Principal Investigator


Marta Jarzyna

Marta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. She is a broad-scale ecologist and global change biologist interested in understanding the processes underlying biodiversity dynamics across different spatial, temporal, and taxonomic scales. Marta is a proud alumna of Warsaw University of Life Sciences (M.S.), Michigan State University (Ph.D.), and Yale University (postdoc). See detailed CV here.



Brooks Kohli

Brooks is broadly interested in using functional and phylogenetic diversity to gain new insights into community assembly, biogeographic patterns, and biotic response to environmental change. His dissertation studied these topics in small mammal communities distributed along mountainsides in the Great Basin in Nevada. Part of this work involved historical resurveys to track diversity change over the last century in response to climate and habitat changes. Moving forward, Brooks is especially interested in applying functional and phylogenetic diversity to broader spatial and temporal scales as well as digging deeper into intraspecific variation in key traits across species’ ranges to determine how it may influence analyses of functional biogeography.


Collin VanBuren

The goal of Collin’s research is to inform conservation decision-making by showing how ecosystems today differ from those of the past. For his postdoctoral work, he uses functional and phylogenetic diversity metrics to quantify changes in small mammal communities across the Late Quaternary. His research will show how ecosystem functioning provided by today’s small mammal communities differs to that provided by historic communities and how this past functioning might be restored. In his previous work, Collin quantified functional diversity in Australian amphibians as an Endeavour Postdoctoral Research Fellow with Dr John Alroy at Macquarie University and examined sources of amphibian skin thickness variation as a PhD student and Gates Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge.


Graduate Students


Colin Sweeney

Colin graduated with a BS in biology and history from the College of William and Mary in 2015. As an undergraduate researcher, he used radio telemetry, GIS, and spatial analysis to study wood thrush nesting behavior. Since graduating, Colin interned at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History and The Paleontological Research Institute in Ithaca NY and worked as a science educator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. He also was a conservation trainee at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary where he used LIDAR mapping to study nest site selection in broad-winged hawks. For his PhD, Colin is interested in using statistical and geospatial tools to study how species diversity is being impacted by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and climate change.


Arjun Venkatesan

Arjun completed his Master’s in biological sciences from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal in 2017. For his thesis, he primarily worked on a resource allocation approach to understand sex allocation in an andromonoecious species. He also gained field experience by working briefly on the pollination ecology of tropical gingers. Following his Master’s, Arjun worked on a climate change project—understanding the dynamics of Indian heatwaves—wherein he used various geospatial statistical techniques. Arjun is interested in the broad fields of climate science and ecology. For his doctoral research, he wants to understand the ecological impacts of climate change on different temporal and spatial scales and is excited to explore various statistical and computational methods to study these effects.


Would you like to join the Jarzyna Research Group? We are always looking for talented doctoral students and postdocs. Feel free to email Dr. Jarzyna at to ask about potential opportunities in the lab.