Laboratory Directors


Dr. Thomas W. Boutton

Regents Professor
Texas A&M AgriLife Senior Faculty Fellow
Sid Kyle Endowed Chair in Arid and Semi-Arid Land Biogeochemistry
(979) 845-8027
Specialization: Biogeochemistry, Soil ecology

Dr. Jason B. West

Associate Professor
(979) 845-3772
Specialization: Ecosystem ecology

Laboratory Staff

Current Students and Researchers

  • Dr. CheJen (Jerry) Hsiao: Postdoctoral Research Associate [Dr. Boutton] Soil Biogeochemistry
  • Nicole Havrilchak: ( PhD student [Dr. West]
  • Reshmi Joseph: Undergraduate Laboratory Assistant (Oct 2018 – present) Environmental Geosciences major
  • Dr. Ian MacLachlan: Postdoctoral Research Associate [Dr. West] Tree genomics and physiology



  • Dr. Rachel Adams (PhD 2020, Dr. West) Interactions between surface ecology and cave ecosystems
  • Dr. Cynthia Wright (PhD 2019, Dr. West)
  • Dr. Yong Zhou (PhD 2018, Dr. Boutton) Woody plant encroachment into grasslands: impacts on landscape-scale spatial patterns of soil C, N, and P storage and dynamics [Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University]
  • Dr. Ryan Mushinski (PhD 2017, Dr. Boutton) The long-term influence of intensive timber harvest on soil biogeochemistry and microbial ecology [Current position: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Illinois]
  • Dr. Rachel Wellman (Rosenstein) (PhD, 2014, Dr. Boutton) Nitrogen transformations in response to elevated temperatures and altered rainfall regimes in oak savanna: A global change experiment. [Current position: AICE Environmental Management and Honors Biology, Boca Raton Community High School]
  • Dr. Julie Foote (PhD, 2014, Dr. Boutton) Biogeochemistry of the western Gulf Coastal Plain as impacted by forest management. [Current position: Lecturer III at the University of Texas at San Antonio, Environmental Science Program]
  • Dr. Ilsa Kantola (PhD, 2012, Dr. Boutton) Biogeochemistry of Woody Plant Invasion: Phosphorus Cycling and Microbial Community Composition. [Current position: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]
  • Dr. Emily B Hollister (PhD, 2008, Dr. Boutton) Relationships between structure and function in savanna ecosystem. [Current position: Assistant Professor, Baylor College of Medicine]
  • Dr. Edith Bai (PhD, 2007, Dr. Boutton) Spatial patterns in the natural abundance of 13C and 15N in a subtropical savanna parkland: Implications for ecosystem dynamics. [Current position: Professor, Institute of Applied Ecology Chinese Academy of Sciences]
  • Dr. Feng. Lui (PhD, 2007, Dr. Boutton) Spatial patterns of soil carbon and nitrogen storage in a subtropical savanna parkland.
  • Dr. Wylie N. Harris (PhD, 2005, Dr. Boutton) Management impacts on feedbacks in carbon and nitrogen cycles of Great Plains grasslands.
  • Dr. Julia D. Liao (PhD, 2004, Dr. Boutton) Woodland development and soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics and storage in a subtropical savanna ecosystem.
  • Dr. J. Andrew Hubbard (PhD, 2003, Dr. Boutton) Fire-grazing interactions in a mixed-grass prairie.
  • Harrison Raub (Dr. West)
  • Ane Fortes (Dr. West)
  • Toby Santamaria (Dr. West)
  • Yang Zang (MSc, 2016, Drs. Vogel and West) Pinemap - litter decomposition associated with soil C cycling
  • Elizabeth Wilson (MSc, 2014, Drs. Vogel and West) The effects of drought stress on mesophyll conductance to CO2 in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) leaves.
  • April Mattox (MSc, 2013, Dr. West) Effects of woody vegetation removal on soil water dynamics in a South Texas shrubland.
  • Fan Li  (MSc, 2012, Dr. West) Effects of Arundo donax L on the Hydrology of a Rio Grande Riparian Zone.
  • Dr. Kui Li (MSc, 2011, Dr. West) Ecohydrological controls and effects of rhizome integration on the performance of Arundo donax in a Rio Grande riparian zone.
  • Kelley A. Hays (MSc, 1999, Dr. Boutton) Summer fire impacts and isotopic assessment of vegetation dynamics in Texas coastal Quercus virginiana communities.
  • Dr. Rebecca L. McCulley (MSc, 1998, Dr. Boutton) Soil respiration and microbial biomass in a savanna parkland landscape: Spatio-temporal variation and environmental controls.
  • Michelle M. Finlayson (MSc, 1995, Dr. Boutton) non-thesis option
  • Dr. Samuel B. Marshall (MSc, 1995, Dr. Boutton) Biogeochemical consequences of livestock grazing in a juniper-oak savanna.
  • Schuster J. Kent (MSc, 1994, Dr. Boutton) non-thesis option
  • Dr. Stephen E. Watts (MSc, 1993, Dr. Boutton)  Rooting patterns of co-occurring woody plants on contrasting soils in a subtropical savanna.
  • Dr. Carolyn K. Ivans (Yoder) (MSc, 1993, Dr. Boutton)  Soil water utilization by herbaceous species of the southern Great Plains: Evidence from isotopically labeled water.
  • Dr. Christine G. Elsik (MSc, 1992, Dr. Boutton)  Growth, physiology, and δ13C of loblolly and shortleaf pine as affected by ozone and soil water deficit.
  • Jenny King (Forensic Summer Internship, 2013, Dr. West): Bat hair stable isotopes, forensic internship.
  • Lori L. Herrmann (BS Honors, 1995, Dr. Boutton): The effects of increased woody plant abundance on the carbon and nitrogen cycles of a subtropical savanna ecosystem.


Former Laboratory Director:

  • Dr. Jason Vogel [2010-2016] Current position: Assistant Professor at University of Florida


Former Researchers:

  • Dr. Ayumi Hyodo, Research Assistant Professor/Lab manager, 2012-2020
  • Dr. Saadat Ullah Malghani, Postdoctoral researcher, 2015-2016. [Present position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Yonsei University]
  • Dr. Million Hailemichael, Postdoctoral researcher, 2002-2004.  [Present position: Research Scientist, Idaho State University]
  • Dr. Xiaoyan Dai, Postdoctoral researcher, 2002-2007.  [Present position: Railroad Commission of Texas]
  • Dr. Andrew J. Midwood, Postdoctoral researcher, 1990-1992.  [Present position: James Hutton Institute]
  • Dr. Stephen F. Zitzer, Postdoctoral researcher, 1990-1992. 
  • Dr. Isabel Casar, Postdoctoral researcher, 1991-1992. 


Former Visiting Scientists:

  • Dr. Fernando Freire [Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Brazil]
  • Amani Mahindawansha [Justus Liebig University Giessen, Advisor: Lutz Breuer]
  • Iris van der Veen [Potsdam University, Advisor: Dirk Sachse]
  • Cristina Antunes [University of Campinas, Advisor: Cristina Máguas]
  • Monica Warner [Mississippi State University, Advisor: Nicholas Hermann]
  • Kennedy N. de Jesus [Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Advisor: Everardo V.S.B. Sampaio]
  • Dr. Zhiwei Ge, 2013. [Lecturer of Department of Ecology & Environment Science, Nanjing Forestry University, China]
  • Dr. Guobing Wang, 2013. Priority Academic Biological Science Program Fellow [Associate professor, Nanjing Forestry University, China]
  • Dr. Peter. Millard, 2006. OECD Visiting Research Fellow: Autotrophic vs. heterotrophic contributions to soil respiration in savanna ecosystems. [Science Leader, Soil-Plant-Microbial Interactions, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland]
  • Dr. Evgeny  Morgun,  2004. Senior Fulbright Fellow: Mechanisms of soil carbon storage and dynamics in grassland ecosystems. [Present position: Professor, Soil Science Department, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia]


Former Research Associates:

  • Matt Smith (Research Assistant, August 2014 - May 2016) Current position: PhD student at Florida International University
  • Brabon Cawthon (Research Associate, Sep 2013 - May 2014) Current position: Weaver Boos Consultants
  • Ryan Mushinski (Research Associate, Jan-Aug 2013)
  • Darrin Moore (Research Associate, 2005-2012) Current position: Chemist in Pesticide Residue Laboratory, Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Kirk Jessup (Research Associate, 2001-2005) Current position: Senior Research Associate, Texas A&M AgriLife Research in Amarillo


Former Undergraduate Laboratory Assistants:

  • Meagan Harrington (May 2018 – May 2020) Biomedical Sciences major
  • Madison Taylor (April 2019 – Mar 2020) Ecosystem Science and Management major
  • Kelly Xavier (Feb 2017 – Dec 2019) Biochemistry major
  • Blair Fose (May 2018 – June 2018) Chemistry major
  • Alvin Teh (May 2016 – Apr 2018) Chemical Engineering major
  • Matthew Pfeifer (Feb 2017 – Aug 2018) Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications major, MSc
  • Kameron Fennessey (May 2017 – May 2018) Water Management major, MSc
  • Anthony Foelker [Work study] (Jun 2017 – Aug 2017) Nuclear Engineering major
  • Ali Jalal (May 2016 - Nov. 2016) Biology major
  • Melissa Gerhart (May 2016 – Dec. 2016) Biomedical Sciences major
  • Kyler Tormey (May 2015- May 2016) Chemistry major
  • Alex Schieszer (Apr 2015- Apr 2016) Biomedical Science major
  • Martina Kesumah (Apr. 2015 – Dec. 2016) Applied Mathematics major
  • Mounita Rob (Apr. 2014 – May 2015) Bioenvironmental Science major
  • Curtis Smith (Apr. 2014 – July 2014) B.Sc. in Geoscience
  • Darcy Moreland (Sep 2013-May 2014) Natural Resource Development major, MSc
  • Emily Boon (Sep 2013-May 2014) International Studies major
  • Stephanie Gongora [work study] (May-Dec 2013) Anthropology major
  • Diana Lainez [work study] (May 2013-Aug 2013 and Apr 2014) Chemical Engineering major
  • Emery Wolf (Jan 2013-Sep 2014) Renewable Natural Resources major
  • Maddie Wigley (2013) Ecosystem Science and Management major
  • Colleen Macdaniel [work study] (Jan-May, Sep-Dec 2013) Pre-medical major
  • Earl Rangel [work study] (Jan-May, Sep-Dec 2013) Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences major
  • Taha Habib [work study] (Jan-May 2013) Engineering major
  • Berry Isensee (Oct 2012- Feb 2013) Ecosystem Science and Management major
  • Kathy Brown [work study] (Sep-Dec 2012) Nutrition and Food Science major
  • Sara Malik [work study] (Aug 2012-May 2013) Psychology major
  • Skyler Helmich [work study] (May-Oct 2012) Engineering major
  • Brandon Cawthon (May 2012-May 2013) Ecosystem Science and Management major
  • Candace Green (Jan 2012- May 2013) Ecosystem Science and Management major
  • Evan Dulin (2010-May 2012) Ecosystem Science and Management major

Contact Us

SIBS Lab (Dr. West or Dr. Boutton)

Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology

Texas A&M University

2258 TAMU

534 John Kimbrough Blvd

College Station, TX 77843-2258

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