Who we are


PI: Gareth Russell

Gareth Russell is an Associate Professor of Ecology in the Federated Department of Biological Sciences at NJIT. He started at NJIT in 2005 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences — a time before there even was a Department of Biological Sciences! From 2014 to 2020 he he served as Department Chair, overseeing the move of the Department from borrowed space at Rutgers University into the newly-renovated Central King Building at NJIT.

Gareth received his undergraduate education at Oxford University in the UK, and then moved to the University if Tennessee to pursue his PhD under the mentorship of Professor Stuart Pimm (currently Duke University and savingnature.com). After graduating he spent a few years as a post-doctoral researcher at various places including NCEAS, the University of Tennessee and Columbia University. At Columbia he moved to a Lecturer position for three years before crossing the Hudson River to join NJIT.

PhD Student: Grant Bowers

Grant is a new PhD student who is interested in community ecology, biogeography, and evolutionary history. Previous work has involved island biogeography of birds in the Chesapeake Bay. He is presently hunting for data to add to Dr. Russell’s records while exploring possible projects involving island biogeography and the community ecology of birds and mammals.


Most recent first!

Dr. Maggie Wisniewska (PhD May 2022)

Maggie Wisniewska was co-advised by Simon Garnier and Gareth Russell. Maggie is interested in how individuals in group-living species integrate complex information about their physical and social landscapes in making movement decisions. In her work, Maggie uses methods from animal behavior, statistical modeling and social network analysis to understand whether African elephants use spatially explicit memories to avoid anthropogenic stressors, and what implications such avoidance may have on the species’ ability to survive in the wild.

Xiang Lin (MS May 2019)

Xiang came to NJIT from China in 2017, and completed his MS in Biology in 2019 under the joint supervision of Gareth Russell and Claus Holzapfel from Rutgers Newark. His MS project was on models of plant community succession, and his interests in computing have led him to join the PhD program in computer science at NJIT, where he is supervised by Prof. Zhi Wei.

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