Hi, Welcome and thank you for your interest in my research. When I was thirteen years old, I was fortunate enough to travel with mother and Rotary International to Costa Rica to deliver wheelchairs. I returned to the United States with a tape worm, but also a fascination for tropical ecosystems and their biodiversity that lingers to this day. Fast forward to my undergraduate years at the University of Denver as a pre-med student. After visiting the hospital on several occasions, I realized that medicine was not for me, wherein I promptly switched majors to Ecology. After graduating, I went to Puerto Rico for a volunteer internship measuring trees. It was 6-month commitment, but I ended up staying 5 years, researching the beautiful forests of the island, measuring countless trees and honing my scientific skills at the Luquillo LTER. I guess that is why the call Puerto Rico, "La Isla del Encanto".
I have witnessed first-hand the devastation that climate change can have on forests. Around the turn of the century, several abnormally warm years led to the outbreak of the mountain pine beetle in my home of Summit County, Colorado. Over the span of a decade, several thousand acres of forest were decimated, leaving behind a tinderbox of standing dead lodge-poles. This completely changed the landscape and ecosystems of Summit County.
These two experiences act as the driving forces behind my research, which focuses to understand the ecology of tropical forests in the Anthropocene.