Department of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology




Research Projects



Prospective Students




The world’s tropical forests harbor the majority of Earth’s biodiversity, regulate global climate, and form the basis for the livelihoods of rural communities worldwide, but the extent, structure, and composition of these forests are changing dramatically under the influence of human activities and their future is uncertain. These changes, however, cannot be treated in isolation. Rather, they must be understood as an aspect of complex and fluid landscape transformations such as agricultural expansion and urban-rural migration driven by regional and global factors. These direct impacts of human activities on forests interact with other anthropogenic drivers such as climate variability to affect the capacity of forests to regenerate and provide ecosystem services.

Through an integrated program of empirical and quantitative approaches, research in my lab examines forest ecological dynamics in response to natural disturbance and human land use. From a purely ecological perspective, this means that we focus on disturbance ecology, forest succession, and community assembly questions. Our research examines forest dynamics from stand and landscape perspectives, and includes geographic regions where forests have been subject to different forms of natural or anthropogenic disturbance, including fire, hurricanes, fragmentation, and expansion of tree plantations.  The methodological thread that unites the diverse research projects housed in my lab is the application of spatially-explicit modelling techniques, simulation, and other advanced statistical and modelling tools to understand and forecast the dynamics of tropical forests ecosystems in response to disturbance.

Great NY Times coverage of our work studying the effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rican forests!