TWO CORE INTERESTS
FOUR RESEARCH AREAS
I am a tropical community ecologist interested in understanding the mechanisms that explain changes in plant and animal diversity, species composition and biomass across space and time. I integrate experimental and observational methods to test hypotheses around two core interests: how species interactions regulate the recovery of biotic communities after anthropogenic disturbances, and what are the mechanisms that regulate community structure and reassembly along environmental gradients in natural and managed landscapes. Within these two core interests, I have developed four research areas that allow me to investigate tropical communities with an interdisciplinary and complementary approach. My investigations have expanded core tenets in tropical ecology, particularly my research on the effects of environmental gradients on biotic communities. The results of my studies have important implications for the conservation of animal communities and the restoration of tropical forests.
Interspecific interactions regulate species growth and survival, and drive the flux of individuals as communities change after anthropogenic disturbances. Despite the long interest in species interactions as drivers of community structure, we still do not fully understand the strength by which interactions control species abundances and modulate performance in altered tropical environments. I investigate how competition among plants regulates forest growth and biomass accumulation, and how seed dispersal by animals is responsible for changes in the plant community. Here you can see the specific projects that address how species interactions regulate communities in human modified modified landscapes.
What conditions and resources best explain community structure and composition in the tropics? How communities change in composition as species modulate the gradients they experience? I am interested in understanding the mechanisms that regulate community structure by evaluating the interplay of different community properties under different environmental gradients such as temperature or productivity. I also investigate species turnover and shifts in forest structure and function during succession, and the underlaying mechanisms that explain how different gradients mold community reassembly in human modified landscapes. Here you can see the projects that assess how and why communities change along tropical environmental gradients.