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Left to Right: Serina, Xena, Jenna, and Mike at Bosque del Apache. Spring 2017

Left to Right: Serina, Mike, Xena, Ethan, and Jenna at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. Spring 2019


Left to Right: Jenna, Nick, Colin, Mike, Ethan, and David at the Museum of Southwestern Biology. Fall 2021

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Michael J Andersen, Principal Investigator

PhD, University of Kansas, 2013

BS, Cornell University, 2004

Fernando Machado-Stredel, Postdoc

PhD, University of Kansas, 2023

Licentiate in Biology with minor in Ecology, Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2015

Fernando received his Licentiate in Biology with a minor in Ecology at Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2015. He received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Kansas in 2023. During his doctoral studies, he investigated evolutionary and ecological factors that have shaped the social and mating systems of a Neotropical avian clade, the caciques and oropendolas (Cacicinae, Icteridae) using phylogenetics, population genetics, and ecological modeling. At the University of New Mexico, he is conducting research on the Todiramphus kingfisher radiation, testing several hypotheses of their ecological niches.


Fernando is a biogeographer and evolutionary biologist focused on understanding the factors that shape and drive geographic distributions at different spatiotemporal scales while integrating information from museum-based research, phylogenetics, population biology, ecological niche modeling, and behavior. He is invested in developing and teaching methods in statistics, geospatial analysis, modeling, and simulations.


Jenna McCullough, Doctoral candidate

PhD, University of New Mexico, expected 2024

MSc, University of New Mexico, 2018

BS, University of Idaho, 2015

BS wildlife Resources, University of Idaho 2015


Jenna graduated from the University of Idaho with dual majors in Biology and Wildlife Resources in 2015. She has studied breeding biology of Northern Saw-whet Owl in central Oregon and birds in the Colombian Andes. For her Master's thesis, she investigated the systematics, biogeography, and macroevolutionary dynamics of Coraciiformes, a pantropical avian order that includes kingfishers, bee-eaters, motmots, and allies.


Her research interests combine natural history collections, next-generation genomic techniques, computational approaches, and historical biogeography in a phylogenetic framework. For her PhD, she is investigating a rapidly radiating genus of kingfishers, Todiramphus.

Jenna began a PhD degree at UNM in August 2018. 


  Ethan Gyllenhaal, Doctoral candidate

   PhD, University of New Mexico, expected 2024

   BS, University of Rochester, 2017


Ethan graduated from the University of Rochester in 2017 with a major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a minor in Computer Science. His interest in ornithology stems from his long-time hobby of birding. However, his involvement with collections-based research was fostered by his time at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, where he sporadically acted as an intern or volunteer from 2012 to 2018. He also spent a summer conducting field research on Kirtland’s Warblers in Michigan and was a member of the Rabeling lab at the University of Rochester, where he studied fungus-gardening ants.

Ethan’s research interests are broadly based in avian evolution, but his primary interest is speciation in island systems, especially those in the Pacific. He also has a soft spot for systematically challenging groups in North America, especially the Iceland Gull complex.

Ethan began a PhD at UNM in August 2018.


  David Tan, Doctoral candidate

   PhD, University of New Mexico, expected 2025

   BS, National University of Singapore 2015

David graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2015 with a major in Life Sciences and a specialisation in Environmental Biology. He has studied the population and landscape genomics of the Striped Tit-Babbler in Singapore, as well as the phylogenetics of the endemic land crabs of Christmas Island. David has also spent six years building a modest collection of salvaged bird carcasses from across Singapore in conjunction with the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum. 


David’s research interests encompass a broad array of topics related to avian evolution and ecology, with a specific focus on population genomics, phylogeography, and demographic histories of Southeast Asian birds. He is also interested in using high-throughput sequencing techniques to explore the ecological interactions between birds and other taxa. 

David began his PhD at UNM in August 2019. 


  Nick Vinciguerra, Doctoral candidate

   PhD, University of New Mexico, expected 2025

   MSc, San Diego State University, 2020

   BA, University of Colorado-Boulder, 2012

Nick received his Bachelor of Arts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with honors from the University of Colorado Boulder. He has worked at the San Diego Natural History Museum, preparing museum specimens and collecting birds for the Grinnell Resurvey Project throughout southern California and Baja California Sur. For his Master's thesis, Nick studied trait evolution and diversification in tanagers (Thraupidae), the largest family of oscines distributed across most of Central and South America and several island systems. Nick's research interests combine molecular tools with natural history collections to study avian systematics, biogeography, and diversification.

Nick began his PhD at UNM in August 2020. 

Andersen Lab Alumni


  Xena M Mapel

   MSc, University of New Mexico, 2020

   BS, University of New Mexico, 2018

Xena graduated from UNM with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology with summa cum laude honors. For her senior thesis, she studied the diversification of the Wattled Honeyeater, Foulehaio, which is widespread across Central Polynesia. For her master's thesis, Xena investigated the evolution and ecology of avian haemosporidians across South Pacific archipelagos. She is now studying cattle genomics for her PhD at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. 


  Serina Brady

   MSc in Biology and Museum Studies, University of New Mexico, 2019

   BS, Cornell University, 2012

Serina graduated from Cornell University in 2012 with a major in Animal Science and a concentration in Biology. She began field work as an undergraduate working for the Golondrinas de las America’s project. After graduating, Serina pursued field work that spanned the globe and its avian species, including understorey forest birds in Panama and white-eyes in the Northern Mariana Islands. Since 2012, she has worked as a research assistant for numerous universities, NGOs, USGS, and USFWS.

Serina’s current research interests are in island biogeography and the role islands play in evolution and speciation. In particular, she is interested in avian diversification in Pacific island systems, both in terms of morphological and behavioral traits and how phylogenies of island birds can help us interpret their colonization history.

Serina is currently the Collection Manager of Birds at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. 

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Colin Peña

BS, University of New Mexico (expected Spring 2022)

Colin graduated from UNM in 2022 with a BA in Biology. He is interested in ornithology and mammalogy and plans on continuing research in those fields after graduation. Colin has worked field jobs in New Mexico and Montana focusing on nesting bird surveys and territory mapping, as well as sporadically volunteering at the Museum of Southwestern Biology preparing specimens. In the Andersen Lab, Colin collated and cleaned occurrence data of Todiramphus kingfishers from eBird and museums specimens to be used in downstream analyses of ecological niches.

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  Tina Guo

   BS, University of New Mexico, 2020

Tina graduated from UNM in 2020 with a BS in Biology magma cum laude and a minor in Environmental Science. During her undergrad, she was a part of the Andersen Lab’s REU course in the Solomon Islands and assisted with field and lab work. Tina is now in Salt Lake City working in biotechnology with her sights set on graduate school studying disease ecology in the future. 

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  Bethlehem Mesfin Hailu

   BS & BA, University of New Mexico, 2020

Betty graduated from UNM December 2019 with a BS in biology and BA in psychology. During her undergrad, she was part of the Andersen lab as a research assistant assisting with lab work (DNA extractions, PCR, gel electrophoresis, etc). She is now in California preparing to get a Masters in public health with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics.

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