Ryan Dibala, Collaborating Scientist

Ryan is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri’s Center for Agroforestry investigating plant neighborhood effects on production and nutrient availability in silvopastoral systems. With financial assistance from the Borlaug Global Food Security Fellowship and logistical assistance from AEP, Ryan has worked with local ranchers to establish 4 acres of multi-strata silvopastoral systems on three farms . His work examines the neighborhood influences of nitrogen fixing and phosphorous aggregating fodder shrubs on the growth and survival of timber seedlings and grass dry matter yield. He is also assessing the growth and nutritional content of several species of popular planted improved grasses across a gradient of shade intensities in mixed species native tree plantations. The overall goal of this research is to help elucidate the impacts that perennial trees and fodder shrubs have on overall grass production and nutritive content in these systems.    

Jim Knight

James L. Knight, Research Associate

After a stint in the US Army Jim finished his undergraduate degree at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, before attending three years of graduate school at the Museum of Natural History, The University of Kansas, Lawrence. From there he went to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, where he worked for two years, and then on to the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia, where he worked for four years on snake and alligator ecology. He joined the staff of the South Carolina State Museum in 1987 and remained at that institution until his retirement in 2010, serving as Director of Collections and Chief Curator of Natural History. During his time at the SC State Museum his main research emphasis was in Vertebrate Paleontology, but after his retirement he “rediscovered his roots” and went back to the study of Herpetology. He has made six trips to Panama, five centered on the herpetofauna of Cocle Province, which has resulted in several coauthored short publications and one book. His last trip focused his attention on the herpetofauna of the Azuero Peninsula.