Lab Members

The members of the DeSantis lab are involved in the study of ancient and modern ecosystems.  Research questions focus on clarifying mammalian paleoecology during the Cenozoic.  Although diverse interdisciplinary questions are asked, lab research typically involves addressing the following questions: 
  • How can ancient mammals improve our understanding of past environments and climates?
  • How has climate change affected mammalian communities and their environments?
  • How can modern ecosystems help interpret ancient environments?
  • How can the fossil record help contribute to our understanding of the effects of current climate change on our biota?
    Larisa R. G. DeSantis, B.S. (University of California, Berkeley), M.E.M. (Yale University), Ph.D. (University of Florida)
    Assistant Professor, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Vanderbilt University
    DeSantis and students at the Gray Fossil Site, TN.
    Larisa DeSantis’s interdisciplinary research program focuses on understanding ecological dynamics through time, at a variety of spatial scales.  She examines modern ecosystems to constrain environmental reconstructions of fossil localities, and uses the fossil record to inform ecologists and conservation biologists about faunal and flora responses to climate change.  The integration of the disparate fields of ecology, paleontology, and geochemistry can synergistically improve understandings of long-term ecological dynamics.  Specifically, her research goals include: 1) reconstructing ancient environments using modern ecological studies to help constrain paleoecological hypotheses; and, 2) understanding how mammalian communities and their floral environments have responded to climate change during the Cenozoic.
    Graduate Students
    Ryan Haupt, B.S. (University of California, Santa Cruz)
    Masters Student

    Lindsey Yann, M.S. (Louisiana State University)
    Ph.D. Student

    Undergraduate Students  
    Lucas Loffredo
    Undergraduate Volunteer