Principal Investigator


Amanda Chunco completed a BS in Zoology from the University of Florida, a PhD in Biology from UNC, and a SPIRE postdoctoral fellowship in Geography at UNC. She has been at Elon since 2012. Professionally, she is interested in ecology, conservation, and especially biogeography. Personally, she loves gardening (although most of her plants die), hiking, and spending time outdoors with her family. Her email address is achunco at elon dot edu.

Current Research Students

Abby Cates is working on a review of hybrid zones that form between native and invasive species. She has also participated in field work on the hispid cotton rat. Her email address is acates3 at elon dot edu.

Former Research Students

Emma completed a mark-recapture project on hispid cotton rats living in an old growth successional field. She is currently working a seasonal position at Haw River State Park as an Environmental Education Instructor which ends in December 2021. At Haw River State Park, she facilitates outdoor environmental learning to children and adults, ages ranging from 2nd grade to senior citizens.

Sarah Hope Dolce completed an Honors thesis on hybrid zone dynamics. She graduated in 2020 and is currently working as a Federal Biological Analyst in Virginia.

Sarah Midolo studied biogeographic patterns in amphibian species in the southwestern United States. She graduated in 2019 and is currently working for USGS. Her email address is smidolo at elon dot edu.

Hanna Harper studied biogeographic patterns in species invasions. She graduated in 2019 and is currently working as a GIS specialist for EMPSi, an environmental consulting firm in Boulder, CO. Her email address is hharper4 at elon dot edu.

Julia Needham completed an Honors thesis on biogeographic patterns in hybridization between native and invasive species. She graduated in 2018 and is currently pursing a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture at NC State University.

Emma Nault completed a College Fellows project on an isolated population of toads. She graduated in 2017 and new works at FareHarbor.

Cas Levy completed an Honors thesis on the distribution and ecology of dung beetles intentionally introduced to Australia using Maxent and GIS. She graduated from Elon in 2017 and then compleged a MS in Geoinformation Technology and Cartography from the University of Glasgow. She currently works at a renewable energy company in Chicago. Her email address is

Jenny Archis completed an Honors thesis on the distribution of coral snakes and their predicted response to climate change using Maxent. She graduated in 2016, and is currently teaching Chemistry and Environmental Science at Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, IL.

Susie Masecar completed a College Fellows project on small mammal diversity in agricultural settings. She graduated from Elon in 2015 and then completed her DVM from North Carolina State University in 2019. She is currently working as an exotic animal veterinarian.

Amazing Collaborators 

Patricia Thomas-Laemont is a professor in Environmental Studies at Elon University. She studies small mammal ecology and old-field succession.

Amber Rice is an Associate Professor of Biology at Lehigh Univeristy.

Cris Ledón-Rettig is Research Scientist at Indiana University.

Interested in joining the lab?

I am excited to advise students with interests in ecology, conservation, and biogeography. GIS skills are a plus, but a willingness to learn is even more critical than what you already know. If you are interested, send me an email (achunco at elon dot edu) or stop by my office hours in the garden level (i.e., basement) of McMichael Hall.