Closeup of Jessica

Jessica Plein, M.S.

Pronouns: JP, she, her

Lab Manager
Alumni ’18, ’20

NOAA-CESSRST Program Coordinator
SDSU Research Foundation

San Diego

Office Hours

By Appointment

PS 241D, LSN 236
5500 Campanile Dr
San Diego, CA 92182
Mail Code

Areas of Research

Animal Behavior, Herbivory, Predator-Prey Relationships, Arctic Ecology, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions


My background in research began as a lab member of the Global Change Research Group, comparing several years of data from the eddy covariance research towers in Alaska during my undergraduate degree in Zoology. This sparked an increased interest in climate change and the Arctic tundra ecosystem, inspiring me to further explore those areas of research in combination with my passion for studying wildlife and animal behavior.

For my Ecology graduate research, I continued studying carbon fluxes with a major added animal component– lemmings! My main research focuses on the effects of lemming grazing on Arctic tundra productivity, lemming response to predator cues, and vegetation recovery.

Currently, I oversee the lab operations from project coordinating to logistical support for field work. As lab manager, I now support several student projects and help with both the financial and research requirements of the grants.


  1. M.S. Biology, Concentration in Ecology
    San Diego State University
  2. B.S. Biology, Emphasis in Zoology
    Minor: Psychology
    San Diego State University
  1. Plein, J., Clark, R. W., Arndt, K. A., Oechel, W. C., Stow, D., and Zona, D.: Response of vegetation and carbon fluxes to brown lemming herbivory in northern Alaska, Biogeosciences, 19, 2779–2794.
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Clinical Trials
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Awards & Honors
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Fun Facts
  1. I was recruited to the Zona Lab from Dr. Zona’s BIOL 215 Stats course back in 2016!
  2. Rhino horn is keratin, not medicine #savethechubbyunicorns
  3. Steve Irwin and Zoboomafoo inspired my passion for conservation