Lab members as of October 2018

Jason Munshi-South, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
Louis Calder Center-Biological Field Station
Fordham University
53 Whippoorwill Road
Armonk, NY 10504
(914) 273-3078 x20
E-mail: jason (at) nycevolution (dot) org




Giselle Herrera
Master’s Student: 2018 – present
Fordham University

My first experience with urban ecology research was joining the Munshi-South lab back in the summer of 2015 working on the molecular ecology of NYC coyotes as a part of Fordham’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program (partnership with NSF). After graduating with a B.S. from Florida State University in 2016, I worked in informal education as a conservation instructor at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo for two years.

Within ecology, I am interested in population genomics, habitat connectivity, and genetics informing conservation and management issues. One of the goals with all of my research is collaborating with others to create tools for outreach and education to spread scientific findings as well as connect with the public. Outside of the lab, you can find me exploring museums, checking out new hiking spots, and IDing wildlife while pointing them out to whoever is closest to me (fun fact about said wildlife optional).


Linelle Abueg
Master’s Student: 2016 – present
Fordham University

I joined the lab as an undergraduate working on others’ projects before starting on my own project for my Master’s. For my thesis, I am looking at signatures of selection in urban Peromyscus leucopus (white-footed mice) based off SNPs generated from whole exome sequencing of mice along an urban-to-rural gradient surrounding NYC. I have also worked on exome captures of Channel Islands Peromyscus maniculatus (deer mice) that lived on different islands and experienced different predator regimes. I like to take pictures of things and pet animals (dead or alive).


Elizabeth Carlen
Ph.D. Student: 2015 – present
Fordham University

 I am a PhD student working on the ecology and evolution of feral pigeons in the Northeastern Megacity. In addition to my dissertation research, I am a cofounder and editor of the urban evolution blog Life in the City: Evolution in an Urbanizing World. Before moving to New York City, I studied mammals in rural, suburban, and urban ecosystems, which led me to ask questions about how humans have influenced the distribution, genetic diversity, and interactions of species. In my free time you can find me looking for road kill, prepping specimens, and searching for animals around NYC.

You can learn more about me by following my twitter or visiting my website


Matthew Combs
Ph.D. Student: 2014 – present
Fordham University

     My research stems from observing the consequences of modern human society on evolutionary and ecological systems.  This leads to questions like: How does the spatial organization of populations and physical infrastructure affect the dispersal of species? How do ecological roles change as the intensity of human activity increases? What adaptations arise in the face of anthropogenic selective pressures? Study systems that address these questions vary widely in scale and species, and often allow a critical perspective on familiar places and phenomena.
     Currently I study the evolution and ecology of brown rats inhabiting New York City.  Using molecular ecology and spatial statistics I am determining the population structure and landscape genetic patterns of this abundant commensal species. As an undergraduate senior thesis student at Hamilton College, I investigated an aspect of the “hygiene hypothesis”, focusing on the implications of parasitic infection on autoimmune disorders. In the past my interests have led to research on the effect of climate change on ant communities and subterranean behavior at the Harvard Forest as well as the distribution and ecology of invasive species in Colorado and upstate New York. I can often be found hiking, singing to myself, and/or collecting and photographing arthropods.

Follow Matt on Twitter


Nicole Fusco
Ph.D. Student: 2014 – present
Fordham University

    I joined the lab in the Fall 2014 with an interest in urban & suburban ecology & evolution. I had previously worked 8 years teaching environmental education at nature centers and zoos in the tri-state area. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate studying genetic connectivity of stream salamanders in urban, suburban and rural watershed networks. I am also doing a project using eDNA to detect stream salamander presence on an urban-to-rural gradient from NYC up through Putnam county. Outside of the lab I enjoy hiking with my husband, 2-year-old & the dog and also love cooking for my family.


Carol Henger
Ph.D. Student: 2014 – present
Fordham University


     Carol joins us after working as a primate keeper at the Bronx Zoo. During that time she completed her Master’s degree in Animal Behavior and Conservation. Her Ph.D. research is focused on learning how large mammals utilize highly urbanized landscapes. She is currently using genetic analysis and landscape modeling of coyotes in New York City to predict movement patterns and barriers to gene flow.



Emily Puckett, Ph.D.
Postdoc: 2015 – 2017
Fordham University

Dr. Puckett is currently the head of The Puckett Lab in Phylogeography and Evolutionary Genomics at the University of Memphis.
Visit Emily’s website and her blogs at WildlifeSNPits.

Olivia Micci-Smith
Undergraduate Student: 2015 – 2017
Fordham University

Olivia is currently the Genomics Core Operations Manager at NYU’s Genomics Core Facility.

Jane Park
Research Assistant: 2015 – 2016
Fordham University

Frank Fontana
Undergraduate Student: 2015 – 2016
Fordham University

Corentin Bohl, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Student: 2012
CUNY Graduate Center
Dissertation: “Predicting Introductions and Range Expansions of the Monk Parakeet with Ecological Niche Modeling and Landscape Genetics”

Stephen Harris, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Student: 2009 – 2015
CUNY Graduate Center
Dissertation: “Population Genomics of White-Footed Mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in New York City
Stephen currently has his own lab at SUNY Purchase College. Visit Stephen’s website at

Ian Hays
Undergraduate Student & Lab Technician: 2015
Fordham University
Ian is currently a master’s student in the Hauber lab at CUNY Hunter College.