Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Cellular/Molecular/Microbiology/Ecology

Catalina Cuellar-Gempeler
(707) 826-3240
SciB 322

Catalina grew up in Colombia, in between Bogotá and a small coffee farm in Sasaima. Went to college at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, majoring in Biology and Microbiology, and worked for a few years in environmental education. Her research focuses on microbial assembly and function using bacteria associating with Pitcher plants and marine invertebrates as model systems. Research questions in Dr. Cuellar-Gempeler’s lab related to microbial metacommunity dynamics and ecosystem function

Specialty Area

Microbial community ecology - assembly and function


PhD 2016, The University of Texas at Austin

Courses Taught

Microbial Ecology
General Microbiology
Marine Microbiology


Interactions between microbial communities and their hosts. In my lab, we focus on research questions related to microbial metacommunity dynamics, ecosystem function and eco-evolutionary dynamics.

View Catalina's research page


  • Munoz-Ucros, J., M. Zwetsloot, C. Cuellar-Gempeler and T. Bauerle. 2021. Spatio-temporal patterns of rhizosphere microbiome assembly: from ecological theory to agricultural application. Accepted to Journal of Applied Ecology
  • C. Cuellar-Gempeler. 2021. Diversity-function relationships and the underlying ecological mechanisms in host-associated microbial communities. In: Advances in Environmental Microbiology, Vol 8. In press.
  • Cuellar-Gempeler, C. 2019. Habitat filters mediate succession in microbial communities associated with the stripped shore crab Pachygrapsus transversus. Oecologia 191:957-970.
  • T. E. Miller, M. L. Buhler, and C. Cuellar-Gempeler. 2019. Species-specific differences determine responses to a resource pulse and predation. Oecologia 190 (1): 169-178.
  • C. Cuellar-Gempeler and M. A. Leibold. 2019. Key colonist pools and habitat filters mediate the composition of fiddler crab-associated bacterial communities. Ecology 100 (4): e02628.
  • C. Cuellar-Gempeler and M.A. Leibold. 2018. Multiple colonist pools shape fiddler crab-associated microbial communities. The ISME Journal 12(3):825-837.
  • E. Canter, C. Cuellar-Gempeler, A. Pastore, T.E. Miller and O. Mason. 2018. Predator identity more than predator richness structures aquatic microbial assemblages in Sarracenia purpurea leaves. Ecology 99(3):652-660.
  • Holdridge, E., C. Cuellar-Gempeler, and C. terHost. 2016. A shift from exploitation to interference competition with increasing density affects population and community dynamics. Ecology and Evolution 6(15):5333-5341.
  • Cuellar-Gempeler, C. and P. Munguia. 2013. Fiddler crabs affect bacterial assemblages in mangrove forest sediments. Community Ecology 14(1): 59-66.
  • Cuellar-Gempeler, C., C. terHorst, O. Mason and T.E. Miller. Variation in predator dispersal influences prey community diversity in metacommunities. In preparation. Anticipated submission to: Ecology letters.
  • Munoz-Ucros, J., M. Zwetsloot, C. Cuellar-Gempeler and T. Bauerle. Spatio-temporal patterns of rhizosphere microbiome assembly: from ecological theory to agricultural application. Journal of Applied Ecology. In review

Graduate Students

Current Students:
Parker Lund, Megan Teigen, Jonas Sotingco, Victoria Cifelli, Amelia Jackson, Jakob Joachin

Previous Students:

Fiona Connor
Sandrine Thompson. graduation: 2022. Title: Environmental effects on constructed wetland microbial diversity and function in the context of wastewater management.