SEPL People

Principal Investigator

 Jenny McGuire

Jenny became an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech in August 2017. She uses both modern and paleontological specimens to identify how populations, species, and communities have responded to past climate change. Her goal is to identify strategies to conserve as much biodiversity as possible given rapidly shifting climates. She received her PhD from the Dept. of Integrative Biology at UC-Berkeley, and did postdoctoral research at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and at the University of Washington.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Yue Wang

Yue joined the lab in September 2017 to work on an NSF funded project that examines the idea of climate resilience on the landscape. Yue has expertise in fossil pollen data and quantitative community analyses. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin- Madison.


Rachel Short

Rachel is an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow. She is co-hosted at Texas A&M University where she recently received her PhD. Rachel is interested in how ecological and evolutionary processes drive community assemblage patterns and what we can learn from traits in the fossil record to inform modern conservation and management. She is also interested in informal STEM education as a tool for increasing public understanding of science.

Graduate Students

Ben Shipley

Ben began working in SEPL in Fall 2018. He is interested in the geographical and historical mechanisms behind species distributions and how "hotspots" of small-ranged species can be identified for conservation. Ben graduated with honors from CU-Boulder in 2018 with a dual major in Geography and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. While there he worked in the McCain Mountain Lab studying the effects of forest fragmentation on biodiversity. You can contact him at


Daniel Lauer

Daniel joined SEPL officially in the Summer of 2019. His dissertation focuses on the dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystem stability in African mammal communities across space and time. He received his B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2017. In his free time, he enjoys singing, playing sports, and hiking.


Julia Schap

Julia joined SEPL in the fall of 2019. She received her B.S. in Integrative Biology from the University of Florida in 2016 and her M.S. in Geosciences from East Tennessee State University in 2019. She has previously studied small mammal community responses to past warming periods, as well as their ability to estimate paleoclimatic conditions. She is interested in expanding the understanding of how small mammal communities have responded to past aridity events in order to better understand how modern and future communities will respond in the face of increasing aridity. You can reach her at


 [Your name here]

SEPL is looking for excellent PhD students. If you are interested in becoming a part of this growing group, please look through our "Opportunities" page and contact Jenny.

Undergraduate Researchers


Lily Turner

Lily is a second-year lab member who joined in the Spring of 2020 as a Fast-Track-to-Research scholar. As a biology major at Georgia Tech, she loves the life sciences, particularly ornithology and arachnology. She works on the lab’s Natural Trap Cave project, identifying fossils and more. She hopes to continue research in conservation biology in the future.


Megan Wright

Megan is a third-year biology major and started in the lab in Fall 2020. She is interested in ecology, behavioral biology, and conservation biology and is looking forward to doing work in the SEPL lab. She hopes to make use of this experience in future positions related to the biological sciences. In her free time, she loves to do archery, hike, and travel.

Amna Amir

Amna is a third year undergraduate student majoring in biology. She began working in the SEPL lab in Spring 2020 to explore her interest in fossil morphology, and is excited to work on further projects in the lab. In her free time, Amna enjoys painting, reading, and spending time outdoors.


Audrey Dods

Audrey began volunteering in the lab in October 2018. She hopes to pursue a career in scientific journalism and is majoring in Biological Sciences and Literature, Media, & Communications. The experience of working with SEPL has allowed her to learn a great deal about ecology and research methodology, as well as the communication that is essential to present new findings to the academic community and the public. In her free time, Audrey loves observing/chasing/being chased by all kinds of animals, and she is a big fan of SEPL’s Fossil Fridays!

Anna Whitford

Anna began volunteering in with the lab in Fall 2019 at Fossil Fridays and started working in the lab in Fall 2020. She is a 2nd year majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She is interested in maps, modeling, and species responses to climate change. In her free time, Anna enjoys visiting museums, drawing, and hunting for fossils. She looks forward to doing further research in the lab!



Sir Linksalot


Link was born in Fall 2017. He enjoys playing soccer with his humans, hosting people parties (where everyone feeds him treats), chasing squirrels, and visiting his grandma and uncle (Barney the dog). He really dislikes it when Jenny is working on her laptop rather than petting him. He also quite dislikes bicycles and especially motorcycles. Link is a good boy (most of the time).


Sashi & Pele

Sashi (left) and Pele (right) are rescue cats from Seattle. Pele was born in 2012, and she gave birth to Sashi about a year later. Pele really enjoys being petted and scratched. She gets jealous if the dog is getting too much attention. She also enjoys playing with toys on occasion and especially sleeping. Sashi likes to hide in closets and sleep. She appreciates being groomed by her mom (that is, Pele... not Jenny), but otherwise would prefer to be left alone. They are good kitties.

Rachel's pups!

Koda & Mya

Koda (left) and Mya (right) are good girls who live with their humans in South Dakota. Koda was born in Tennessee in 2013 and Mya was born in Nebraska in 2019. Koda likes to chase tennis balls, bark at delivery trucks, and go on long walks. She dislikes rainy days and being left at home while her people work. Mya likes whatever Koda likes and insists on not missing out unless there is a squirrel and then Mya both likes and dislikes the squirrel.


Pippa was adopted by Julia in the winter of 2018 in Florida. She enjoys spending the day looking out of windows or sleeping in one of her cat trees. She thinks every hour of the day is feeding time and gets upset when you do not agree. Pippa acts like a dog by constantly following Julia around the apartment and greeting her at the door when she comes home. She loves attention more than anything, especially head and chin scratches as well as belly rubs. However, she is big into stranger danger and will hide when anyone knocks on the door or any new guests come to visit.

Former SEPL People:

Postdoctoral Scholars:

Silvia Pineda Munoz (now at the University of Indiana)

Lab technicians:

Aaron Woodruff (now at Florida Museum of Natural History)

Rukumani (Ruku) Rimal (GIS Analyst)

Undergraduate students:

Angelica Chukwudebe (Brown U)

Manu Regalado (CoE)

Riannon Colton (EAS)

Daniel Do & Renee Bach (CoC)

Jadyn Sethna, Kathryn McCarthy, Joe Miles, Amanda Meadows, Molly Guthrie, Victoria Contreras, Morgan Ganues, Tong Yu, Alissa Schlossberg (SoBS)

Matthew Torres & Simone Siriani (Georgia State)

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