Entomology & Microbiology

Dr. Kier D. Klepzig

Dr. Kier Klepzig

Director and Scientist

Kier is the Director and Scientist in Entomology for, and directs the conservation, research and educational programs of, the Jones Center at Ichauway in southwest Georgia. The program is sponsored by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The programs include the stewardship of the 30,000-acre Ichauway site, graduate student co-sponsorship programs, natural resource education and outreach to landowners, students, policy-makers, and public agencies, and five long-term research projects. His personal research interests include forest entomology, forest pathology, mycology, and insect and microbial diversity. Kier obtained his BS at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and his MS and Ph.D. in Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has worked as a professor at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA, and as a Research Entomologist, Project Leader, and Assistant Director with the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station. In his spare time, Kier acts in and directs local theatrical productions, plays guitar, and listens to a myriad of indie rock bands and podcasts. Also, his favorite color is definitely purple.

Favorito

Christine Favorito

Research Associate I

Christine Favorito graduated with her MS from UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources studying native bee communities in Georgia’s working pine forests. She enjoys exploring all the insect biodiversity the Jones Center has to offer, especially the bees! Christine’s research interests include comparing bee (and other insect) diversity in different environments and also telling everybody about native bees all the time. She enjoys hiking, spending time near water, and other people’s pets. Christine also has a BS in biology from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. She has previously worked at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and served in AmeriCorps with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Hackensack Riverkeeper.  

Thomas Ohmen

Research Technician II

Thomas Ohmen began working as the Research Technician II at the Jones Center in May 2024. He graduated with his MS in Entomology from North Carolina State University in December of 2020. His research was on the overwintering reproductive phenology of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in the mountains and coastal plains of NC. His love for insects began in middle school after attending a bug camp in his hometown of Asheville, NC. He started his own personal insect collection then and has continued collecting/pinning as a hobby ever since. Thomas enjoys spending time with his wife Madison and their 13-year-old golden retriever Raleigh. His hobbies include hiking, camping, disc golf, and birding.  

Lindsey Grimes

Seasonal Research Technician

Lindsey started January 2024 as a seasonal technician with the entomology lab. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in 2023, where she was involved in research. This included observing and identifying the pollinators for a local hemi-parasitic plant (Seymeria pectinata) and looking at the effects of anti-depressant drugs on the growth rate of Sarcophagidae flies. She has also previously worked with the USDA in a plant pathology and nematology lab. When she is not looking for bugs, she enjoys the outdoors, any hobby that involves crafts, and reading. She hopes to go to grad school at some point and to continue pursuing a career in entomology. 

Sydney Pleak

Seasonal Research Technician

Sydney started as a seasonal technician at Ichauway in January 2023. She primarily works on the Trends in Arthropod Biodiversity Systems (TABS) long-term monitoring project, as well as assisting with a frosted elfin introduction project. After completing her bachelor’s at Indiana University in 2021, Sydney worked on an insect biodiversity survey for Fort Leonard Wood through the University of Missouri S&T in the Ozarks. In between seasonal jobs, she spends most of her time traveling, climbing, and being outside. Her future plans include grad school and figuring out a way to convince everyone why we should be eating bugs.

Graduate Students

Thomas N. Sheehan

Ph.D. Student

Tom Sheehan is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia (coadvised by Dr. Joe McHugh and Dr. Kier Klepzig) studying the intersections of prescribed fire, dead wood, and beetle communities in the longleaf pine ecosystem. He has a deep fondness for all living creatures, but particular taxa of research interest include cerambycid and scolytine beetles. Tom grew up in Illinois but has lived in Georgia for the past decade. He has a BS from Berry College and an MS in Entomology from UGA. In addition to collecting insects, Tom also enjoys hiking, camping, cycling, reading, drinking tea, performing in bug drag, sending letters, theatre (performing and observing), and hanging with his two cats: Basil Ferguson Jones Sheehan and Rosemary Raindrop Sheehan.

Ben Gochnour

Ph.D. Candidate

Ben Gochnour is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia under the direction of Dr. Kamal Gandhi, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. His research at Ichauway involves bark beetle population responses to different land management techniques including prescribed fire and salvage logging after severe wind damage caused by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. He is an avid hiker and biker, and he brings his dogs along whenever he can on adventures into nature. He has always loved being out in the woods, which is why he has tended to focus on ecological field studies in my career, and Ichauway has been one of his favorite places to work!





Leela Hospach

M.S. Student

Leela is an M.S. student at Clemson University under the direction of Dr. Jess Hartshorn, Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. She is studying the ecology of eye gnats in longleaf pine ecosystems. She recently moved from Guam, where she worked for several years as a wildlife biologist managing invasive fire ant and rhino beetle control programs. Some of her interests include free diving and Antarctica.

Gabriel Tigreros

M.S. Student

Gabriel graduated in May of 2018 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in general biology. He got his first taste of entomology during his senior year of undergrad, and spent many moments of his final semester as a volunteer in the university’s entomology lab. Here, he helped pin, sort and identify insects, and found that it was something he loved to do. After graduating, Gabriel spent some time in San Francisco working with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy as a habitat restoration technician. While living in California, he would go on to develop a strong interest in mycology, where he would spend much of his free time hiking and documenting his encounters with many different fungi. Gabriel has also had the honor of helping out with a variety of rare plant/wildlife monitoring projects during his time in SF, giving him a wide range of memorable experiences as a naturalist. He hopes to eventually earn his Masters degree in forest entomology and microbiology, and wishes to be able to learn more about the relationships between beetles and fungi. 

Elizabeth Sicking

M.S. Student

Elizabeth is an M.S. student at Virginia Tech under Dr. Sally Entrekin, working with Dr. Klepzig and Dr. Golladay at the Jones Center. Her research is focused on how varying hydroperiods impact benthic and emerging insect communities in geographically isolated wetlands. She graduated with her B.S. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Entomology from Virginia Tech in December 2022. Elizabeth first became interested in entomology after taking a beekeeping class at VT, and after she discovered aquatic entomology, she was hooked! Her research interests include ecology, plant-insect interactions, and the impacts of anthropogenic change on freshwater ecosystems. In her free time Elizabeth enjoys hiking, running, painting, and adding to her collection of houseplants!

Hanusia Higgins

Ph.D. Student (Committee)

Hanusia is a Ph.D. student at the University of Georgia, co-advised by Drs. Kamal Gandhi and Elizabeth McCarty. She is working on the applied ecology and management of Ips bark beetles in southern pine forests, and the interaction of Ips beetles with climate change. She recently received her M.S. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, where she studied the impacts of forest management in response to the emerald ash borer. Hanusia enjoys hiking, biking, cooking, baking, and spending time with her cat, Max.

Lab Alumni

Kelsea Young

M.S. Student

Kelsea Young graduated with her MS from Clemson University under the direction of Dr. Jess Hartshorn, Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. She studied dung and carrion beetles in longleaf pine forests in the absence of mammalian mesopredators. She grew up just a few miles down the road from Ichauway and is thrilled to be participating in research at the Jones Center. Her favorite pastimes include working with animal rescue organizations, going thrift shopping, and working on cemetery preservation projects. Research topics she is particularly passionate about include nutrient cycling beetles, biodiversity in longleaf pine forests, and implementation of museum collections in research.

Morgan Sandera

M.S. Student

Morgan Sandera earned her MS degree at the University of Georgia, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Dahlen, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. Her masters work focused on assessing wood and fiber quality for sawtimber sized trees in planted longleaf pine from forest cutover and old agriculture field sites. This involved comparing the properties to naturally regenerated longleaf pine and planted loblolly pine. She is an avid hiker/ backpacker. She completed an Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2015 and has been on many other backpacking excursions since. In her free time, she enjoys foraging for wild mushrooms, watching documentaries, cooking, and learning how to bake bread.

Crystal Bishop

M.S. Student

Crystal Bishop graduated from the University of Georgia with her MS under the direction of Dr. Caterina Villari, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. She studied hurricane damage and management practices implemented to mitigate wind damage for longleaf pine forests and how they might affect root and lower stem feeding beetles and their fungal associates. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, disc golf, and craft beer with friends. She can also be found at parks enjoying the flora or jogging down the street in the sunshine. 

Lewis Marquez

Ph.D. Candidate

Lewis Marquez graduated with his Ph.D. from Emory University, under the direction of Dr. Cassandra Quave, Department of Dermatology and Center for the Study of Human Health, and Dr. Kier Klepzig, the Jones Center at Ichauway. His research focused on identifying and isolating antimicrobial compounds from plant species used in traditional medicine for skin disorders. From these plants, his lab has curated a unique natural product library composed of >1,500 plant extracts. His research projects included identifying antibacterial compounds for use against Gram-negative bacteria like drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, identifying antifungal compounds that are effective against pathogenic fungi like Candida Auris, and identifying compounds that resensitize drug-resistant microbes to conventional antimicrobials In his free time, Lewis likes to watch old Western movies and go on road trips exploring the East Coast with his wife Roxxette.

Jade Higgins

Seasonal Research Technician

Jade started in May of 2023 as a seasonal technician in the entomology lab at The Jones Center. Her main task at the Jones Center is to assist with TABS (Trends in Arthropod Biodiversity Systems), during which she does field work and lab work, both of which she enjoys. Jade graduated from Fairmont State University in 2022 and has worked in the molecular ecology research lab at Duquesne University helping to study the diet of migratory birds via molecular techniques. She also has worked as a naturalist intern at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. When she isn’t looking at bugs, she likes to go hiking, kayaking, and skateboarding. 

Mary McTeague

Seasonal Research Technician

Mary is a recent graduate of Luther College with a BA in environmental science and English literature. She started working as a research technician at Ichauway in May 2022. Mary has always been fascinated by the outdoors and everything that lives there, and she became especially interested in insects after taking an undergrad entomology class. At Ichauway, she has learned a lot about arthropod activity in longleaf pine ecosystems, and she is currently looking at diel activity of insects on site. She hopes to eventually continue to study entomology in grad school. In her free time Mary enjoys hiking, reading, cooking, and spending time with her dog.

Madi Dunlap

Seasonal Research Technician

Madison Dunlap is a recent graduate from the University of Redlands with a bachelor’s degree in general biology who started as an entomology technician at Ichauway in January 2022. She has always had a particular fascination with invertebrates but her passion for insects started before her senior year of college with a summer lab internship researching insect pollinator trapping methods. She continued this project during senior year and developed a love for bees and wasps that is still strong today. After college she worked as a plant ecology technician which helped her get outside and in nature where she learned to appreciate the beautiful interaction between plants and insects. In her free time she loves to roller skate, cook, grow gourmet mushrooms, and make rugs.

Victoria Cassidy

Seasonal Research Technician

 From a young age Victoria was captivated by nature, and knew she wanted to explore and work in the outdoors. Victoria graduated from Reinhardt University with a BS in biology where she played college soccer. Shortly after graduating she went on to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Victoria received her MS in forest resources at the University of Georgia studying the success of systemic insecticide treatments in reducing Nantucket pine tip moth (NPTM) infestations and damage to loblolly pine trees, the potential non-target effects from the treatments, and the phenology of NPTM. Hobbies she enjoys include hiking, helping others (especially dogs), reading, playing soccer, and listening/dancing to music.

Jasmine Cates

Research Technician I

In May 2020, Jasmine Cates started working at the Jones Center at Ichauway in the Entomology lab as a field technician. Jasmine graduated from Arkansas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences. Working as a field technician, she has gained experience with identifying insects, studying habitat preferences of bees, and documenting the behavior of the Eastern Fence lizard. Her research interests include the management of invasive species and the conservation of endangered/threatened species. Entomology and Herpetology are two fields of study that interest her the most. She intends to get her master’s degree in either field. In the future, she would like to work at a research institute as either an entomologist or a herpetologist. Her hobbies include herping, drawing, reading, and cooking.   

 

Christopher Terrazas

Seasonal Research Technician

Christopher Terrazas grew up in Hampton, Georgia where he spent most of his time hunting and fishing with family or playing whatever instrument he could make a decent amount of noise with. While completing his B.S. in Natural Resource Management at ABAC, he developed an interest in habitat restoration and management for imperiled reptiles and amphibians of the coastal plain. In the future, he would like to earn an advanced degree in wildlife ecology so he can continue to spend his time in the piney woods contributing to the conservation of such an incredible ecosystem.   

 

Adam Knapp

Seasonal Research Technician

Adam Knapp is an aspiring systematist with a specific interest in solitary hymenoptera and collections curation. He generally has a passion and preference for all things without bones. He graduated with a BS in Biology from Temple University.

 

Rob Finn

Seasonal Research Technician

Rob Finn’s research interests are in the natural history and ecology of the world’s invertebrates. In undergrad, he worked on a project rearing beetles as a potential food source at the University of Arizona, and he will be starting a Masters of Marine Science looking at disease ecology in marine invertebrates at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in August 2020. He hopes to be able to combine his experiences and passion for learning about the natural world and one day work with a museum.   

 

Riley Egan

Seasonal Research Technician

Riley graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2019 with a BS in Biology.  As a native of Southwest Georgia and having interests in invertebrate ecology, Riley jumped at opportunity to join the Entomology Lab at the Jones Center in the fall of 2019.  Riley is currently pursuing his MS in Environmental and Biological Sciences at Troy University where he is conducting research on the effects of impoundments and invasive crayfish on native crayfishes in the Cahaba watershed.  In his free time, he likes to spend as much time outdoors as he can and enjoys kayaking, hiking, fishing, running, and playing guitar.

Stephen W. Golladay, Ph.D.

Scientist

Dr. Golladay’s interests include the ecology of streams and wetlands, the impact of human land use on water quality and aquatic invertebrates, and the impact of variation in hydrology on ecological processes and aquatic communities Recently, he has developed an interest in the ecology and conservation of rare and endangered freshwater mussel species.

Dr. Golladay has served as a technical advisor to the Sand County Foundation, Georgia EPD, DNR and Water Management districts in Florida. He has developed training activities for resource professionals in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Dr. Golladay also has assisted in the development of programs to enhance the
natural resource awareness of regional educators in cooperation with regional Georgia Youth Science and Technology.