Lab Members/ Research

Fearless Leader: Reed F. Noss

Reed Noss is Provost’s Distinguished Research Professor of Biology at the University of Central Florida and Director of the SPICE Lab. He currently conducts research on vulnerability of species and ecosystems to sea-level rise; climate adaptation strategies; road ecology; ecosystem conservation; and changes in ecological processes and species assemblages along urban-rural-wildland gradients. His latest book is Forgotten Grasslands of the South: Natural History and Conservation.

———————————————————————————————————————— Associates

Myra Noss, Projects Manager (


 Daniel J. Smith, PhD, AICP (

Dr. Smith is a research associate and member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Biology at the University of Central Florida and a member of the National Academies Transportation Research Board Subcommittee on Ecology and Transportation. He has 20+ years of experience in the fields of ecology and environmental planning. His primary focus is studying movement patterns and habitat use of terrestrial vertebrates and integrating conservation, transportation and land-use planning. Previous work includes: landscape fragmentation/connectivity assessments; ecological hotspot modeling; wildlife movement, behavioral and habitat use studies; wildlife-vehicle collision-reduction studies; and evaluation and design of wildlife-crossing structures. His most recent publication, in press, is Ecology of Roads: A Practitioner’s Guide to Impacts and Mitigation.

———————————————————————————————————————–  Graduate Students

Joe Figel, PhD Candidate (

Joe received his B.Sc. in wildlife conservation from the University of Washington and his M.Sc. in environmental studies from Florida International University.  His research interests include surveys and conservation of endangered species, camera trapping, historical accounts of wildlife, and human perceptions of wildlife. Apart from his time participating in a Sumatran tiger field survey in 2005-2006 (Wibisono et al. 2009), he has continuously studied jaguars and their prey since 2003.  His dissertation research examines the impacts of the burgeoning oil palm industry on the Jaguar Corridor in Colombia, the leading producer of palm oil in Latin America.


Molly Grace, PhD Candidate
(, webpage )

Molly Grace joined the SPICE Lab in 2012 after receiving a B.Sc. in biology at Duke University. Her research interests include conservation ecology, road ecology, and human-wildlife conflict mitigation. Her dissertation research is in road ethology, studying animal behavior near roads and how this behavior may be modified. She is currently experimentally investigating a potential link between traffic noise and reduced animal abundance near roads- and if the link exists, what is the mechanism responsible? She is also evaluating the effectiveness of animal-vehicle collision mitigation measures (Roadside Animal Detection Systems). Molly was the 2013-2014 president of UCF’s Biology Graduate Student Association ( and has worked with the undergraduate research program LEARN (Learning Environment and Academic Research Network). She is currently helping develop a biology summer camp for high school students.


Courtney Knickerbocker, PhD Student (

Courtney Knickerbocker’s work focuses on the response of urban wetland plant communities to changes in land use intensity and woody encroachment. Her dissertation work involves research on the drivers and consequences of change in vegetation along the urban to rural gradient. She has spent extensive time working in the FTU herbarium at the University of Central Florida, organizing the more than 11,000 specimens of vascular plants and contributing several hundred more to the collection. She continues to study and instruct on the ethnobotanical uses of central Florida plants as a hobby.


———————————————————————————————————————– Field Technicians

Ashley Miller


Heather Chasez (

Daniel Parker (

———————————————————————————————————————– Former Lab Members

Joshua Reece, PhD (website)

   Josh Reece

My research interests include population genetics, phylogenetics, comparative phylogenetic methods, statistical phylogeography, conservation genetics, and conservation biology. My postdoctoral work with Dr. Noss explored the vulnerability of Florida’s biodiversity to sea level rise, climate change and land-use change. For more on my research, please see my website or contact  me at Josh830(at)


Angela Tringali, PhD (

My research interests include social behavior, communication, and the evolution of life-history strategies. My dissertation research combined observational and experimental methods in the field to investigate why juvenile Florida Scrub-Jays are sexually dimorphic. When I’m not chasing scrub-jays to pluck and color on them, I enjoy karaoke and cooking for large groups of people. For more about my current work, visit my webpage.


Marianne Korosy (

Marianne Korosy conducted field research in south Florida’s dry prairieecosystem on breeding ecology of the resident, federally-endangered Florida Grasshopper Sparrow and on winter diet and habitat selection of Florida Grasshopper Sparrow (a federally endangered subspecies) and resident Bachman’s Sparrows, together with migratory Henslow’s and Grasshopper sparrows. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from bird feathers and food reference samples are elucidating winter sparrow diets. While finishing up her dissertation she works full-time as an avian ecologist for Audubon Florida. Marianne leads a volunteer bird banding project involving rooftop-nesting Least Tern colonies and continues research on winter site fidelity of migratory sparrows at Weekiwachee Preserve in Hernando County.


Pam Pannozzo, PhD (

I joined the SPICE Lab as a PhD student in 2009. I’m interested in the role of science in conservation planning and policy.  Specifically, my research focuses on examining how conservation science is integrated into land-use planning and growth management.  I would like to know if implementation of conservation plans is meeting the goal of long-term viability of native populations and preventing species losses.  If so, I’d like to identify the factors leading to those achievements. If not, I’m interested in identifying obstacles and using scientific research to find ways to ensure conservation successes.  As a case study, my research examines the variability of local government land-use planning for nature conservation here in Florida. I would like to understand the nature of this variability and its impacts on the long-term persistence of biodiversity across the state. I will evaluate this variability and attempt to identify its causes. Additional questions I will seek to answer are how conservation planning variability affects native populations, and how we can better bridge the gap between conservation science and policy.


Joyce Klaus, PhD

David Breininger, PhD

Danielle Eisenberg, PhD

Robin Bjork

Paige Garrett (

Angela Tursi (


Former field techs

Rebecca Sensor (





Adam Casavant (





Forest Hayes