Bruna Lab Alumni

Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Eric Scott: Lagged effects of climate and habitat fragmentation on H. acuminata demography. Currently a Scientific Programmer & Educator at University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • Maria Rosa Darrigo: Science Without Borders Postdoctoral Fellow, Variation in avian dispersal ability and H. acuminata demography.

  • Paul Gagnon: The cumulative effects of chronically reduced plant growth in forest fragments. Currently an Ecologist / Social Scientist for the US Army Corps of Engineers, Institute for Water Resources.

  • Heather Passmore: Effect of forest fragmentation on the structure of Amazonian ant-plant mutualist networks. Currently a Senior Data Scientist at

  • Thiago Izzo: Population dynamics of ant-plant mutualist systems. Currently a Professor at the Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso in Brazil.


  • Fabiane Mundim, Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, 2016
    Fabiane’s research was on above- and below-ground plant-herbivore interactions and how they are influenced by climate change. She did her field work in Brazil’s Cerrado.

  • Ernane Vieira-Neto, Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation, 2016
    Ernane’s research was on how the expansion of road networks in Brazil’s Cerrado influences the demography and spread of leaf-cutter ants.

  • Elan Simon Parsons, MA in Latin American Studies, 2018 Simon’s research was on the prevalence and functional form of edge-effects in fragmented landscapes.

  • Ana Cecilia Silva, M.A. Student in Latin American Studies, 2015.
    Ana Cecilia completed her BA in Anthropology at the University of Florida with a minor in German. He MA thesis was on how Brazilian’s attitudes regarding extensive executive power influence support for affirmative action.

  • Paulo Rubim, Ph.D., Universidade Federal de São Carlos, 2013
    Paulo completed his BS and MSc at UNESP where he studied the phenology of Atlantic forest tree species. His Ph.D. was on factors influencing Heliconia acuminata distribution and reproduction at multiple spatial scales. I co-advised Paulo with Dr. Dalva Mattos.

  • Cris Follman Jurinitz, Ph.D. in Ecology, Universidade de São Paulo, 2012
    Cris studied tree demography in primary and regenerating Atlantic rain forests. I co-advised Cris with Alexandre Oliveira

  • Christine Lucas, Ph.D. in WEC & TCD, 2010
    Christine did her research on how flooding and disturbance from cattle ranching influence the regeneration of Varzea forests in the Brazilian Amazon. She is currently a faculty member at the Universidad de la República (Uruguay).

  • Stella Copeland, M.S. in WEC, 2009
    Stella’s thesis was on how nitrogen enrichment and simulated changes in precipitation influenced two Cerrado grasses. She went on to complete her Ph.D. at UC Davis with Dr. Susan Harrison.

  • Gwen Iacona, M.S. in WEC, 2008
    Gwen was co-advised with Dr. Kay Kirkman at the Jones Ecological Research Center. Her research was on seedling establishment along productivity gradients in Longleaf Pine savannas. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, and is now a Postdoc in Australia with Dr. High Possingham’s group.

  • Pedro Braunger, M.S. in Biology, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
    Pedro studied investigated how roads influenced the diversity of cerrado plant communities. He is currently a PhD. student at the University of Brasilia and a member of the Military Police of the Distrito Federal, Brazil.

  • Alana Vaz Ferreira, M.S. in Biology, Universidade Federal de Uberlandia, 2007
    Alana studied seed predation by ants, birds, and rodents in Brazil’s Cerrado. She is currently a member of the State Police in Minas Gerais, Brazil

  • Ian Fiske, M.S. in WEC, 2006
    Ian studied sampling in plant demographic studies and the implications of alternative approaches for matrix model projections. He completed a PhD in Statistics at NCSU and now works as a Data Scientists in Jacksonville, FL.

  • Matthew Trager, M.S. in SNRE, 2006
    Matt’s thesis was on the effects of nutrient manipulation on ant-plant mutualisms. He completed a PhD with Dr. Jaret Daniels and is now wit the US Forest Service.

  • Maria Beatriz Nogueira Ribeiro, M.S. in Ecology, Universidade de São Paulo, 2005
    Bia’s thesis research was on plant regeneration in Amazonian secondary forests. She worked at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project.

Visiting Graduate Students

  • Alan Nilo da Costa, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
  • Carolina Ferreira Gomes, Universidade Federal de Uberlândia
  • Diego Resende, Universidade Estadual de Londrina
  • Yves Rafael Bovolenta, Universidade Estadual de Londrina
  • Rodolfo de Abreu, USP-ESALQ
  • Simone Athayde, Instituto Socioambiental
  • Rita Quitete Portela, UNICAMP
  • Camilla Castanho, Universidade de São Paulo

Sabbatical Visitors

  • Karine Carvalho, Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia
  • Ariadna V. F. Lopes, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • Alexandre Oliveira, Universidade de São Paulo
  • Laury Cullen, Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas (IPÊ)

Technicians and Post-Graduate Researchers

  • Laura Vivian Barbosa: Laura was responsible for coordinating field work in the Cerrado. She went on to earn a PhD from the Universidade Federal de Uberlandia.

  • Paulo Rubim: Paulo was responsible for coordinating field work at the BDFFP. He went on to earn a PhD from the Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos.

  • Sylvia Heredia: Sylvia was responsible for coordinating field work on ant-plant mutualisms at the BDFFP. She went on to earn a PhD from the Universidade of California, Riverside.

  • Maria Rosa Darrigo: Rosinha was responsible for coordinating field work at the BDFFP. She went on to earn a PhD from the University of Campinas.

  • Simone Benedet Fontoura: Simone was responsible for coordinating field work at the BDFFP. She went on to earn a PhD from the Universidade Federal de Lavras

  • Polyanna Custodio Duarte: Polyanna was responsible for coordinating field work in the Cerrado. She was a graduate student at ESALq