Current Lab Members

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Kate Ballantine is the founder and director of the Restoration Ecology Program. Her research uses restored ecosystems as an opportunity to learn about ecosystem processes and development. Ballantine and her students conduct basic and applied research to investigate how these restored wetlands develop and function, and what restoration methodologies may stimulate desirable (or undesirable!) ecosystem functions.

Julianne Busa

Program Coordinator

Julianne Busa oversees communications and outreach for the REP, contributes to research efforts, develops and manages student internship opportunities, and handles daily administrative details. She holds a PhD in Ecology; her interests lie at the intersection of human and natural systems, incorporating not only ecosystem resilience but also the human dimensions of restoration and conservation work. Julianne has published research on global biodiversity and forest conservation, as well as the corporatization of environmental movements and alternative food, and is particularly interested in socioeconomic issues, community structure, and the need for fair distribution and access to resources.

Todd Anderson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Todd Anderson is a postdoctoral researcher in the Restoration Ecology Program. His research focuses largely on understanding how soils develop and function over time following wetland restoration, with a particular interest in nitrogen cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. He is also investigating the use of biochar as a soil amendment during restoration to jump-start beneficial ecosystem functions that can take centuries to develop.

Brian Mayton

PhD Student

Brian's research topics include sensors, sensor networks, and the ways people interact with sensor data. He is currently developing and deploying a network of low-power sensor nodes at Tidmarsh, and investigating ways that this sensor network can be used to provide visitors (both physical and virtual) with rich sensory experiences driven by real-time and archived data from the site. Brian is a PhD student in the Responsive Environments group at the MIT Media Lab; Kate Ballantine sits on his doctoral committee.

Leszek Bledzki

Senior Research Associate

Leszek holds a PhD in Natural Sciences and M.S. in Environmental Sciences, both from the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland, and a Forestry Engineer (Forest Management) diploma from the School of Forestry at Goraj, Poland. Since 1995, he has worked at Mount Holyoke College as a Research Assistant, Research Associate, Visiting Assistant Professor, and Senior Research Associate in the Miller Worley Center for the Environment and the departments of Environmental Studies and Biological Sciences. His research interests range from ecology, limnology, biostatistics and modeling, through ecosystems functioning and restoration, global climate change, nitrogen and carbon cycling in temperate peatlands to taxonomy, ecology and biogeography of Rotifera, Cladocera and Copepoda. Dr. Bledzki is the author of over 90 peer-reviewed and popular-press articles and several books.

Nia Bartolucci

Student Research Assistant, Class of 2017

During her time with REP, Nia has collected baseline data on soil, vegetation, and water quality. She staffed the booth at the farmer’s market to inform community members of the ongoing restoration project along Project Stream and led site tours; Nia also taught during REP's summer program for high school girls, RESSP. Nia describes her experience with REP as transformative – it has inspired her to continue to pursue a career in environmental science. Nia feels that our world is facing many environmental problems and while it is important to become familiar with methods to fix or alleviate problems which negatively impact local ecosystems, it is even more meaningful and powerful to take part in a restoration project and by doing so to know that our actions can help restore the health of an ecosystem. Nia found it exciting to work in a professional setting and be able to learn from distinguished scientists. She is grateful to have been able to learn about and take part in such an informative restoration project, and for the experience and preparation REP has provided as she heads off to the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratories to attend the Semester in Environmental Science program. In Summer 2016, Nia received a Living Observatory Summer Fellowship.

Julia Criscione

Student Research Assistant, Class of 2018

Julia is an environmental studies major and will be working as an REP student research assistant for the Summer of 2016. Julia has also worked with MHC visiting lecturer of Environmental Studies, Jen Albertine, and the Stinson Lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, studying how allergenic grasses will be impacted by climate change and land management. Julia has experience with vegetation monitoring, vernal pools, and invasive plant species, and she is excited to begin working in restoration ecology. Julia is interested in learning how to carry out restoration projects in the face of invasive species, land development, and climate change.

Jovanna Robinson-Hidas

Student Research Assistant, Class of 2016

Jovanna is originally from Amherst, Massachusetts, and double majored in environmental studies and sociology. During summer 2014 she designed and led the Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program (RESSP) for high school girls in the area. The program was designed to introduce young women to restoration ecology and to give them an opportunity to work in a real lab, alongside other women in the sciences. Jovanna continues to work with the RESSP program, visiting local high schools to recruit promising young scholars for the program.

Ali Tucker

REP Intern, Class of 2016

Allison Tucker is joining the REP as a student researcher for the summer of 2016. In summer 2015, with support from the REP, Ali was able to intern with the Elwha River Restoration Project in Washington State. Ali spent her time monitoring vegetation from previous planting years, collecting seed from the Elwha watershed to be grown in the Matt Albright Native Plant Nursery, and tagging native fish of the Elwha and monitoring recently reintroduced fishers. Working on the largest dam removal endeavor in the world solidified her goal to find a career in restoration ecology. Ali spent fall of 2015 in Woods Hole as a student of the Semester in Environmental Science program at the Marine Biological Laboratories and has gained a wealth of knowledge in understanding the biogeochemical processes of the world around us. She is extremely excited that she can continue being part of the REP as an alumna and cannot wait to begin gathering data as part of the team!