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Faculty & Staff

  • Carmen Nezat, PhD.
    Carmen Nezat, PhD.
    Director of Environmental Science Program; Professor, Department of Geology
    SCI 132
    Phone: 509-359-7959

    BS - University of Southwestern Louisiana
    MS - University of Alabama
    PhD - University of Michigan

    Interests: water and soil geochemistry, biogeochemistry, mineral dissolution, environmental geology

  • A. Ross Black, Ph.D.
    A. Ross Black, Ph.D.
    SCI 264
    Phone: 509.359.4815
    Eastern Since:
    Undergraduate Degree:
    University of Washington, 1985
    Graduate Degree(s):
    University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1989, M.S.
    University of Wisconsin - Madison, 1991, Ph.D.

    Post Doctoral Work:
    University of Louisville, 1991-1993
    Environmental Biology
    Courses Taught:
    Ecology, General Biology, Biological Investigation
    Research Areas:
    Limnology; population biology; life histories; evolution; aquatic ecology
  • Rebecca L. Brown
    Rebecca L. Brown
    Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology
    SCI 254
    Phone: 509.359.2528

    Eastern Since: 2004

    Undergraduate Degree: George Washington University, 1995, Environmental Science

    Graduate Degree: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2002, Ecology

    Post-Doctoral Work: Academy of Natural Sciences: Patrick Center for Environmental Research, Philadelphia, PA, 2002-2004

    Courses Taught:

    Riparian Ecology (Biol 446), Senior Capstone in Restoration Ecology (Biol 490), Botany (Biol 302), Ecology (Biol 440), Ecology Lab (Biol 441), Field Botany (Biol 411), Biological Investigation (Biol 270), Biological Research Methods I for Graduate Studies (Biol 510), Biology II (Biol 172), Current Topics in Ecology (Biol 514), Environmental Science Senior Seminar (Envs 400)

    Research Interests:

    I am a plant ecologist with a wide range of research interests centered around riparian ecosystems, invasive plant species, and restoration ecology.  Recent projects include:

    •         Riparian vegetation response to dams and dam removal on the Elwha River, Washington, location of the largest
               dam removal project undertaken to date. 

    •         Role of hydrochory (seed dispersal by water) in riparian systems and its restoration after dam removal

    •         Restoring Palouse Prairie plant communities

    •         Managing invasive species in Mima Mound prairies at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

    •         Assessing the relationship between invasive winter annual grasses, particularly Ventenata dubia, biological soil
               crust, climate, and disturbance in arid and semi-arid ecosystems like Eastern Washington

    •         Assessing the effect of invasive reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) monocultures in riparian zones  on
               stream flow in semi-arid ecosystems

    I am actively recruiting graduate and undergraduate students to carry out research on a wide variety of topics in plant, riparian, or restoration ecology!  If you are interested in working in my lab, please contact me.

    Selected Publications:

    Cubley, E.S., and Brown, R.L. 2016. Restoration of Hydrochory Following Dam Removal on the Elwha River, Washington. River Research and Applications 32: 1566-1575, doi: 10.1002/rra.2999.

    Brown, R.L., L.A.J. Reilly, R.K. Peet. 2016. Species Richness: small scale (Second edition). In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK.

    Gebauer, A., Brown, R.L., Schwab, S., Nezat, C., and McNeely, C. 2016.  Effects of an Invasive Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) on Water Availability in Semi-Arid Riparian Zones. Wetlands 36: 59-72.

    Bryant, J.A.M., Reynecke, B., and Brown, R.L. 2013.  Geology and topography effects on exotic plant distribution in a semi-arid Mima mound prairie in eastern Washington.  Northwest Science 87: 12-23.

    Nilsson, C., Brown, R.L., Jansson, R., Merritt, D. 2010.  The role of hydrochory in structuring riparian and wetland vegetation.  Biological Reviews 85: 837-858.

  • Dr. Jeffrey A. Corkill
    Dr. Jeffrey A. Corkill
    Professor of Chemistry
    Science Building room SCI 232
    Phone: (509)359-6518
    Fax: (509)359-6973

    Jeffrey A. Corkill, Professor, PhD., University of Exeter

    Dr. Corkill's interests include: the use of gas and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in the analysis of organic compounds in (i) smoke derived from agricultural and silvicultural burning practices, (ii) chemical communication between conifer during herbivory, (iii) pesticide residues in organic and conventional food; integration on state-of-the-art chemical laboratory and the development of course internet-based lecture notes.

  • Krisztian Magori, Ph.D
    Krisztian Magori, Ph.D
    Assistant Professor
    Science 289A
    Phone: 509-359-2868
  • Tony Masiello, Ph.D
    Tony Masiello, Ph.D
    Assistant Professor
    SCI 234A
    Phone: 509-359-6519

    My research interest is focused on utilizing spectroscopic techniques to characterize, detect, and quantify gas phase chemicals.  The characterization of chemicals is accomplished through the analysis of high resolution (~0.001 cm-1) infrared and Raman spectra.  This analysis yields important information regarding molecular structural parameters such as precise bond lengths and bond angles, as well as yielding information regarding the bonding energy between atoms in a molecule.  Chemical concentrations are determined through analysis of low resolution (~0.125 cm-1) infrared spectra and has been used to 1) validate chemical agent detectors, 2) determine temperature dependent vapor pressure and enthalpy of vaporization parameters, as well as 3) determine Henry's Law constants.  Addition research interests involve the use of cavity enhanced techniques such as cavity ringdown spectroscopy and integrated cavity output spectroscopy to detect chemicals at trace levels. Current projects involve investigating reaction rates of ozone with anthropogenically produced carbon compounds as well as developing methods that increase the precision to which chemical concentrations are reported. 

  • Camille McNeely, PhD.
    Camille McNeely, PhD.
    Associate Professor
    SCI 275
    Phone: 509-359-7049

    I am an aquatic ecologist with a strong interest in links between ecosystem processes and community interactions, and how these are affected by natural landscapes. I am particularly interested in how resource fluxes affect organisms' interactions, and conversely, how species traits and interactions affect pathways of nutrient and carbon cycling. My graduate research focused on how the ecological role of caddisfly grazers varied with watershed landscape position. I identified stream size thresholds associated with changes in grazing regimes. My findings also suggested that traits of primary consumers have consequences for whether algal energy is transferred up the food web to predators, or sequestered in predator-defended herbivores.

    Currently I am collaborating with researchers from the University of California, University of Minnesota, and Simon Frasier University on projects linking stream community and ecosystem processes to the landscape of a northern California watershed. Projects include 1) measuring nutrient regeneration by dominant invertebrates, 2) determining landscape controls on stream primary productivity and terrestrial carbon inputs, 3) using stable isotopes and diet analysis to compare how energy moves through food webs in productive and unproductive streams.

    I have also become interested in using measurements of basic ecosystem processes, such as primary productivity and nutrient cycling, as tools to evaluate stream ecosystem health. Anthropogenic impacts to streams are often assessed through labor-intensive biological monitoring based on invertebrate or algal communities. Measurements of ecosystem processes may be cheaper and less labor-intensive, and provide more insight into functional changes that may have occurred. However, their application to biological assessment has not been well-tested. I have begun some preliminary work comparing measures of nutrient uptake to conventional biological assessment using invertebrates, which I hope to expand.

  • Margaret O'Connell, PhD.
    Margaret O'Connell, PhD.
    SCI 262
    Phone: 509-359-6812

    Eastern Since:
    Undergraduate Degree:
    Precott College, 1973
    Graduate Degree(s):
    Texas Tech University, 1975, M.S.
    Texas Tech University, 1981, Ph.D.
    Post Doctoral Work: Smithsonian Institution; National Zoological Park, Washington, D.C.

    Advisor: Zoology, Wildlife Biology/Management/Conservation, Environmental Biology
    Courses Taught:
    Vertebrate Zoology, Wildlife Management, Ornithology, Mammalogy, Conservation Biology.
    Research Areas:
    Animal population ecology and community structure; conservation wildlife-habitat relationships.

  • Robin O'Quinn, PhD.
    Robin O'Quinn, PhD.
    Assistant Professor
    SCI 234C
    Phone: 509-359-6118

    Eastern Since:
    Undergraduate Degree:

    University of California, Davis, 1998, Botany
    Graduate Degree:
    Washington State University, 2005, PhD, Botany
    Post Doctoral Work:

    Mississippi State University, 2005-2006, Population Genetics; Portland State University, 2006-2007, Population Genetics
    Plant Sciences
    Courses Taught:
    Biological Investigation; Introductory Biology for Majors (171, 172, 173); Summer field course (Geology/Biology); Molecular Ecology

    Research Interests:

    I am deeply curious about patterns and processes that shape organismal diversity. I am interested in the evolution of morphological diversity in plants (e.g., plant architecture), historical biogeography and aspects of evolutionary ecology, such as habitat preferences, pollinator-mediated hybridization and introgression. My approaches have included developmental and comparative morphology, molecular systematics, population genetics and field pollination biology. My primary study system has been the small tribe Montieae (Portulacaceae), but additional systems have included Loasaceae and more recently Asclepias (Apocynaceae). With my research, I aim to synthesize evidence in a phylogenetic framework from diverse fields to understand plant species diversity.

    Research opportunities for students are the central focus of my research agenda. I frame many of my research questions in "bite-sized" chunks, so that they are attractive and doable to students who may have limited time, but substantial interest. This approach produces project ideas that are perfect for student research because they can be accomplished as individualized units, but effectively contribute to my broader research objectives. However, providing projects from my own research are not the sole aim of my research agenda. I am equally motivated to mentor student-initiated independent projects. Students with an interest in plant systematics, population biology, biogeography or morphology are encouraged to contact me.

    Select Publications:

    O'Quinn, R. and L. Hufford. 2005. Molecular Systematics of Montieae (Portulacaceae): Implications for taxonomy, biogeography and ecology. Systematic Botany. 30:314-331.

    O'Quinn, R. and M. Fishbein. 2008. Isolation, characterization and cross-species amplification of polymorphic microsatellite loci in Asclepias (Apocynaceae). Conservation Genetics. In press, DOI 10.1007.

    Eppley, S.M., O'Quinn, R., and A.L. Brown. 2009. New sequence-tagged site molecular markers for identification of sex in Distichlis spicata. Molecular Ecology Resources. 9:1373-1374.

  • Suzanne Schwab, Ph.D.
    Suzanne Schwab, Ph.D.
    SCI 268
    Phone: 509.359.4727
    Eastern Since:
    Undergraduate Degree:
    State University of New York, 1975
    Graduate Degree(s):
    Colorado State University, 1979, M.S.
    University of California - Riverside, 1982
    Post Doctoral Work:

    Advisor: Botany, Environmental Biology
    Courses Taught:
    Plant Physiology, Mycology, General Biology, Environmental Science.
    Research Areas:
    Physiological and ecological aspects of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae, Restoration of disturbed land.

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