Past Hutchinson Postdoctoral Associates

Below is the list of past Hutchinson Fellows. To learn more about postdoctoral opportunities with YIBS, visit our Postdoctoral Fellowships page.

Past Hutchinson Postdoctoral Associates

  Fellowship dates Faculty sponsor & research focus Where are they now?
Elizabeth Sibert, Ph.D.  October 2020- September 2022

Sponsor: Pincelli Hull, Associate Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences; Associate Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences 

Research: Elizabeth focuses on how fish and marine ecosystems respond to global climate changes. She uses the microfossil record of fish and sharks – their microscopic teeth and scales, preserved in deep-sea sediments – to reconstruct marine ecosystem dynamics across major global change events throughout Earth’s history, including global warming and mass extinctions spanning timescales ranging from 100 million years ago to the present. Elizabeth is most interested in how marine ecosystems function and what types of processes and environmental conditions drive evolution in those ecosystems. At Yale, she will focus on developing a multi-proxy record of a major and undescribed open ocean extinction event in order to better understand the structure of today’s marine ecosystems. 

Associate Research Scientist, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Yale University 


New Haven, Connecticut

Jason Vleminckx, Ph.D. March 2021 - September 2022

Sponsor: Liza Comita, Assistant Professor, Yale School of the Environment 

Research: Jason is a community ecologist studying the determinants of species assembly in diverse living groups (plants, fungi, invertebrates) in Neotropical and Central African tropical forests. At Yale, he will focus on modeling how Amazonian tree communities respond to inter-annual variation in solar irradiance and rainfall due to El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, and to disentangle these effects from the influence of directional changes in temperature, cloud cover, and atmospheric CO2 concentration. His project will be carried out using large seedling plots and seed trap data recorded by a network of collaborating ecologists at regular time intervals over the last two decades in Western Amazonia.

Lewis Alcott, Ph.D.  September 2020 – August 2022

Sponsor: Noah Planavsky, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences 

Research: Lewis’s work at Yale will focus on better understanding sources of greenhouse gases. Terrestrial environments account for a significant portion of natural methane to Earth’s atmosphere and his work mainly focusses on understanding their temporal and spatial variation. Local and globally integrated flux measurements have been severely altered by anthropogenic activities, meaning that we rely to a large degree on point measurements to estimate natural methane fluxes. The key aim of Lewis’ work is to revisit the global variation in methane fluxes in order to develop best practice sampling strategies for globally representative measurements.

Research Associate, University of Waterloo 

Waterloo, Ontario 

Yong Zhou, Ph.D.  September 2020 – August 2022

Sponsor: Carla Staver, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Research: Yong has studied savanna dynamics and their influence on landscape-scale carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus biogeochemistry. Recently, he has focused on plant functional traits, soil nutrient dynamics, and ecosystem carbon storage of African savannas. He now plans to link field measurements to Lidar remote sensing data to quantify and scale-up methane emissions from termite mounds across African savannas.

Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Ecology, Utah State University 

Logan, Utah 

Xin Sun, Ph.D.  December 2020 - July 2022

Sponsor: Alvaro Sanchez, Associate Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Research: G. Evelyn Hutchinson proposed “the paradox of the plankton”, asking how limited resources could support the huge diversity of phytoplankton found in nature. Modern methodologies have identified vastly more numerous and diverse microbes that co-exist in nature. Xin is an environmental microbiologist fascinated by how these tiny organisms drive global biogeochemical cycles. At Yale, she plans to develop quantitative theories to predict microbial eco-evolutionary dynamics in a changing environment and the effects of microbes on the environment using a combination of computational models and lab experiments. Xin will explore the microbial version of Hutchinson’s paradox: how limited resources can support complex microbial communities. Ultimately, she hopes to illuminate the microbial ‘black boxes’ in large-scale models by applying solid, quantitative theories.

Simons Postdoctoral Fellow in Marine Microbial Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology

Stanford, California 

Nathaniel Edelman, Ph.D.  September 2020 – May 2022

Sponsor: David Skelly, Frank R. Oastler Professor of Ecology, Director of the Peabody Museum of Natural History; Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research: At Yale Nate will study the origin and spread of locally adaptive alleles through metapopulations in the context of climate change. He will focus on wood frogs and will use population genomic techniques to identify loci under selection locally, regionally, and globally. To better understand the observed patterns, Nate will develop fine-scale models that simulate systems of populations under varying evolutionary pressures. This work will allow researchers to predict the capacity of these frogs, and species generally, to share adaptations and persist in the face of novel and changing environments.

Genomic Scientist, Childrens Hospital Colorado 

Aurora, Colorado 

Judith Rosentreter, Ph.D.  November 2020 – May 2022

Sponsor: Peter Raymond, Professor of Ecosystem EcologyYale School of the Environment 

Research: Judith is a coastal biogeochemist with a special interest in coastal ocean carbon cycling and in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from estuaries and coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems such as mangrove forest, salt-marshes, and seagrass beds. Her research field, coastal biogeochemistry, connects the riverine, terrestrial, marine and atmospheric sciences. In her research, she uses a variety of methods to measure biogeochemical processes and water-atmosphere gas exchange, including high precision greenhouse gas analyzers to undertake in situ high-resolution measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations. At Yale, she will investigate fluxes of CO2, CH4, and N2O along gradients of highly impacted urban areas to near-pristine waterways including salt-marsh habitats in the Long Island Sound estuary.

Adjunct Lecturer, Southern Cross University 

East Lismore NSW, Australia 

Taylor Maavara, Ph.D. June 2020 - January 2022

Sponsor: Peter Raymond, Professor of Ecosystem Ecology, Yale School of the Environment 

Research: Taylor will build on her existing expertise combining field and modeling techniques to develop scaling laws to predict methane emissions from inland waters, including lakes, rivers, reservoirs, and estuaries, across the United States and globally. She is interested in exploring both modern changes to freshwater methane emissions, as well as how methane emissions have evolved through the Holocene.  

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Independent Research Fellow, University of Leeds, School of Geography 

Leeds, United Kingdom 

Sarah Friedman, Ph.D.  September 2020 - September 2021

Sponsor: Martha Muñoz, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyDepartment of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History

Research: High latitude marine environments are some of the most imperiled by warming temperatures. Sarah’s research at Yale will focus on uncovering the mechanisms driving rapid evolution and diversification in high latitude fishes, which play an essential role in these ecosystems. Determining these mechanisms is key to both understanding how species arise and how to maintain biodiversity in the face of a rapidly changing environment.

Research Fish Biologist, NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center 

Seattle, Washington 

Joey Bernhardt, Ph.D.  September 2020 - May 2021

Sponsor: David Vasseur, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Research: Joey is an ecologist whose research aims to understand how populations and communities adapt and persist in changing environments. She combines theory, experiments and data synthesis to study the metabolic underpinnings of biodiversity. Her work aims to unify perspectives on energy flow with population and community ecology to create a more coherent and mechanistic science of global change. In studying the consequences of biodiversity change for human health, her research seeks an integrative understanding of the processes that structure ecosystems and the benefits to human well-being they provide.

Assistant Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph

Guelph, Ontario