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.


Arif Ahmed

PhD Student

I am a PhD student at Montclair State University working toward my degree in Environmental Science and Management. How all of nature's components function in perfect harmony has always enthralled me. My research interests include understanding how agrochemical residues affect aquatic ecosystems by lowering water and soil quality, diminishing species' diversity, upsetting food webs, altering energy flow, and changing patterns of nutrient cycling. While working with Dr. Matthew Schuler, I am gaining valuable experience and knowledge.

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.

Megan Klutts

Graduate Student

Joseph Affinito

Graduate Student

Yousef Dimian

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.

Jared Vigil

Undergraduate Student

I am currently an undergraduate at Montclair State University currently pursuing a degree in molecular biology. Ultimately, I would like to be a dentist but am glad to be exploring other opportunities that the biological field has to offer along the way. I love science and discovering all its mysteries, so I am happy to be a part of Dr. Schuler’s team and his effort to try and better understand our planet.

Former lab members

Emily Stone (2020-2021) - Graduate Student

Samantha Aaron (2021-2022) - Graduate Student

Darius Chisolm (2020-2022) - Graduate Student

Nazar Kravchuk (2021-2022) - Undergraduate Student

Marwha Kayali (2021-2022) - Undergraduate Student

Erin Tyll (2021) - Senior summer technician

Stephanie Zapata (2021) - Senior summer technician

Colleen Potocki (2021) - Summer technician

Alexis Garofalo (2020-2021) - Undergraduate Student

Lisbeth Roa (2021) - Undergraduate Student

Lindsey Montas (2021) - Undergraduate Student

Khaled Elzokm (2020) - Undergraduate Student