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Primary Investigator

Hillary Young

Dr. Young's research is focused on understanding the effects of changes in biodiversity on population and community structure and function. She is particularly interested in understanding the cascading effects of human disturbance and biodiversity change on human health and well-being.

Graduate Students

Ana Miller-ter Kuile

Ana is a second year doctoral student in the Young Lab interested in food webs, entomology, and how anthropogenic disturbances impact ecological communities. She is passionate about science education and communication through natural history, storytelling, and art. She's spent the last few years doing conservation work in the Southwest and graduated with a BS in Earth Systems from Stanford University.

Elizabeth Forbes

Elizabeth is a third year doctoral student in the Young lab, and part of the IGERT Network Science traineeship program; she is primarily interested in ecological communities and the impacts that perturbations have on those communities. Specifically, she's interested in: a) the impact of wildlife loss on the basic yet essential ecosystem functions like carbon flux and carbon storage, and how to consider the direct and indirect influences of large wildlife on carbon in ecosystems, and b) the impacts of wildlife loss on the network structure of ecological communities.

Devyn Orr

Devyn is a third year PhD student investigating the cascading effects of species losses and additions in the Tehachapi Mountains of California. Devyn is establishing a new large-scale, long-term megafauna exclosure experiment, replicated across a strong climate gradient, to understand how changes in the abundance of native mule deer, re-introduced elk, invasive feral pigs, and domestic cattle impact ecosystem structure and function under different climatic conditions. She is using a diverse array of field techniques to study how processes such as disease transmission, nutrient allocation, and seed dispersal change as native large mammals are lost from a system and new species are introduced, and whether these relationships are dependent on climatic context.


Georgia Titcomb

Georgia is a second-year PhD student researching the impact of watering holes on parasite density in the East African tropical savanna. Georgia is using a variety of field techniques, from tick drags and camera trapping to parasite microscopy, to study wildlife and domestic animal use of these water sources. Conducting her fieldwork across a climate gradient and over rainfall seasons, she aims to understand how this disease risk may change over time and under future climate scenarios. Aside from getting her feet wet in watering holes, Georgia is an artist who creatively explores biological themes and questions in her drawings, paintings, and printmaking ventures!


Lab Manager

Maggie Klope

Maggie Klope is the Lab Manager for the Young Lab at UCSB. Maggie joined our lab after working for California State Parks and as a biologist for an environmental consulting company. She is interested in the impacts of plant community assembly and habitat disturbance on ecosystem services. 


Lab Assistants

An Bui

An graduated from UCSB in 2015 with a BS in Ecology & Evolution and a BA in English. She works on seabird foraging ecology and its influence on disease transmission in addition to being the lab's (Insect) Trap Queen. In the future, she hopes to study the effects of differing migration behavior on speciation in birds.

Rachel Behm

Rachel is a recent graduate of UCSB with a major in Zoology. Her interest is in insect systematics, especially for Diptera and Hymenoptera. She hopes to go to graduate school and one day have her own lab. Rachel is currently employed as a lab assistant, and is working to identify invertebrates for the Palmyra Atoll project.

Bhavandeep Dhilon

Bhavandeep is a recent graduate of UCSB with a degree in Microbiology major. His interests include host-parasite relationships/dynamics and infection pathways. His hobbies include landscape photography and hiking. In the lab, Bhavandeep is leading a study examining estuarine fish and the parasites that infect them.

Jenna Hulke

Jenna has been managing the Watering Holes project in Kenya for the past year. Although Jenna has been working on identifying wildlife parasites and vectors in the field, she is also interested in public health issues involving parasites.

John Mantas

John is a field assistant in Kenya who has worked on a wide range of Young lab projects. Aside from being our resident mammal expert, John is a navigational superstar in the field!

Godfrey Amooni

Godfrey has been an assistant with the Young lab in Kenya for the past 2 years. Godfrey is our resident botanist, and can identify an enormous number of Mpala's grasses and trees to species.

Undergraduate Assistants

Carina Motta

Carina is a second year pre-bio major who hopes to earn a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution.  She is interested in ornithology, community ecology, and climate change.  Carina is currently working with Devyn Orr at Tejon Ranch through the EUREKA Internship Program studying the effect of large land mammal loss and climate change on tick-borne disease in California.  

Bella Moyorga

Bella is a second year working towards a BS in Biological Science. Her hobbies include running, editorial makeup, and iPhone photography. She is interested in environmental conservation, wildlife ecology, and biological and behavioral adaptations to severe climate. She is interning with Devyn on the Tejon Ranch experiment studying the expected consequences of climate change in regard to the prevalence of tick-borne diseases.

Calvin Davidson

Calvin is a second year Biology Major in the College of Creative Studies. His interests include invertebrates, community ecology and zoology.

Anissa Carter

Anissa is a third year Biology student interested in community ecology and the response of mammals to anthropogenic disturbances. She is currently assisting with research in bats’ responses to quality and location of habitats.

Ivan Rodriguez

Ivan will be working in Kenya with graduate student Gerogia Young during Summer 2017. He will be investigating hookworm prevalence at watering holes across a rainfall gradient in Kenya to better understand transmission of this globally-important group of parasites.


Lab Alumni

Gabby Najm

Gabby graduated with a degree in Biology from the College of Creative Studies. She is interested in conservation, population genetics, and captive breeding. During her time in the Young Lab, Gabby researched climatic and temporal variations in animal activity around water sources in the Tehachapi Mountains using camera trap data.

Amanda Orens

Amanda graduated with a degree in Zoology. She is interested in community and vertebrate ecology and habitat restoration. During her time in the Young Lab, Amanda assisted with research on California estuarine fish and their relationship with parasites.

May Wen-Chuan Chou

May graduated with a degree in Microbiology. She is interested in how microorganisms impact large wildlife and human welfare. During her time in the Young Lab, May worked on Trypanosoma research.

Ana Sofia Guerra

Ana graduated from Stanford University in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology. She has been associated with several projects in the lab including host-ectoparasite associations of small mammals in Kenya and Western Gulls in the Channel Islands. Ana is now a PhD student in the McCauley Lab where she is researching fish schooling behavior and grazing on coral reefs. 

Amanda Tokuyama

Amanda graduated with a degree Biology major in the College of Creative Studies in December 2016. She is interested in the cascading effects of invasive species and infectious disease on wildlife communities. Amanda worked on Mount Kenya coccidian research.

Nicolette Flannery

Nicolette graduated with a degree in Zoology in December 2016. She has garnered past research experiences in the field and lab as an intern in the Page-Dugan lab, a coastal marine ecology lab, at UCSB's MSI. Through the Page-Dugan lab, Nicolette completed research on the urbanization of sandy beach ecosystems and presented at UCSB's Undergraduate Research Colloquium in May 2016. Nicolette is interested in conservation biology and invertebrate zoology, notably entomology, which she plans to pursue in her graduate education. Nicolette assisted with Devyn Orr's research by identifying invertebrates in samples taken from Tejon Ranch.

Sean Nguyen

Sean graduated from UCSB with a Biology degree from the College of Creative Studies. He is interested in community and disease ecology. In the future, he hopes go into epidemiology and bridge his interests in disease ecology and public health. During his time as an undergrad and as a lab assistant, he conducted research on California estuarine fish and their parasites. Sean plans to attend medical school beginning in Fall 2017.

Benjamin Boyce

Benjamin is a former lab manger for the Young lab at UCSB. He is a UCSB graduate, and his interests include anthropogenic influences on ecosystems, conservation, and environmental ethics.

Tyler Ainsworth

Tyler was an undergrad zoology major interested in disease ecology and parasitology, primarily to gain a better understanding of how human disturbances can affect human health.

Shane Ransbury

Shane was an undergrad majoring in Physiology interested in aquatic ecology and systems physiology with research experience studying invertebrate recruitment in sub-tidal waters off California.

Lauren Gillespie

Former Young lab manager Lauren is currently pursuing a masters in biodiversity, ecology, and the environment at the University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France. She is particularly interested in ornithology and population genetics.

Katherine LeVan

A former visiting scholar in the Young lab, Katherine studied the effects of human-mediated resource subsidies on foraging and disease profiles of gulls in the Channel Islands. She is currently a staff scientist at the National Ecological Observatory Network in Colorado.

Katie Nigro

Katie was an undergrad majoring in Ecology and Evolution at UCSB. She graduated in Spring 2015 and spent the summer working in the Young lab as a technician before moving to Florida for an agroecology research internship. She enjoys the outdoors and is interested in studying community ecology and ecosystem interactions in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. ​

Matt Snider

Matt was the manager of our Ecosystem Ecology and Global Change Laboratory (EEGCL) at the Mpala Research Centre. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Animal Science in 2009 and has spent most of the intervening time working on various projects in Africa, including recent stints studying Grant's gazelles in Laikipia, Kenya and lions in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. His principle research interests include behavioral and movement ecology of mammals with an emphasis on inter/intra-specific dynamics.  

Ashley Hintz

Has a diverse background in molecular biology/genetics, natural history collections, animal husbandry and basic veterinary science. She is completing her graduate degree researching the phylogenetics of Australian planigales using multiple genetic loci. She worked at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in the Mammals Division on a project to create and catalogue barcode sequences of ectoparasites (fleas, ticks, mites and lice) from African rodents collected by Dr. Young for her research into African disease ecology.

BS Organismal Biology University of Kansas 2009
MS Zoology Southern Illinois University Carbondale 2014

Do Trung Quan

Quan graduated from UCSB in 2016 with a degree in biochemistry molecular biology. He is interested in disease ecology and ecosystem interactions, and worked on Kenyan tick research.

Anna Burrows

After graduating from UCSB with a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2016, Anna worked as a lab assistant on the Gull Project at the Channel Islands during the Spring Quarter of 2016.

Johnson Lin

Johnson was an Aquatic Biology major. He is interested in infectious disease dynamics and community ecology. He is also interested in how anthropogenic disturbances might influence biodiversity loss and induce cascading effects that could impact community interactions and human health. Johnson assisted Devyn with her work at Tejon Ranch assessing grazing effects on invertebrate diversity and abundance, as well as the influences of large mammals on ecto-parasite behavior and interaction with the community.