G. Evelyn Hutchinson Postdoctoral Associates

Joey Bernhardt

Joey Bernhardt, Ph.D.

Theme 1 – Environment and Evolution 

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: September 2020 – August 2022

Nathaniel Edelman, Ph.D.

Theme 1 – Environment and Evolution 

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: September 2020 – August 2022


Lewis Alcott

Lewis Alcott, Ph.D. 

Theme 2- Climate and Greenhouse Gases

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: September 2020 - August 2022


Yong Zhou, Ph.D. 

Theme 2- Climate and Greenhouse Gases

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: September 2020 – August 2022

Elizabeth Sibert, Ph.D. 

Theme 1 – Environment and Evolution 

Research description: 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. 

Fellowship dates: October 2020- September 2022

Judith Rosentreter

Judith Rosentreter, Ph.D. 

Theme 2- Climate and Greenhouse Gases

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: November 2020 – October 2022


Xin Sun

Xin Sun, Ph.D. 

Theme 2- Climate and Greenhouse Gases

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: December 2020 - November 2022

Jason Vleminckx

Jason Vleminckx, Ph.D. 

Theme 1 – Environment and Evolution 

Research description: 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.

Fellowship dates: March 2021 - April 2022