Lab Members

Ricardo M. Holdo

Associate Professor

Phone:       (706) 542-0075
Office:        Ecology 188B


Jason Donaldson

Postdoctoral Associate


Jason is from Cape Town, South Africa, and received his Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand, where he focused on interactions between fire, herbivores and vegetation in the Kruger National Park. Before joining our lab, Jason was a post-doc at Wake Forest University where he studied savanna dynamics and trophic cascades in the Serengeti National Park as part of Prof. T. Michael Anderson’s lab. During his time here, he will return to the Serengeti as part of a collaborative project with the University of Glasgow, Wake Forest University and the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute to analyze the effects of migrating wildebeest on macroparasite loads in resident herbivores. When in Athens, he is looking forward to exploring the trails of the Appalachian Mountains and watching live college football.

Michael Belovitch, M.Sc.

Ph.D. Student

Michael is a PhD student working on savanna tree and grass responses to water stress. He has a broad range of research interests, from individual plant physiology, to inter-specific interactions, to modeling ecosystem level processes to be used in applied contexts. Michael’s past research at the Warnell School of Forestry (UGA) focused on ecohydrology within longleaf pine savannas of south Georgia. His project quantified the impact of hydraulic redistribution to the plant communities of this ecosystem and how access to groundwater differs between tree species. In his free time, Michael enjoys hiking, playing board games, and making pottery at Athens’ local studio.


Cece Working

M.Sc. Student

Cece (co-advised by Vanessa Ezenwa) is interested in infectious disease and community ecology. Her Master’s research focuses on the effects of climate change on the developmental rates of environmentally transmitted parasites. Cece’s past research at Mills College focused on ectoparasite distribution in free living California ground squirrel populations. She also conducted field work as part of the Carrizo Plains Ecosystem Project.


Phoebe Judge

M.Sc. Student

Phoebe will be conducting her Master’s research on the responses of understory plants to hydraulic redistribution in Longleaf pine ecosystems in south Georgia. Her past research has focused on understanding drivers of fine-scale patterns of understory plant diversity in Longleaf pine woodlands and investigating trait differences between native and non-native plants in subtropical wetlands. In her free time, she enjoys exploring our peatlands and playing soccer.

Isabel Wargowsky

B.S. Student, CURO Research Assistant, CURO Summer Fellow

Isabel is conducting research on root functional traits in savanna tree and grass species grown under greenhouse conditions. She is primarily focused on characterizing root architecture and xylem vessel anatomy in common South African savanna species.

Niki Gajjar

B.S. Student, Curo Research Assistant

Niki is an undergraduate student working to investigate rooting traits in savanna tree and grass species. She is using open-source imaging software to analyze root scans of South African species grown in a UGA greenhouse to discern branching patterns, diameter distributions, and specific root lengths.


Lab Alumni

Jules NeSmith, Lab Manager and Research Assistant

Annabelle Barr (undergraduate research assistant)

Juliet Eden (B.A. Student, undergraduate research volunteer)

Laura Lenz (B.A. Student, undergraduate research volunteer)

Brooke Amerson (undergraduate research volunteer)

Kathryn King (undergraduate research volunteer)

Lucia Sol Mochi (Visiting Ph.D. Student and Fullbright Scholar, University of Buenos Aires)