Maria Uriarte – Principal Investigator


Maria Uriarte is a Professor in the Dept. of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology at Columbia University. She also serves as adjunct faculty in the Dept. of Ecology, University of São Paulo, Brazil. Prof. Uriarte studies the processes that drive forest dynamics in tropical regions, with a focus on forest recovery after natural disturbance events (hurricanes) and human land use and the consequences of these dynamics for ecosystem services. Her current projects are based in Puerto Rico and Brazil.

Chris M. Smith-Martin – Postdoctoral Associate


Chris received a B.S. in Biology and a B.A. in Education from the University of Costa Rica and a Ph.D. in Plant and Microbial Biology from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the crossroads between plant ecophysiology and plant community ecology to understand how environmental factors affect plant ecophysiological responses, and in turn, plant community dynamics in both temperate and tropical forested ecosystems.  Currently, she is studying which hydraulic characteristics or traits support woody plant drought resistance, and how this varies within and across tree species in Puerto Rico.

Roí Ankori-Karlinsky – Ph.D. Student


Roí is an ecologist from Jerusalem. He got his B.A. from Bennington College in Evolution and Ecology, and has worked as a research assistant at Harvard Forest and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He currently works on understanding how tree architecture and canopy structure impact forest vulnerability to hurricanes. He uses LiDAR data to map the shape of forests and tries to pick apart how structure and function influence community composition.

Eva Arroyo – Ph.D. Student


Eva received her BA in mathematics at Duke University with a focus in how probabilistic mathematics could be applied to the study of tropical forests. After graduating, she spent a year at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama studying liana-induced tree mortality. She is interested in how individual variation in heterogenous landscapes can be incorporated into theories of community assembly and how these then interact to create resilience to disturbance in tropical forests.

Linnea Norton – Ph.D. Student


Linnea received her B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology from U.C. Berkeley after transferring from Pierce College in Los Angeles. Her Honors thesis focused on plant ecophysiological responses to climate change on the California coast. She has worked as a field technician for community ecology research, an agriculture Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, and a technical analyst for forestry-based carbon project development. A recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, she is interested in nature-based solutions to climate change, particularly mangrove forest restoration. Synthesizing geospatial, field, and socio-economic data, she aims to research the implications of carbon market incentives on ecosystem functioning, local community wellbeing, and the biosphere.

Alyssa Brown – Ph.D. Student


Alyssa received her BS in Landscape Management and MS in Environmental Science from Brigham Young University. Her thesis focused on understanding seed ecology of native sub-albine forb species in the Intermountain West. Alyssa is interested in understanding how catastrophic disturbance impacts ecosystem function and recovery. Specifically, she hopes to understand how changes in drought and hurricane cycles interact to impact tropical rainforest function. She is excited to investigate these questions in Puerto Rico where she previously lived over a period of 16 months.

Luis Esbri  – Field Technician


Luis received his BS in Environmental Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus and MPH in Environmental Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus. He is currently working as the Field Technician for the “Tropical Forest Drought experiment and tree Ecophysiology research project” where he undertakes multiple tasks to maintain and collect data from multiple areas of study in El Yunque National Rainforest

Lab Alumni

Jazlynn Shaydra Hall, Ph.D. student
Current position: Postdoctoral Researcher, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, USA.

Pedro Ribeiro Piffer, Ph.D. student
Current position: Remote Sensing Scientist, Earthshot Labs, USA.

Andrew Quebbeman, Ph.D. student
Current position: Data Scientist, The Farmer’s Dog, USA.

Naomi Schwartz, Ph.D. student
Current position: Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Benedicte Bachelot, Ph.D. student
Current position: Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University, USA.

Bob Muscarella, Ph.D. student
Current position: Associate Professor, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Marina Côrtes, Ph.D. student
Current position: Associate Professor, UNESP – Rio Claro, Brazil.

Eli Dueker, Ph.D. student
Current position: Associate Professor of Environmental and Urban Studies, Bard College, USA.

Elizabeth Nichols, Ph.D. student
Current position: Foreign Affairs Officer at U.S. Department of State.

Meghan M. McGinty, Ph.D. student
Current position: Owner of Cultivate Nature.

Tanja Crk, MA student
Current position:  GIS Specialist, U.S. EPA.

Timothy J. Agin, MA student
Current position: Ph.D student, University of South Dakota, USA.

Andrew Budsock, MA Student
Current position: Environmental Consultant, ERM USA.

Sam Farrar, Research Technician
Current position: PhD Student, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Charles Yackulic, Postdoctoral Associate
Current position: USGS Research Scientist, Arizona, USA.

Liza Comita, Postdoctoral Associate & Earth Institute Fellow
Current position: Professor, Yale Forestry School, USA.

Marina Anciães, Postdoctoral Associate
Current position: Researcher, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia – INPA, Brazil.

Jesse Lasky, Postdoctoral Associate
Current position: Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Leandro Reverberi Tambosi, Postdoctoral Associate
Current position: Assistant Professor, Universidade Federal do ABC, Brazil

Xiaohiu Feng, Postdoctoral Associate
Current position: Assistant Professor, China.

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