Abby Nienaber

Abby started her doctoral program in 2020 after earning a BS in Biology from Northern Kentucky University. Her dissertation research focuses on on spider web-building and foraging behaviors.

Drew Seiler

Drew joined the lab in 2020 after completing his BS in Biology at Thomas More University, where he worked closely with Dr. Christopher Lorentz at the TMU Biology Field Station. His doctoral dissertation research examines nutrient export from the forest canopy to the understory via falling arthropods (i.e., “arthropod rain”).

Daniella Prince

Daniella started her PhD program in the lab in 2016.  She received her BS from Brown University in 2012, where she conducted independent research on the evolutionary relevance of spines on ants.  Her doctoral research focuses on relationships between neuroanatomy and the behavior of tropical ants.

Kane Lawhorn

Kane started his PhD program in 2019.  He received his BS from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2018, where he participated in multiple undergraduate research projects in the Kwit Lab and via the NSF REU program. Kane’s doctoral research focuses on arthropod diversity associated with lightning-caused disturbance and dead wood in forests.


Dr. Rachel Wells – Rachel joined the lab as a PhD student in 2016 after completing her BA in Biology at Hendrix College.  Her doctoral research explored the ecology of Azteca spp. ants in Panama, from chemical eavesdropping to landscape-level patterns of nest distribution..

Dr. Jeannine Richards – Jeannine completed her doctorate in the lab of Ellen Damschen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Her doctoral research focused on epiphyte communities in Nicaraguan coffee farms.  Her postdoctoral research in the Yanoviak Lab examined interspecific differences in the effects of lightning on trees. She is currently on the faculty at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Dr. Evan Gora – Evan was trained in forest ecology as an undergraduate in Walt Carson’s lab at the University of Pittsburgh and completed his PhD at UofL in 2018.  His graduate research focused on the ecology of wood decomposition in Panama, and his postdoctoral research focused on the ecological effects of lightning in tropical forests.  He is currently a research associate at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Dr. Jelena Bujan – Jelena joined the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2017 after completing her PhD at the University of Oklahoma, where she studied ant ecology with Mike Kaspari.  Jelena’s postdoctoral research explored the effects of thermal extremes on ant behavior in Panama.  She is currently a research associate in Croatia.

Dr. Benjamin “Max” Adams – PhD 2018 – Max joined the lab as a PhD student in 2013 after completing his MS in Linda Hooper-Bui’s lab at Louisiana State University.  His dissertation research explored how lianas shape canopy ant species richness.  Max is currently a postdoc in Scot Powell’s Lab at George Washington University.

Dr. Alyssa Stark – Alyssa joined the lab as a Postdoctoral Associate in 2014 after completing her PhD at the University of Akron, where she studied the adhesive properties of gecko toes.  She is currently on the faculty at Villanova University.

Dana Frederick – MS 2014 – “Raining into water: arthropod export from the canopy and subsequent predator escape behavior”

Dr. Robin Verble – PhD 2012 – “Effects of prescribed fire on Ozark ant ecology” Robin currently is a Professor and Director of the Ozark Field Station at the Missouri University of Science & Technology, Rolla.

Petrus Moreira – MS 2012 – “Canopy ants of central Arkansas and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil: community patterns”

Theo Sumnicht – MS 2012 – “Canopy effects on tropical leaf litter arthropods”