Undergraduate Researchers - Certainly my favorite collaborators as we learn the process of science together. Each one brings their own unique perspective and drive. I'm a very fortunate and proud undergraduate mentor.
Dr. Kenneth Hayes - I would certainly rank Ken in the top 5 people that have strongly and positively influenced my perspective on science and my research trajectory. He has made possible my foray (and persistence) into molecular ecology. In addition, I certainly would not have stayed working on apple snails without all of the work that Ken has invested in describing the diversity found in this special group of freshwater snails (Google Scholar Profile). Our work together involved an NSF-IRES (International Research Experience for Students) grant titled AMPLIFIED - or Ampullaridae Model for Phylogeny, Laboratory Inquiry and Field Investigations into Ecology and Diversity. No doubt Ken remains THE 'go to' person for anything apple snail (1st author of Malacologia review) and that doesn't even scratch the surface of his knowledge of molluscan diversity. Collaborating with his passionate and extremely knowledgeable wife Dr. Norine Yeung, Ken also uses his scientific curiosity in documenting the remaining native diversity of endemic Hawaiian land snails, an highly imperiled group that experience numerous conservation threats.
Cristian Clavijo, MS - I first met Cristhian in Uruguay in 2008. Cristhian ended up being the ultimate field guide to mollusks in Uruguay. Together, Cristhian, Mariana and I visited a field site, Punta Gorda, where I saw my first Pomacea maculata mating in the native range. During our AMPLIFIED research (2011-2015), Cristhian played a critical role in our research efforts on apple snails in Uruguay and holds responsibility for curating the mollusk collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Montevideo. He also represents the creativity behind InvBiota and as organizer for XCLAMA, the Latin American Malacological Society Meeting, which will be held in Piriopolis, Uruguay, in October 2017.
Dr. Mariana Meerhoff - As friends for a long time, I often refer to Mariana as the "Queen of Shallow Lake Research." We both started under the mentorship of the amazing Erik Jeppesen in Denmark studying submerged plants and zooplankton. While I transitioned to work on apple snails, Mariana stayed the course to become one of the world's leading authorities on shallow lake trophic dynamics and the impacts of climate change. Splitting her field work between Uruguay and Denmark has allowed her to compare patterns for lake ecosystems across latitudinal gradients. Mariana served as one of the Host Scientists for our AMPLIFIED Project. Earning numerous awards, Mariana maintains collaborations in Denmark and serves a member of the board of The South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability Studies (SARAS²).
Dr. Matt Barnes - I feel incredibly fortunate to collaborate with my first undergraduate to complete a Honors Thesis at Southwestern University on apple snails. Matt and I share further connections as he went onto to obtain his PhD at the University of Notre Dame in the lab of Dr. David Lodge (now at Cornell), who also served as my Ph.D. advisor. Now a tenure-track faculty at Texas Tech, Matt's expertise in eDNA and molecular ecology (see Google Scholar Profile) now provides a new avenue for molecular research for me and my students. Matt also contributes to the ongoing discussion of consuming invasive species as a conservation measure with his Invasivore website.
Dr. Kathryn Perez & Dr. Russ Minton - I could not be more excited to have fellow lovers of snail research in Texas. The number of non-native mollusks in Texas continues to grow and pose problems for native diversity and aquatic habitats. This dynamic team from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (Perez) and The University of Houston at Clear Lake (Minton) tackle any number of ecological and evolutionary questions about snails from resolving phylogenetic debates to describing new species, cataloging biodiversity and combating invasive species. Random finds of non-native snails including Japanese Mystery Snails in Houston and the apple snail Pomacea maculata in South Texas have provided opportunities for collaboration. Nice to build my molecular ecology network.