The Sheldon Lab is committed to supporting and fostering diversity and inclusion.
Google Scholar Profile
Nate started as an MS student in the lab in August 2022. His thesis research focuses on the effects of climate change on secondary seed dispersal in dung beetles. Before coming to UT, he spent six months as a Resident Naturalist and nine months as an Amazon Conservation Research Fellow in Madre de Dios, Peru, where he worked primarily on Amazonian butterfly and dung beetle ecology. He also spent two years in the Darien region of Panama as a sustainable agriculture volunteer with the Peace Corps, working with local coffee producers and home gardeners. He first came to the lab in May 2022 when he went with other members of the Sheldon Lab to Ecuador for three months to work on a project investigating the effects of climate change on dung beetle reproductive behavior. He completed his undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Florida.
Morgan is starting her PhD in Fall 2020. She recently received a 3-year Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to pursue her work. As an undergraduate, Morgan published on the natural history of herpetofauna and assisted with dung beetle physiological research. She has strong interests in physiological ecology and impacts of climate change.
Anchal joined the lab in August 2018. She completed her undergraduate degree at Princeton University. Anchal spent a semester at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, where she conducted senior thesis research on the influence of microenvironmental factors on the distribution of an insect vector of Chagas disease. After graduating, Anchal worked as a Princeton in Africa Fellow at the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya where she coordinated outreach and citizen science programs, helped manage the centre’s media and publications, and contributed to research on acacia ant community dynamics.
Past Team Members
NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow (Oct 2018-Oct 2020)
Postdoctoral Research Associate (Jan-Sept 2018)
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow (Oct 2018-2020)
Ethan B. Linck
Postdoctoral Researcher (Jun 2019 – Mar 2020)
Former Graduate Students
Dr. Maggie Mamantov
Maggie completed her PhD in 2022. Her research in the lab examined behavioral responses to climate warming in introduced and native dung beetles as well as the impact of climate change on the range shifts of montane species. Maggie is also passionate about sharing science with the public and fostering an interest in STEM, as demonstrated through her outreach. Maggie is now a Lecturer in the Biology program at the University of Tennessee.
Claire’s thesis focused on the factors driving variation in the gut microbiomes of two species of Phanaeus dung beetles. Claire received an NSF GRFP during her second year in the Sheldon Lab, and she successfully defended her Masters thesis in July 2020. She started her PhD in Fall 2020 at CU Boulder.
Previous Lab Techs
Matt worked in the lab from June-December 2017. He helped with beetle trapping in the Smokies, dung beetle breeding in the lab, and piloted a warming experiment in the field. He also first-authored an article on breeding biology of a rare Ecuadorian bird. Matt started a Masters program at Cal State Monterey Bay in 2019.
Sarah Jayne Brawner
Sarah joined the lab in August 2017 as an undergraduate and received a BS in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2018. She helped launch a new direction in the lab — gut microbiome research on dung beetles. She returned to the lab in November 2018 as a Lab Tech to help with a variety of ongoing and new projects. She started a PhD program at the University of Tennessee in Fall 2019.
Will was in the lab from May 2017-August 2019. In 2017, he collected data for a manuscript on breeding biology of a tropical bird and presented at the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement (EURēCA), the UT EEB undergraduate symposium, and UT Discovery Day. In 2018, Will received an undergraduate internship grant to carry out a summer project on behavioral responses of dung beetles to temperature change (Kirkpatrick & Sheldon 2022, Biology Letters). Will started a PhD program in the Durrant Lab at the University of Arkansas in Fall 2019 and was awarded an NSF GRFP for graduate study.
Jerame joined the lab in October 2019. He helped get the fall armyworm system off the ground. Jerame received a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research in Spring 2020 for an independent research project in the lab. He later went on to dental school!
Brianna joined the lab in September 2019. She helped with several research projects related to dung beetle thermal physiology.
Connor joined the lab in September 2019, the same month he started his BS in Microbiology at UT. He had previous research experience in both a medical entomology lab and an oceanographic institute in Florida. Connor received a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research in Spring 2020 for an independent research project in the lab.
Abby joined the lab in Spring 2019. She helped rear beetles for various lab projects. She received a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research in Spring 2020 for an independent research project in the lab.
Shelby was in the lab from January-June 2018. In addition to being in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Shelby was part of the Vols Teach Program, which emphasizes field based experiences and is aimed at training those interested in a career in secondary teaching. Shelby helped with several outreach efforts in the lab, and she was the Education Coordinator for our summer research program with high school students of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
David was a lab member from May 2017-May 2018. He helped with dung beetle breeding experiments and worked on a sodium addition experiment. He also co-authored a manuscript on the breeding biology of a bird species from Ecuador.
Atira was in the lab from September 2016-May 2017. She received her Associate of Science degree from Pellissippi State Technical Community College. She completed her B.S. in Biology at the University of Tennessee in 2016 with a concentration in Microbiology. Atira became particularly interested in ecology and evolutionary biology and took additional undergraduate courses to round out her education while working in the lab. She assisted with dung beetle research and worked on an independent project examining operative temperatures of beetles across seasons.
Anna received a grant from the Office of Undergraduate Research for an independent project examining dung beetles in urban versus rural environments in Knoxville.
Bella assisted with dung beetle brood ball collection and rearing of offspring in the lab.
Logan assisted with general animal husbandry and lab maintenance.
Kylie assisted with dung beetle brood ball collection and rearing of offspring in the lab.
Duncan assisted with general animal husbandry and lab maintenance.