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Tara M. Smiley 
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Ecology & Evolution
640 Life Sciences
Stony Brook University

Tara is an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolution Department at Stony Brook University. She is also affiliated with the Turkana Basin Institute. With a background in biology and geology, Tara is interested in integrating environmental change with biological pattern and process today and through deep time, focusing primarily on mammalian faunas.

Tara holds a BS from the University of Washington, where she got her start in paleobiology and gained a love for field and museum-based research. She was an Environmental Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar and Tanzania from 2008-2010 and finished her PhD in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the Museum of Paleontology at the University of Michigan in 2016. Following her PhD, Tara was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University and the Stable Isotope Ecology Fellow at the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University.


You can view my full CV hereHere are links to my Google Scholar profile, 

ResearchGate profile, and GitHub account.

Graduate Students

Imogene "Immy" Welles

Ph.D. student, E&E

Immy joined the Smiley Lab team in Fall 2020. She holds a BS in Biological Sciences and a BA in Art History from Union College. Her interest in small mammal isotope ecology began as an undergraduate when she studied the composition of black-legged tick blood meal to identify the prior host in the southern Adirondacks. She is most interested in integrative small mammal isotope ecology, including aspects of trophic dynamics, species diversity, and biogeography. Imogene has also researched the application of Raman spectroscopy to art conservation and continues her independent scholarship in art history.

Email: imogene.welles[at]


Megan Wyatt

Ph.D. student, E&E

Megan joined the Smiley Lab team in Fall 2020, bringing with her an interest and background in small mammal paleoecology. She has a BS in Biology and a BS in Earth Sciences from the University of Oregon where Megan was introduced to small mammal paleontology and studied the Oligocene and Miocene fossil assemblages in and near the John Day Fossil Beds. Megan is interested in small mammal community ecology in tectonically active regions. More specifically, she is interested in how small mammal diets, body sizes, and locomotor modes change as a result of basin and range extension, temperature changes, and vegetation turnover. 

Email: megan.wyatt[at] 


Lab Technician


Katey Evans

Lab Technician, SIRF Indiana University

Katey Evans graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Geologic Sciences. Since graduating she has been working with Tara Smiley and Peter Sauer as a lab technician at the Stable Isotope Research Facility (SIRF) at Indiana University, helping to prepare and run samples for an array of isotope-related research projects for IU's Environmental Resilience Institute. Simultaneously to lab work, Katey is pursuing a dual master’s degree from IU's Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. One of the masters she is pursuing is an MS in Environmental Science with a focus on Ecology and Conservation while the other is an MPA with a focus on Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management. Her research interest lies at the intersection of science, policy, and society.

Past undergraduate and graduate student researchers


I've worked with many excellent graduate and undergraduate researchers over the years. Working with students in the field, lab, and museums is one of my most favorite parts of doing science!

Indiana University (2018-2020): Danielle Peltier, Anne Kort (PhD students); Isabel Krahling, Stephanie Evans, Lizzie Hicks, Max Scott

Oregon State University (2016-2018): Juniper Grimes, Morah West

University of Michigan (2010-2016): Molly Moroz, Laura McQuarter, Caleb Fogel, Leah Gillett, Gisela Alvarez, Dacotah Wolf Necklace, Matthew Hillyer, Gregory Hanafin, Anna Heyblom

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