Current lab members

Matt Schuler, PhD

Principal Investigator

I am an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey. As a community ecologist, the goal of my research group is to understand how anthropogenic factors alter ecological communities, given expected patterns of assembly, coexistence, and diversity from fundamental ecological theories. For the past few years, I have been investigating how anthropogenic stressors such as salinization, climate change, and invasive species affect freshwater environments. I also study how urban developments and environmental modifications such as roads alter the chemistry and distribution of species in ponds, lakes, and streams. This fall and winter I will be investigating if road salts increase the risk of heavy metal contamination in private drinking wells in New Jersey.

Curriculum Vitae


Dean Bobo

Research Associate

I am currently a bioinformatician at the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History. My current research includes estimating error rates of next-generation sequencing, tracking bacterial haplogroups in a ringtail lemur troops in Madagascar, determining how microbial communities change with freshwater salinization or pollution by human activity, and building gene annotation pipelines for use on non-model organisms. I build scalable and reusable pipelines to identify and QC genomic variants and annotations from high-throughput sequencing data on distributed computing systems. I trained at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Johns Hopkins University, and previously was a bioinformatician at the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


Samantha Aaron

Graduate Student

I am pursuing a master's in biology at Montclair State University, while working as a full-time environmental science and biology teacher at Livingston high school in New Jersey. I am passionate about educating students in regards to the human impact on the planet, specifically through hands-on outdoor lab experiences where students can collect and analyze their own data. Working in a lab will help me learn techniques and strategies that I can bring back to my high school students.

Kevin Peteroy

Graduate Student

I am a graduate student in the Master's program in Coastal and Marine Sciences at Montclair State University. I've wanted to be involved in biology since I was young. Previously, I've been involved in projects involving topics ranging from Horseshoe Crabs, pesticide analysis, Combined Sewer Overflow events, zooplankton collection, and seagrass habitat analysis. Currently, I'm particularly interested in the effects of anthropogenic inputs and alterations on the species and habitats present in a given space, such as in the case of nutrient pollution, habitat degradation, etc.

Darius Chisolm

Graduate Student

I’m currently a graduate student at Montclair State University pursuing a Masters Degree in Biology. I started solely wanting to pursue a career in medicine. But further studies have grown my interest in how humans have impacted different species and ecosystems. During one semester, my classmates and I performed an experiment that tried to test the amount of salts that red salamanders tolerate in the hope to explain the role of road salts on amphibians. Once completed I'd like to either further explore the role of species in the stability of ecosystems or a career in medicine.

Alexis Garofalo

Undergraduate Student

Yousef Dimian

Undergraduate Student

Lisbeth Roa

Undergraduate Student

Thara Polanco-Diaz

Undergraduate Student

I am currently an undergraduate junior majoring in biology. When I first began attending university I intended to pursue a career within medicine. However, as I continued to progress throughout more science courses, I truly fell in love with biology. Today, I aim to pursue a master's degree in biology.

Nazar Kravchuk

Undergraduate Student

I am senior at Montclair State University majoring in exercise science with clinical pre professional studies. My main goal is to pursue a masters degree in Physician Assistant. As a student, I like studying and observing various science courses. To further expand my science knowledge I became interested in doing biological research. Specifically research on ecological impact on different species and their habitats. Current research projects for the fall of 2021 include: microbial communities caused by tap water differences, the effect of carbon pollution on the growth and diversity of zooplankton and others.

Former lab members

Emily Stone (2020-2021) - Graduate Student

Lindsey Montas (2021) - Undergraduate Student

Khaled Elzokm (2020) - Undergraduate Student