YIBS Staff

Oswald J. “Os” Schmitz
Director, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies

Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology

Professor Oswald Schmitz became the Director of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies on July 1, 2011. He is the Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and his research examines the dynamics and structure of terrestrial food webs. His specific focus is on plant-herbivore interactions and how they are shaped by carnivores and soil-nutrient levels, both at the level of herbivore foraging ecology and plant-herbivore population dynamics. He also examins how natural systems are resistant and resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances, and his approach involves developing mathematical theories of species interactions in food webs and testing these theories through field experiments. This work deals with a variety of ecosystems and herbivore species, ranging from moose deer and snowshoe hare in northern Canadian forests to insects in New England old-field ecosystems.

Toya Sealy Cotto

Toya Sealy Cotto
Sr. Administrative Assistant, Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS)
and the Environmental Studies Program
Peabody Museum, 213A, New Haven, CT

Toya joined Yale University in November of 2007 as a Financial Assistant for the Shared Science Service Branch (SSSB) where she served as a Financial Assistant for the SSSB and as an Administrative Assistant of travel for Professor Michael Snyder in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.

She then worked as a floater, assisting in the various departments on Science Hill when needed, and enjoyed each of these experiences tremendously.

YIBS was one of the departments that she assisted with and its then Director Jeffrey Park and Assistant Director Rose Rita Riccitelli invited her to permanently join their staff in the fall of 2009, which has offered Toya the opportunity to learn new skills in addition to financial reporting.  Toya is happy to be working with Os Schmitz who was appointed YIBS Director in July of 2011.

In June, 2010, Toya also took on duties for the Environmental Studies Program in Yale College, which is also under the YIBS organization.

Mailing Address:

Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies 

PO Box 208118
New Haven, CT 06520-8118
Phone: (203) 432-9857
Fax: (203) 432-9927
E-mail: latoya.sealycotto@yale.edu

Rose Rita Riccitelli
Special Projects Coordinator
Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies
Cell Phone:  (203) 645-3914
E-mail:  roserita.riccitelli@yale.edu

Rose Rita began her career at Yale in 1991 at the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies (YIBS) and in 1998 became the Institute’s administrator under the directorship of Elisabeth Vrba, Professor of Geology & Geophysics. She has worked under the YIBS directorships of Karl K. Turekian, former Sterling Professor of Geology & Geophysics; Derek E.G. Briggs,the Director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History and G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Geology & Geophysics; Jeffrey J. Park, Professor of Geology & Geophysics; and Oswald Schmitz, Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecoloygy at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. In 2008 she was appointed as the Assistant Director of YIBS and remained in this position until June 30, 2014.  Rose Rita is now the special projects coordinator for YIBS.