Dr. Sharon J. Hall

Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences

sharonjhall@asu.edu; LSA 320; Click here for my CV.

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I am an ecosystem ecologist with interests in conservation and the dynamic relationship between humans and the environment. How do humans change ecological systems, and how do these changes in turn affect human behavior?   What types of ecosystem and landscape management practices enhance environmental quality and human well-being? A bit of personal history: I grew up in Oakland, CA and graduated from Stanford University in 1990 with a B.S. in Biology with a focus in Neuroscience. I became interested in the environment after spending the better part of a year diving in the kelp forests of the Monterey Bay and teaching at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I pursued an Ed.M. degree at Harvard University in 1992, and then completed a Ph.D. in 1998 in Soil and Ecosystem Science at UC Berkeley.  After a post-doc at the University of Colorado, I became a faculty member in the interdisciplinary Environmental Science Program at The Colorado College.  In 2005, I joined the faculty in the School of Life Sciences at ASU.  On a daily basis, I feel lucky to work with talented, curious students and colleagues on important questions related to ecology, conservation and human-environment sustainability.


Laura Steger

Lab Manager


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I am an ecologist interested in the influence of land use, climate change, and invasive species on biodiversity and ecosystem function. I use approaches in spatial analysis, modeling, population genetics, and ecological stoichiometry to study both natural and man-made systems.

Prior to joining the Hall Lab in June of 2017, I worked at a research assistant at the Chicago Botanic Garden. During that time, I was involved in projects ranging from the macro to the molecular, and focused in the conservation of sensitive species and their habitats. Prior to joining the Chicago Botanic Garden, I spent seven years in environmental consulting where my work included conducting terrestrial and aquatic habitat assessments, aquatic baseline and impact studies, habitat mapping and modeling, and threatened and endangered species surveys. 

Michele Clark

Ph.D. Student


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I graduated with my M.S. degree in Ecosystem Science and Management from Texas A & M University in December 2014. My research focused on the effects of grazing management and the seasonality of prescribed fire on invasive grass growth and establishment. I also contributed to an international research project that evaluated the influence of prescribed fire and grazing on the abundance of a native encroaching shrub species in the Limpopo province of South Africa. I hope to continue developing research questions that assess the efficacy of management techniques on controlling invasive species and forecast the effects of plant invasions on community diversity and productivity. My other research interests include social-ecological resilience to disturbance or invasion, threats to biodiversity (regional and global), land manager perceptions of invasive species, and ecological restoration.


Megan Wheeler

Ph.D. Student


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I graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2013 with a BS in Mathematical and Computational Biology and joined the Hall lab in 2015 to pursue my interests in urban systems and the links between social and ecological processes. In the meantime, I worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, where I worked with grassland restoration projects and explored the diversity of residential lawn plant communities with the Ecological Homogenization of Urban America project. My dissertation work will focus on how urban and urban-influenced landscapes are changing over time, with a particular focus on residential plant communities. I am currently repeating a paired social and ecological survey of residential yard vegetation originally conducted in 2008 by a former Hall Lab student to measure how and why yards plant communities have changed over time (see more here: https://mmwheeler.github.io/phx_yard_change).


Kate Weiss

Ph.D. Student


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I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in December 2014 with a B.S. in Environmental Science & Policy: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology. I then worked as a computational research assistant at the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), contributing to a paper on forest restoration’s impact on water yields, participating in a working group on endangered species prioritization, and acting as editorial assistant for Foundations of Restoration Ecology, second edition.

I joined the Hall lab in 2017 to pursue my interests in understanding urbanization’s impact on mammalian community ecology. Specifically, I am interested in how mammalian functional diversity, community structure, and population dynamics change with urbanization. My other interests include resilience and disturbance ecology, endangered species policy, and informal science education. 

Jeffrey Haight

Ph.D. Student


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After finishing up my M.S. degree in Ecology at Utah State University, I will be joining the Hall Lab as a PhD student in Fall 2018. Originally from El Sobrante, California, I graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Science & Management from University of California, Davis. My broad interests are in studying where and how best to conserve and restore biologically-diverse ecosystems in landscapes that been experiencing high levels of anthropogenic change, with particular focuses on urbanization and climate change.

As a fellow in the USU Climate Adaptation Science program, my thesis work focuses on mapping climate change exposure and landscape connectivity across various ecoregions of the US Intermountain West, with a focus on prioritizing protected area conservation for the resilience of regional biodiversity. For my dissertation work, I plan to investigate how the structure of urban landscapes broadly shapes how wildlife communities utilize city spaces and how landscape-driven behaviors affect the interactions between wildlife and urban residents. In this research, I aim to collaborate with wildlife managers and landscape planners in order to produce information with direct application toward the conservation and management in a rapidly changing world. Website: jeffreyhaight.weebly.com



Kinley Ragan

Master’s Student


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I will graduate with my B.S. in Conservation Biology & Ecology in May 2019 and my Advanced M.S. Biology degree in 2020. My research focuses on community ecology, wildlife corridor creation, and human-wildlife interactions in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. I use networks of camera traps to assess mammalian diversity and presence over variable landscapes.

During the summer of 2018, I will be embarking on a twelve-week, six-country, global analysis of human-wildlife conflict management at the borders of six National Parks. In my free time I work at the Phoenix Zoo as a Field Conservation Research Assistant with the goal of being in nature as much as possible! 

Anna He

High School Senior

Senior Project Blog

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I am a current high school senior at BASIS Chandler interested in environmental science. As part of my school’s Senior Research Project, I joined the Hall Lab in Spring 2018 to work on projects studying the urban ecology of residential yards! Gaining experience in both lab work and fieldwork during my internship has only reaffirmed my love of nature. I will be an environmental science major this fall in college, and I am beyond excited to continue exploring the intersection of science, policy, and society! My goal is to ultimately wield knowledge of both the natural sciences and the social sciences to advocate for a healthy environment for all.

John Talarico

Undergraduate Student


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My research interests vary within the field of ecology. I would like to gain as much knowledge as possible, whether it be with animals or plants. Animal behavior has always interested me and is something I would like to explore more of in the future. I do plan on furthering my education through graduate school and conducting my own research. As a volunteer in the Hall lab, I’m open to doing just about anything, such as field work or tasks in the lab. I hope to continue even past the summer. I’m glad to be part of the lab.

Dena Bergman

Undergraduate Student


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I will be graduating with a B.S. in Conservation Biology and Ecology in December of 2018 and hope to pursue an advanced degree in a plant-related field in 2019. I’m interested in the intersection of humans and nature, plant conservation, and larger ecological systems. You can often find me stopped on the sidewalk observing neighborhood flora, riding my bike while distractedly looking at vegetation or hiking in Arizona’s abundantly beautiful public lands.I cherish every day that I get to spend working with the Hall Lab’s research team and look forward to a summer of learning, and did I mention plants?

Former Hall Lab Members

Not Pictured Vytas Pabedinskas, PhD student in Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science at the University of Arizona