Principal Investigator

Jennifer Fraterrigo, Professor

My work is motivated by a desire to understand the ecological mechanisms that underpin effects of environmental change on bigeochemical cycles and plant distributions in diverse settings so that we can better predict the consequences of human activities for the structure and function of ecosystems at the landscape scale. Ultimately, my goal is to derive knowledge that will contribute to our ability to predict and manage ecosystems under changing conditions. I encourage systems-based approaches to science and interdisciplinary perspectives in my lab. My research efforts span multiple spatial scales, from microbes to landscapes, and take advantage of various tools, from lab assays to computer-based simulation and process models.

Current Graduate Students

Jennifer Alvarez, M.S. Student, 2021 – present. Jennifer earned her B.S. in Environmental Science from Northwestern University. She is studying forest dynamics and carbon storage at Trelease Woods, an old-growth remnant in Urbana, Illinois.

Lenarth Ferrari, M.S. Student, 2021 – present

Lenarth earned a B.S. degree in Environmental Science from Zamorano University in Honduras. After working as an intern at the University of Illinois, Lenarth joined the Fraterrigo Lab to study nutrient hotspots in agricultural systems. A primary goal of his research is to reduce nutrient loss by improving the spatial characterization of nutrient distributions through the incorporation of geospatial information.


Dan Marshalla, M.S. Student, 2022 – present

Dan earned his B.S in Environmental Science from the University of Notre Dame. His research examines the role of fire history in tree regeneration in grass-invaded forests within the Central Hardwoods Region.

Kayla Morrison, M.S. Student, 2023 – present
Kayla received a B.S. in Environmental Science and minor in plant biology from the University of Vermont in 2020. Her research focuses on the responses of invasive grasses and nutrient cycling to long-term fire activity patterns in the Central Hardwoods. 

Katie Pennartz, Ph.D. Student, 2023 – present

Katie’s research examines multi-scale relationships between community-level plant trait distributions and environmental variation in arctic tundra ecosystems.

Justin Vozzo, M.S. Student, 2021 – present
Justin earned his B.S. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois. His work focuses on the drivers and ecosystem-level consequences of shrub expansion in northern Alaska.

Lab Alumni

Marissa Chase, Ph.D. 2023. Postdoc, University of Minnesota

Sam Stickley, Ph.D. 2021. Teaching Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Envi. Sci., UIUC.

Matt Candeias, Ph.D. 2021. Curator of Living Collections, Huntsville Botanical Garden.

Sierra Perez, M.S. 2020. Ph.D. student, Indiana University.

Luis Andino, M.S. 2020. PhD student, University of Waterloo.

Mara Rembelski, M.S. 2019. Research Scientist, National Park Service.

Weile Chen, Postdoctoral Associate 2017-19. Assistant Professor, Zhejiang University

Shuang Liang, Postdoctoral Associate 2017-19. Assistant Professor, Zhejiang University

Tyler Refsland, Ph.D. 2018. Manager of Applied Ecology, Wild Seed Project.

Denise Devotta, Ph.D. 2017. Senior Environmental Consultant, DHI Group.

Stephanie Wagner, M.S. 2015. Environmental Assessments Specialist, Illinois State Geological Survey.

Matt Craig, M.S. 2014. Research Associate Scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Jinna Larkin, M.S. 2014. GIS Surpervisor, Santa Barbara County.

Jackie Krall, M.S. 2012. Environmental Scientist, Apex Companies, LLC.

Corinne Block, M.S. 2011. Supervisor, Laboratory Support, Thermo Fisher Scientific.