Hi, I’m Matt Aiello-Lammens
I’m an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies and Science Department at Pace University. From 2007 to 2015 I trained as ecologist as a postdoc in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut with John Silander (and many others) and as Ph.D. student with H. Resit Akcakaya in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University. My research spans several sub-disciplines of ecology, including population biology, community ecology, and quantitative ecology, and also spans taxa. I’ve published on birds, herps, inverts, and plants. But it’s plants I’m most interested in, particularly the plants in the forests of northeastern North America. The common thread in my research pursuits is the application of new quantitative methods to address questions in both basic and applied ecology.
I’m also dedicated to teaching ecology and quantitative methods to learners at all levels. I have a few years of experience teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level at this point, but I learned and developed the teaching methods I employ by working along side instructors with more experience as a grad student, and volunteering my time teaching with the Software Carpentry Foundation. I’m constantly on the look out for ways to improve my teaching, with the goal of helping everyone understand the important topics of ecology and environmental science.
When not teaching or doing research, I like to spend time outside hiking, climbing, running, biking, etc., preferably with family and friends.
Why ‘Ecologist at Work’
Because so many of my field projects are based in the densely populated northeastern states, many of my research sites are close to roads, parking lots, hiking trails, etc.. However, often the plots or transects are off into the woods a bit. So, while someone is out enjoying a walk in the woods or a jog through the park, they may stumble upon a scene in which a relatively dirty looking man is thrashing around the bushes, just off the trail, with a long stick (a measuring pole) or a saw (to take samples). Or perhaps they may see a man quietly crouched behind a tree (measuring the basal diameter of a plant). In any case, the hiker usually appears pretty sketched out. As a grad student I had the thought that I needed a folding sign that said ‘Ecologist At Work’ to put out in the middle of the trail, something to let hikers know that there may be someone just off in the woods cursing about falling into a black berry bush, again. Initially this was a bit of a joke, but during one of my field days, I looked up from my measurements just in time to see a young jogger come around a corner, see me, and promptly turn and run back the way she had come. I thought, “I really need that sign”. So I enlisted the help of my awesomely talented sister-in-law, Andrea Sorrentino, and she put together the design above. So if you see such a sign, just say hi to the ecologist off in the woods.