Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Sunshine A. Van Bael

Assistant Professor - Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Contact Info


  • B.A., University of Chicago, Biology, 1996
  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Animal Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 2003

Academic Experience

  • Associate Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 2009
  • Adjunct Faculty, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, 2010
  • Assistant Professor, Tulane University, 2012-

Research & Teaching Specializations: Community ecology; vertebrate ecology; microbial ecology; plant-animal-fungal interactions; multi-trophic interactions; tropical agriculture; biodiversity

Related Experience

  • Professor, Field Courses, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, 2004-2012


  • National Science Foundation, “Research Experience for Undergraduates Supplement” S. Van Bael, 2012
  • Arizona State University – Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Collaborative Research “Drivers of Microbial Community Structure and Function in Tropical Soils” F. Garcia-Pichel, E.Herre, B. Turner, S. Van Bael, 2011
  • Smithsonian Restricted Endowment Program, “Mechanisms of fungal-mediated protection in tropical plants” S. Van Bael, C. Estrada, W. Wcislo, 2011
  • National Science Foundation (NSF), “Conflicts among members of interacting symbioses: How do symbiotic fungi influence plant defense against leaf-cutting ants?” S. Van Bael, W. Wcislo, S. Rehner, 2010
  • Panama’s Secretary of Science and Technology, “National Investigator,” S. Van Bael, 2010


  • Spanish

Selected Publications

  • 2011. Van Bael, S. A., C. Estrada, W. Wcislo. Fungal-fungal interactions in leaf-cutting ant agriculture. Psyche doi:10.1155/2011/617478.
  • 2011. Schroth, G., D. Faria, M. Araujo, L. Bede, S. A. Van Bael, C. R. Cassano, L. C. Oliveira, J. H.C. Delabie. Conservation in tropical landscape mosaics: the case of the cacao landscape of southern Bahia, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation 20(8): 1635-1654.
  • 2011. Urriola, J., A. Bethancourt, S. A. Van Bael. Limited persistence of endophytic fungi in leaf-cutting ant gardens. Neotropical Biology & Conservation 6(1): 1-4.
  • 2011. Onoda, Y., M. Westoby …S. A. Van Bael … et al. Global patterns of leaf mechanical properties. Ecology Letters 14: 301-312.
  • 2011. Connahs, H., A. Aiello, S. A. Van Bael, G. Rodríguez-Caste?ada. Caterpillar abundance and parasitism in a seasonally dry versus wet tropical forest of Panama. Journal of Tropical Ecology 27:51-58.

Recently-Taught Latin American-Related Courses: EBIO-6110: Tropical Ecology

Number of Dissertations or Theses Supervised in Last 5 Years: 2

For more information about Sunshine A. Van Bael click here.