Heather Reynolds    

My research interests center on the relationships among plant-soil-microbe interactions, environmental heterogeneity, and vegetation diversity, and their applications to ecosystem restoration and sustainable agriculture. See Research for more information. My teaching and outreach engage students at the interface of science and society, promoting awareness of ecological principles, ecosystem services and steady state economics, and their role in developing sustainable human-environment interactions.




Graduate Students

Emma Oschrin    

After completing my undergraduate degree in Biology-Environmental Studies at Whitman College, I began my PhD at Indiana University. As an undergraduate, I studied native and invasive grass species in Eastern Washington as well as forest regeneration in Australia. My research interests center on declining native biodiversity, the interactions between native and invasive plant species, and the effects of climate change on these interactions.


Amy Synder    

After discovering my interest in plant community assembly while studying Environmental Biology at Washington University in St. Louis, I decided to pursue a PhD at Indiana University. I am particularly interested in determining how mechanisms such as plant-soil feedbacks and drought shape prairie communities, and how we can apply these findings to improve prairie management.


Savannah Bennett    

Broadly, I am interested in trophic interactions among herbivores, plants, and soil communities. I received my master’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Ecology and Evolution at Montclair State University. For my master’s thesis, I investigated the role of above-and below-ground herbivory in plant-soil interactions. Prior to beginning my master’s research, I received a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, where I studied the effects of stream urbanization on macroinvertebrate communities.


Undergraduate Students

Lia Bobay    

I am an undergraduate pursuing a B.S. Environmental Science and I am interested in understanding how to use plants to remediate and restore polluted or damaged environments.


Corben Andrews    

I am a second year undergraduate studying Environmental Science in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. My research is focused on urban prairie ecology. Specifically, I am testing conventional turfgrass mixtures and native grass species pretreatment potential for urban prairie installation. In addition, I am testing the application of other management practices for organically eradicating invasive species at two field plots in Bloomington. In the future I am interested in analyzing common food crop varieties interaction with mycorrhizal fungi species, in hopes of helping agricultural soils adapt to climate and ecological change.



Kara Cifizzari    

Being involved with organic vegetable farming for over 5 years eventually lead to more questions than answers, which is why I landed in a Biology (B.S.) degree program at IU this past year. As a Cox and McNair scholar I am pursuing research related to plant-microbe interactions and how these relationships can be efficiently cultivated and sustained in order to benefit both the land and the farmer.


Post Docs & Research Associates
  • Tara Rajaniemi (2001-2004); Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  • Anne Hartley (2002-2003); Associate Professor, Florida Gulf Coast University
  • Keith Vogelsang (2003-2005); Assistant Professor, Ivy Tech Community College; President, Native Solutions LLC
  • Nathan Kleczewski (2009); Plant Pathologist, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Service
Graduate Students
  • Barbara Swedo (PhD, 2008)
  • Brett Mattingly (PhD, 2009); Assistant Professor, Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Lauren Young (PhD, 2004-2015)
  • Sarah Shannon (PhD, 2013); Lecturer, Towson University
  • Alex Smith (MS, 2008-2009); Farm Manager, Rise Up Farms, Elkhart, IN
  • Jonathan Bauer (PhD, 2014); Postdoctoral Researcher, Indiana University
  • Lauren Smith (PhD, 2014); Postdoctoral Associate, Yale University
  • Kimberly Elsenbroek (MS, 2012-2015)
Visiting Graduate Students
  • Francisco Padilla (PhD, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Almeria, Spain), 2006 & 2007; Post doc, Radboud University, The Netherlands
  • Laura Garcia-Martinez (PhD, Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, Almeria, Spain), 2009; Hayward Postdoctoral Fellow, LandCare Research, New Zealand
  • Eva Gajdos (PhD, University of Debrecen, Hungary), 2012; Doctoral Candidate, University of Debrecen
Recent Undergraduate Research Assistants

We have been priviledged to work with dozens of undergraduate students - a huge thanks to them all! Recent students include:

Name (Years with lab); Current Affiliation

  • Hayley Prihoda (2012-2013); National Gallery, Washington, D.C.
  • Josh Sissman (2011-2012); Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Rebecca Stoops (Cox Research Scholar, 2009-2012); Cook Pharmica, LLC
  • Austin Rutherford (2010-2011); Botany Intern, Conservation and Land Management Program, Nevada
  • Miriam Nowrouzi (2011-2014); City Year Americorps Member
  • Audrey Pangallo (2012-2015); University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI


Golden Rod