Students who have graduated from my lab

Cory Shoemaker

Ph.D. student

Cory joined my lab in Fall semester 2013 to work on research investigating the ecology of wetland restoration in the Mississippi Delta.  A portion of his dissertation research was funded by a grant from the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute (for which he contributed significantly in authoring the proposal).  Cory studied the interrelationships among wetland plant assemblages, water quality, and land use in WRP wetlands, with the assistance of the USDA NRCS.

After graduation, Cory moved to a faculty position at Slippery Rock University in PA.

Cory completed his B.S. (Biology and French!) at Wittenberg University (OH) in 2010.  He completed his Master's degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science here at MSU, under the direction of Dr. Robert Kröger.

Dissertation: Drivers of wetland plant assemblages in the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley

David Mason
M.S. student

David joined the Ervin lab in Fall semester 2016.  He studied changes in the distribution of plants, especially invasive species, in forest habitats of nearby Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge and Tombigbee National Forest.

After graduation, David went on to continue his graduate studies at the University of Florida.

David received his B.A. in Environmental Studies from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2013.


Evelyn DiOrio
M.S. 2016

Evelyn joined the Ervin lab in Fall semester 2014.  She studied the relationship between plant species assemblages and water quality in wetlands of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, or Delta, as we call it locally.  After graduation, she took a position conducting environmental assessments for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Evelyn received her B.S. from the Tennessee Technological University, in Spring of 2013, where she double majored in Biology and Wildlife & Fisheries Science, with a concentration in Environmental and Conservation Biology.

Rima Lucardi

Ph.D. 2012

Rima began work in the Ervin lab during Spring semester 2008.  She studied population genetics of an invasive grass (Imperata cylindrica) in the southeastern US.

Rima was employed through the USDA Forest Service SCEP program for the last year of her doctoral studies.  She relocated to their SRS lab in Athens, GA shortly after her December 2012 graduation.

Rima received her B.S. from the University of Texas at Arlington in December 2005, where she spent considerable time working in the lab of Dr. Laura Gough.

Dissertation: Multi-scale population genetic analysis of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) in the southeastern United States: introduction history, range expansion, and hybridization

Christian Carter
M.S. 2014

Christian joined the Ervin lab in Spring semester 2013 and completed his thesis in May 2014.  He worked on a variety of ecological studies to better understand the biology of a growing nuisance wetland plant species in the US Midwest - Butomus umbellatus (Flowering Rush).


Following graduation, Christian was employed by the US Forest Service in northern Arkansas before moving to New Mexico for a job with the US Forest Service's Nogales Ranger District.

Christian received his B.S. from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock in 2011, where he majored in Biology, with an Minor in Mathematics.


Thesis: Experimental assessment of Butomus umbellatus L. growth and expansion using a mesocosm approach


Mary Catherine Mills

M.S. 2011

Mary Catherine began work in my lab during Summer 2008.  She worked on projects related to restoration of rivercane (Arundinaria gigantea) as part of research funded by a US EPA, Region 4 Wetlands Development Program grant.

Mary Catherine received several awards for research presentations at regional conferences and was named MSU GSA Research Assistant of the Year in 2011.

Mary Catherine received her B.S. from the University of North Carolina in Asheville, NC. After graduation, Mary Catherine returned to NC to serve as a High School Environmental Sciences teacher.

Thesis: Empirical studies of Arundinaria species for restoration purposes

Steven Hughes

M.S. 2011

Steven began work in my lab during Summer 2007.  He worked on projects related to invasive plant ecology in the Mid-South US (TN, AL, MS, AR, LA) as part of work funded by the USDA and USGS through MSU's Geosystems Research Institute.  His thesis focused on habitat modeling for Blackland Prairie plant species in Mississippi.

Steven received his B.S. from Delta State University in Cleveland, MS. He left my lab for a position with the US Forest Service Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research.  He later took a position as Collections Manager for the University of Georgia Herbarium.

Thesis: Analysis of conservation practices in the Blackland Prairie region of Mississippi and construction of a predictor for locating new sites for conservation efforts.

Chris Holly

Ph.D. 2008

Chris Holly began work in my lab during Fall of 2004, after receiving his undergraduate degree from Millsaps College in Jackson, MS.  He worked on projects related to invasive plant ecology in the Mid-South US (TN, AL, MS, AR, LA) as part of a larger USGS grant to MSU's Geosystems Research Institute and grants from the USDA.  His primary focus was ecology of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) invasion.


Chris received a 2008 GSA Graduate Research Assistant of the Year award at MSU for his research on Imperata cylindrica.  He began studies at the University of Mississippi School of Law in Fall 2008.  After receiving his law degree, Chris went to work as a biotechnology patent attorney in Washington, DC.

Dissertation: Multi-scale evaluation of mechanisms associated with the establishment of a model invasive species in Mississippi: Imperata cylindrica


Brook Herman

M.S. 2005

Brook began work in my lab during the summer of 2002.  Brook's work was aimed at development of tools for use in assessment and monitoring of freshwater wetlands, specifically vegetation assessment methods (based on the FQAI approach) and invertebrate assessment techniques (IBI-type approach).


After completion of her M.S. studies, Brook took a temporary position with the Nature Conservancy at the Kankakee Sands Restoration Project.  She then worked as a Plant Ecologist with Land Resource Management Group, Inc. in Bradley, Illinois.  Brook now is employed with the US Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, MS.


Thesis: Testing the Floristic Quality Assessment Index in natural and created wetlands in Mississippi, USA

Lucas Majure

M.S. 2007

Lucas worked as a graduate student in my lab from Fall 2004 until Summer 2007.  He worked on projects related to invasion ecology in the Mid-South US (TN, AL, MS, AR, LA) as part of a larger USGS grant to MSU's Geosystems Research Institute.  His primary contribution to that work was mapping of native cactus (Opuntia spp.), in support of efforts at monitoring the invasive cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum.


Lucas received the 2007 GSA Graduate Research Assistant of the Year award at MSU for his research on Opuntia and other floristic work.  Lucas' thesis laid the groundwork for his Ph.D. studies in the taxonomy of southeastern Opuntia; that work began in the Department of Botany at The University of Florida in Fall 2007.  He received his Ph.D. in summer 2012.  He worked for a time as the "Biologist of New World Succulents" at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ prior to taking a position as Assistant Curator at the University of Florida Herbarium.

Thesis: The Ecology and Morphological Variation of Opuntia (Cactaceae) Species in the Mid-South, United States


Jason Bried

M.S. 2005

Jason began work in my lab during the summer of 2002.  He worked on projects to evaluate the potential effectiveness of Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) at indicating freshwater wetland ecological integrity.  Specifically, he assessed the short-term direction, pattern, and sensitivity of adult Odonata diversity response to mowing, fire, drainage, and other human activities.


Jason was awarded a Society of Wetland Scientists Student Research Grant (2004) and SWS Regional Best Student Presentation Award (Spring 2005). Jason took a position with the Nature Conservancy's Eastern New York Chapter, where he served as a Preserve Ecologist for the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.  He completed his Ph.D. at Oklahoma State University and then moved on to a post-doc at the University of Arkansas.  Jason later moved to a faculty position at Murray State University.


Thesis: Community and conservation ecology of dragonfly and damselfly adults in Mississippi wetlands