Sharon J. Hall

Professor, School of Life Sciences

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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 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 to get more experience in education, and then completed a Ph.D. in Ecosystem Science at UC Berkeley. After a brief post-doc, 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.
Zac Synder

Conservation Biology & Ecology B.S. Student

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I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Conservation Biology with a minor in sustainability and a certificate in wildlife management. My interests cover a wide range of taxonomic groups but my main career goal is to contribute to our understanding of how urbanization and other human development projects affect wildlife. Growing up in the Phoenix metropolitan area, I’ve witnessed a surprising amount and variety of wildlife within urban areas. I’m driven by this urban wildlife and would love to perform applied research in order to reduce human-wildlife conflict within cities. I’m also interested in issues of equity when it comes to experiencing nature and wildlife. Everybody deserves a voice in the field of conservation and making decisions in the future of our urban areas requires input from all those that would be impacted.


Alexandreana Cocroft

M.S. Student

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I graduated in 2017 from the University of Nevada, Reno with a B.S in Biology. After graduating I explored my love for biology and wildlife by completing an AmeriCorps term teaching underserved youth environmental science lessons. I also spent time as a biology instructor at my local community colleges, further developing a passion for biology and teaching. I will now be pursuing my M.S. in Biology in the hall lab. I am interested in understanding urbanization and the effect this has on wildlife. I am also interested in an interdisciplinary approach that investigates how socio-economic status influences human opinions of wildlife, wildlife interactions in urban areas, as well as population changes to wildlife. I want my research to inform future urbanization  practices, as well as bridge the gap between ecological and human issues.

Briana Thomas

Conservation Biology & Ecology B.S. Student

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My name is Briana Thomas and I am studying Conservation Biology & Ecology. I’m from Philadelphia, PA, which is where my love for animals bloomed. In 2009, I began volunteering at my local SPCA, where I formed a mentorship with the organization’s animal behaviorist. I learned about positive reinforcement training and worked with dogs to modify their behaviors for a better chance at adoption. Eventually, I branched out and continued to volunteer at major organizations such as the Philadelphia Zoo, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and Orange County Zoo

Now, I reside in California and spend my weekends volunteering at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, where I care for rescued pinnipeds (i.e California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals) and assist with the veterinary team with necropsies.

I have a keen interest in improving the welfare of animals; specifically through rescue and rehabilitation or educating people about wildlife and the ways they can contribute to the conservation movement.

I chose to become a WAESO Research Fellow at the Hall Lab because I want to cultivate my curiosity about the effects of human activity on wildlife and ecosystems. As someone who has been in the forefront of animal care, I’d like to examine the issue on a larger scale.

Jeff A. Brown

Post-doctoral scholar

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My name is Jeffrey Brown and I am currently a Post-Doctoral Research Associate working with CAP LTER (Central Arizona Phoenix Long Term Ecological Research Program). As a post-doc I am working alongside Sharon Hall, Kelli Larson, Heather Bateman, Susannah Lerhman, and Paige Warren to investigate how parks and green spaces influence urban wildlife as well as peoples’ perceptions of urban wildlife.

Broadly speaking, I consider myself an urban ecologist and conservation biology. The goal of my research is to promote biodiversity within urban landscapes through greater understanding of how species are distributed developed areas and how urbanization shapes wildlife communities. My work has investigated how the surrounding landscape and size of protected forests impacts bird communities within forests as well as how the communities in a protected area change as the landscape around them changes. I am also interested in understanding how factors such as supplemental food sources and light pollution shape avian and arthropod communities. Through my research, I hope to highlight how biodiversity is influenced by developing landscapes and the different ways biodiversity may present itself to people visiting the landscapes.

In addition to my research, I am passionate about both teaching and the promotion of diversity within the STEM fields. I believe that the first step in increasing diversity with STEM fields starts with increasing engagement. My goal is to teach and develop lessons that reach a wide variety of backgrounds and that allow students to contribute their own experiences to the design of the course. Once students realize the potential opportunities STEM fields present, I make it a priority to connect interested students with research experiences working with myself or other collaborators.

Visit my website here.


Gabriela Goncalves

Conservation Biology & Ecology B.S. Student

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My name is Gabriela Goncalves and I am currently pursuing a B.S. in Conservation Biology and Ecology. I was born in Brazil, where my passion and curiosity for the ocean formed. In the Fall of 2019, I participated in a study abroad program with the School for Field Studies, were we gathered and interpreted data in the field of Marine Biology. The main research I participated in was determining the effects of Sargassum, a pelagic algae, on seagrass.

Although I moved to Arizona at a young age, I have only recently found another passion of hiking. When I am hiking around the valley, I see and hear a fair amount of wildlife. With the mountains being very close to neighborhoods and the city, I began to wonder if these animals pass through urbanized area and if so, how often. As a WAESO Research Fellow in Dr. Hall’s Lab, I will be able to explore these, along with other questions on how urbanization is affecting local wildlife populations.

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:

Juan Paredes-Sanchez

Conservation Biology & Ecology B.S. Student

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I am currently a third-year student pursuing a bachelors in Conservation Biology & Ecology. I was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia and moved to Tempe five and a half years ago during high school. I chose to study at ASU, as it gave me the best opportunity to pursue my love for the environment and nature. Some topics that I find interesting are resource conservation, more specifically water shortages in areas affected by climate change and the ecological impacts of this on a larger scale. I’m also interested in the education side of environmental science and hope to be able to teach young kids about climate change and our changing environment. I’m super excited to have the opportunity to be a WAESO Research fellow with Dr Hall this spring and hope to learn more about resource conservation in urban areas. Even more, I would like to look at the big picture, focusing on how to integrate ecologically aware infrastructure for future generations.

Former Hall Lab members

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