and temporal scales. 


Jane Van Gunst

Graduate Student

Research Focus:

Jane received her undergraduate degrees in biology and French literature and language from

University of Virginia. While working at a foundation promoting wildlife conservation in the

Intermountain West, Jane became involved in applied ecology and restoration ecology projects in Great

Basin sagebrush and woodland systems. She returned to the University of Reno, Nevada to complete her

MS degree in landscape and forest ecology in the Great Basin Landscape Ecology Lab. After working as a

nongame biologist for a state wildlife agency, she started a PhD program in September 2022, working

with Dr. Rebecca Terry’s lab in the Department of Integrative Biology and Dr. Clint Epps’ lab in the

Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. Her current

research focuses on advancing pika conservation in arid systems, particularly in the Great Basin.

Lab Alumni



Sarah Thomsen

Postdoctoral Scholar (2018-20)


Current position: USGS Western Ecological Research Center


Tara Smiley

NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (2016-18)


Current position: Assistant Professor, SUNY Stony Brook

Graduate Students


Juniper Grimes

M.S. Student (2019-22)

Current position: Biology Lab Coordinator, Pacific University


David Taylor

PhD Student (2013-19)

Current position: Instructor, Linn-Benton Community College


Michael Brawner

PhD Student (2015-21)

Current position: TBD


Brian Tanis

PhD Student (2013-19)


Current position: Instructor, OSU-Cascades

Undergraduate Researchers


Elora Ormand

Honors Thesis (2020)


Sam Hay-Roe

URSIC Awardee (2016)


Ryley Tishendorf

URSIC Awardee (2019)


Megan Guerre

Honors Thesis (2014)


Current position: Medical School, OHSU

Undergraduate Lab and Field Assistants

Carson Henke
Ethan Johnson
Ole Koerner
Arcata Leavitt (FW Intern)
Amber Lee
Shanti Lindberg
Hayley Machado
Malory Martin
Mary Pearcey (URSA-Engage)

Bridget Regan
Kyle Robeson
Olivia Russo
Sarah Spangler
Manon Vezinet
Morah West
Felicia Wilson (FW Intern)
Chris Young (FW Intern)
Anthony Zambito (FW Intern)

Jake Arlow
Rowan Branum
Elia DeJesus
Reid Edlund (URSA-Engage)
Alex Granera (STEM Leader)
Andie Guildersleeve
Payton Hazelton
Caitlin Helman (ES Intern)

bottom of page