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I’m a plant ecologist interested in exploring the processes controlling the dynamics of plant communities in changing environments. I hold a BS degree from the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia where I’m originally from. For my dissertation I explored the effects of hunting on seedling recruitment on two plants species primarily dispersed by primates in the Colombian Amazon. I obtained a PhD at the University of Illinois at Chicago under the direction of Dr. Henry Howe. For my graduate work, I conducted a study at Los Tuxtlas forest, Southern Mexico, where I explored the effects of forest fragmentation on the dynamics of the late-successional tropical tree, Poulsenia armata (Moraceae).
At SESYNC, I will develop spatially-explicit neighborhood models in collaboration with Dr. Nathan Swenson to explore the effects of functional neighborhood, climate and geographical location on tree population dynamics. The goal is to investigate the interaction between individual plant traits and the environment at small and large scales by using data from LTER sites and the USDA Forest Inventory and Analysis Program across the eastern USA and Puerto Rico. Identifying the mechanisms that shape the structure and composition of communities is a major challenge in plant community ecology. Results of this study will help provide a general understanding of the mechanisms shaping plant communities, allowing us to predict future changes in community dynamics relevant for future management strategies.