Congratulations, Ellie, Zoey, and Adam!

June 2023

Congratulations to Ellie Codding, Zoey Bailey, and Adam Clayton! They each successfully defended their excellent undergraduate theses!

Ellie Codding studied the effects of reseeding after wildfires on the genetic diversity of native grass populations in the Great Basin. She was awarded the VPRI Undergraduate Fellowship and graduated with honors in Biology. She is now at OHSU Nursing School.

Zoey Bailey’s passion about fire ecology led her to study the effects of fire history on seedbanks in the Great Basin. She was awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and gained training as a seasonal fire fighter in New Mexico. She is finishing up her Bachelor’s degree.

Adam Clayton conducted an independent research on cavity-nesting bird communities in the hazelnut-woodland-urban interface, and graduated with B.S. in Environmental Science. Check back for his first paper coming out soon!

Congratulations, Cal!

June 2023

Congratulations to Cal on receiving his MS! Cal has been a fixture in the Hallett Lab since 2018 and has worn many hats - undergraduate researcher, lab manager, two time member of the Great Basin field crew, and most recently, Masters student! Cal has a passion for bridging the gap between conservation and agricultural production that has shaped research directions in the Hallett Lab. He began his research as an undergraduate studying the role of hog grazing in hazelnut orchards as a method of filbertworm pest suppression. His MS research took a new direction in hazelnut orchards to explore bird communities and the way that orchard management practices impact bird conservation. Overall, Cal is best known for his kindness, enthusiasm for science, curiosity about all aspects of an ecosystem, and for baking a mean chocolate chip cookie! He will be joining the USDA NCRS as a Natural Resource Manager!

Welcome new members

August 2022

A big welcome to the new Hallett Lab members!

Steve Haring joined us this spring as a postdoc on the hazelnut project. Steve completed his PhD at UC Davis, with a focus on cover crops in almond orchards. We are excited for his expert insights.

Marissa Lane-Massee accepted an MS position with the lab for fall 2023, after continuing with the lab as an NSF post-bac scholar this past year. This year she’s implemented an extensive test of native species suitability as cover crops in hazelnut orchards, and we’re excited for her future directions.

Jasmin Albert will join the lab as a PhD this fall. Jasmin has a strong background in network analysis and coexistence theory, and has worked with the lab on the “mega-comp” experiment this summer. We look forward to developing projects that bridge empirical and theoretical ecology.

Jazz Dhillon will be staying on with the lab as our lab manager after the “mega-comp” field season, with a focus on our plant-soil feedback experiments. We are excited to have her join us up in Eugene.

Jobs jobs jobs

August 2022

Huge congratulations to many of the Hallett Lab postdocs on their new positions!!!

Andrew Muehleisen accepted a full-time position with the Data Science Institute here at UO, where he is leading up lots of their curriculum development.

Paul Reed is now a permanent staff scientist at the Institute of Applied Ecology.

Chhaya Werner will be starting as an assistant professor at Southern Oregon University this fall.

Ashley Shaw will be starting as an assistant professor at Appalachain State University in January.

Mega-Competition Experiment

August 2022

We are wrapping up a marathon field season at the Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center in Northern California! Hallett lab members Carmen and Marina put in a ‘mega-competition’ experiment studying how species coexistence and interactions change with severe drought in California grasslands. Using a mix of common native and invasive grassland species we will model interactions between species to understand changes that CA grasslands will experience under climate change as well as management implications for common invasive species. Chhaya set up a related experiment using the same drought infrastructure to extend coexistence theory models to native perennial grasses. We want to send a HUGE thank you to our technicians - Jasmin Albert, Ari Brown, Eda Ceviker, Jazz Dhillon, Anjum Gujral, Natalie Kataoka, and Matthew Willson - for the many dedicated hours in the field. Now, onto sample processing and data analysis!

sToration meeting and publications

June 2022 The sToration working group on species coexistence and restoration had our second meeting in Leipzig, Germany this June. We were so excited that we finally got to see each other in-person for the first time in two years. Chhaya Werner led a novel methods paper that applies Bayesian sparse modelling approach to a diverse plant communities and distangles the role of environment and species interactions effects. The paper - “Distangling key species interactions in diverse and heterogeneous communities: A Bayesian sparse modelling approach” can be read here (https://onlinelibrary.

Dr Brambila

June 2022

Congratulations to the newly minted Dr. Brambila! The first PhD student to graduate from the lab, Alejandro rocked it both in his own work and supporting others. In his 5 years here, Alejandro was awarded the NSF GRFP, co-wrote a $500K USDA NIFA, published 5 papers (3 as lead, 1 led by his undergrad mentee) with several more in the pipeline, initiated the lab’s hazelnut research program and mentored 4 cohorts of undergraduates through the program. He’s now the Agroecologist for the Trustees Institute, where he’s enhancing both conservation and agricultural science and outcomes in New England. Congratulations Dr. Alejandro Brambila!


May 2022

Lauren received her notification of tenure! Thanks to all her amazing mentors, students, and collaborators for their support on this milestone.

Candidate Watkins (Ebel)

April 2022

It’s been a busy year for Carmen, and she is rocking it! She passed her qualifying exam after an excellent talk, was awarded the NSF GRFP, had her first paper accepted at Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (keep an eye out for it - she tackled how herbivory and drought moderate stability in collaboration with the Kenya Long-Term Exclosure experiment), and is off to a great start with a mega field season. Congrats Carmen!

New Dragnet site

April 2022

The Hallett lab is involved in a new and growing globally distributed experiment testing the role of disturbance in species diversity and composition in grasslands. Chhaya and Lauren led the establishment of a DragNet site at Sierra Foothill Research and Extension center with the help of the amazing field crew there.

More USDA Fellows!

August 2021

Congratulations to Paul, Lina and Chhaya! Paul and Chhaya received USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowships! Lina received a USDA NIFA Predoctoral Fellowship and a USDA Western SARE Grant.

We are studying grasslands! Chhaya is studying lagged precipitation effects in California grasslands. Paul is researching the effects of bison grazing in the PNW praries. Lina is doing research on post-fire restoration in the northern Great Basin.

Great Basin Field Season

July 2021

The Great Basin field crew wrapped up a massive field season across Oregon and Idaho! Led by postdoc Maddy Case, the crew sampled a total of 267 vegetation plots in burned and unburned grazing allotments to examine how vegetation structure and annual grass invasion respond to different combinations of grazing, fire history, and environmental context across the Northern Great Basin. Field technicians Sam Ahler, Elijah Bradshaw, Anne Kinkopf, Cal Penkauskas, and Adam Zambie made for an intrepid team in all conditions - from snow to scorching heat to wildfire smoke - and were still smiling at the end of it!

Postdoc blog roll

May 2021

Ashley blogged about her work with nematode soil communities for the Soil Science Society of America! Did you know that soil nematodes are the most abundant animal on earth?! Learn more here:

Maddy blogged about her Harper Prize shortlisted research about root niche separation between savanna trees and grasses. This classic pattern varies with the environment! Read it here:

Welcome to new Hallett lab members!

May 2021

We are excited to welcome new and incoming lab members to the Hallett lab. Marina LaForgia, Paul Reed, and Chhaya Werner are joining as new postdocs and Cal Penkauskas will be joining as a new masters student in the fall.

Marina received her PhD from the University of California-Davis in 2019 where she worked with Susan Harrison and Andrew Latimer. Marina is USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow studying seed trait trade-offs in arid and semi-arid annuals in order to understand how the environment shapes seed strategies and how the invasiveness and persistence of these strategies may shift under climate change.

Paul will be defending his dissertation this May and will be joining the Hallett lab as a postdoc this summer. Paul has been working with Scott Bridgham at University of Oregon studying the conversion of perennial native prairies to annual grasslands with climate change. Paul will be extending this work as a postdoc.

Chhaya recieved her PhD from the University of California-Davis in 2018. She is currently a postdoc at the University of Wyoming where she is studying coexistence theory. Chayya will be joining the lab in September, working on coexistence of annual and perennials in California grasslands.

Cal is a familiar face in the Hallett lab and is finishing his BS this term at UO. The Hallett lab is lucky to keep him on as a Biology masters student! He will be extending his work on Hazelnut Orchard management, working to find sustainable solutions to hazelnut farming.

New publication!

April 2021

Marina LaForgia’s final dissertation chapter on the effects of grass litter on native annual forbs has been published in Biological Invasions! The paper - “Impacts of invasive annual grasses and their litter vary by native functional strategy” - can be read here.

Hazelnut fieldwork

Hazelnut orchard fieldwork begins

Monthly sampling work begins to monitor native forb cover crops seeded in Fall 2019. These study sites are in hazelnut orchards managed by Marissa, a recent Hallett Lab graduate, and her family. This year, we will be evaluating the re-seeding and re-sprouting ability of these plants after they were flailed and the soil was scraped during mechanical treatments. Soil moisture measurements were taken this month, and flowers are starting to bloom already. We have also started monitoring phenology and examining pollinator diversity and visitation in the orchards. Here’s to a productive field season!


April 2021

Lauren was awarded an NSF CAREER grant! Watch this space for more work on resource change and grazing effects on species coexistence in California grasslands, plus student-led projects using our Nutrient Network sites in Oregon mountain meadows.

UO Sustainability Award

Hallett lab receives UO Campus Sustainability Award for Research

The Hallett Lab is a recipient of the 2021 UO Campus Sustainability Award for Research! This award recognizes our ongoing, agroecology-based research in rangelands and hazelnut orchards. These projects involve collaborations between different research levels and disciplines, including undergraduates, farmers, ranchers, and graduate students. Thank you UO Campus Planning & Facilities Management!

A new SER chapter at UO

March 2021

Over the last few months, members of the Hallett Lab have been meeting to establish a new student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration at the University of Oregon. We are excited to announce that we have been offically recognized by SER and the University as a new student group. Our faculty sponsor is Dr. Hallett, but undergraduate and graduate students interested in restoration across the university are welcome to join.

We are currently planning an online spring speaker series on sourcing native seeds for restoration. In the future we hope to serve as a point of connection between students at the unviersity and local restoration practitioners. We look forward to the day we can tour native plant nurseries, see local restoration projects, or even get involved in a project ourselves.

Check out our website:

Congratulations, Cal!

March 2021

A big congratulations to Calvin Penkauskas for graduating this term with a dual B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science and for his amazing work with hazelnuts and hogs! Lucky for us he will be starting his M.S. in Biology with the lab come fall. We’re so excited for his future work!

New publication!

February 2021

Eliza Hernández led a lab group paper on restoring serpentine grasslands that has just been published in Restoration Ecology. The paper - “Fire versus grazing as tools to restore serpentine grasslands under global change” - can be read here.

Congratulations, Laura!

October 2020

Laura Johnson successfully defended her M.S. thesis entitled, “Understanding Freshwater Mussel Distribution, Abundance, and Demography in the South Umpqua River Basin, Oregon: Impacts of Land Use and Stream Hydraulics”. Laura is the first graduate student alumna from the Hallett Lab. We wish her all the very best for the future! Congratulations to Laura!