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Charlotte Chang (NIMBioS Postdoc)
Taylor Woods (PhD Student)

Xingli Giam

Assistant Professor

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

e: | tw: @xingli_giam |


My research program focuses on characterizing and mitigating anthropogenic impacts on the environment with a particular emphasis on tropical and freshwater ecosystems. Our group combines fieldwork with the development and application of theoretical, statistical, and meta-analytic modeling tools to conduct interdisciplinary, policy-relevant research across multiple spatial scales.


Current projects span multiple ecological and human systems, including climate change impacts in southern Appalachia, aquatic macroecology of the US and SE Asia, coal mining impacts on the environment and human livelihoods in Indonesia, land-cover/use change mapping in SE Asia, statistical issues relating to the measurement and interpretation of effect size in ecology, and diversity issues in academia.

Matthew Troia

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


My broad research interests seek to understand why species (particularly freshwater fishes) occur where they do. Collaborators and I integrate a variety of research approaches including field-based studies, geographic information systems, environmental niche modeling, and thermal physiology experiments to identify species that are vulnerable to anthropogenic environmental change and inform efforts to conserve of freshwater biodiversity.


My research in the Giam Lab seeks to characterize the vulnerability (exposure + sensitivity) of stream fishes to anthropogenic environmental change in southern Appalachia. A specific aim is to assess climate change exposure by developing statistical models to predict and map changes in thermal regimes. We are also assessing climate change sensitivity by characterizing thermal tolerance and acclimation potential for several minnows and darters that occupy a variety of thermal habitats in the southern Appalachian Mountains.

Charlotte Chang

NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow

National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis

e: | tw: @harpactes |


I am a big fan of chilies, birds, dogs, and grandmas. I enjoy competitive cooking shows, food tourism shows, and food in general. My research focuses on socioecological issues in tropical Asia. In the past, I have worked on agroforestry and opportunities for biodiversity conservation in working lands in India and China. In my dissertation, I examined the social dimensions and ecological outcomes associated with indiscriminate harvesting; I surveyed active hunters and adult men to determine what factors were associated with hunting, developed an R package (zapstRR) to facilitate analyses of indirect survey data, and used theoretical models to explore prey targeting by hunters and to examine size-biased extinction dynamics under open-access regimes. 


At NIMBioS, I will be expanding my research on wildlife exploitation in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. I will be working with Xingli and others to evaluate how hunting pressure can evolve under different conditions and its consequences for ecosystem function as well as how harvesters choose which patches of land to visit given that they are driven to the field by multiple activities (e.g. medicinal herbs and hunting).

Taylor Woods

PhD Student

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

e: |

tw: @woodsfreshwater |

Broadly, my research interests are in the responses of stream systems to global change. Topics I hope to explore during my dissertation research in Xingli's lab include (but aren't limited to): (1) the additive effects of rising stream temperatures, altered hydrology, and land-use change on stream fish distribution; (2) identifying potential biodiversity hotspots and refugia to inform stream conservation efforts; and (3) leveraging publicly available data to creatively incorporate biotic interactions into environmental niche models. Along this last topic, my MS thesis examined the utility of functional traits as biotic predictors of species distribution.


I enjoy hanging out with my sweet puppy, doing anything outside that involves a river or lake, and eating spicy foods and baked goods. I also enjoy graphic design and data visualization, and hope to use my skills in these areas to enhance scientific literacy and communication among broad audiences.

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Matthew Troia (Postdoc)


Join Us!

We are looking for enthusiastic, creative, motivated, and hardworking graduate students (MS and PhD) and undergraduate students to join us.

Our lab is inclusive, welcoming, and committed to advancing diversity; we welcome everyone regardless of their ethnicity, color, socioeconomic background, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and age. We especially encourage members of historically underrepresented groups including (but not limited to) people of color, women, veterans, and people from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities to inquire about  opportunities.

Visit our Join Us! page or contact me at to find out more.

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