PI: Dr. Robert Ricklefs
"My interests focus on diversity in ecological systems at several levels of organization and scales of time and space. A long-standing interest is the evolutionary diversification of avian life histories, emphasizing comparative and theoretical analyses of variation in life tables, including patterns of senescence, and physiological and experimental studies of growth, development, and parental care. On a higher level of ecological organization, I am interested in the historical development of ecological communities and regional species richness, using comparative analyses of diversity patterns and molecular analyses of genetic divergence and phylogenetic relationship. Through these studies, I would like to understand how factors that promote diversification, such as selection, speciation, and dispersal, are balanced by constraints that limit the response to selection or the coexistence of species."
Claudia Aparicio (Masters)
"My interests not only encompass the understanding biodiversity dynamics and the processes involved; but also include topic related to statistics, programming, informatics and technology in general. My current research is focused on the study of forests dynamics over time and the factors involved, like climate change. I am analyzing changes in the species composition using data from plots established in the Madidi region in Bolivia. Part of my work will comprehend the evaluation of the performance of models and statistics that could be used in this kind of studies."
Isabel Loza (Doctoral)
"I am interested in the study of biodiversity and also in understanding the determining factors of abundance and distributions of plant species at different spatial scales. I am also interested in understand what could be the drivers of plant rarity in tropical forest. Currently, I am developing a project to test whether plant species diversity and composition are determined in part by abiotic factors that prevent the establishment or persistence of species in a particular location, or if they are determined by their co-occurrence by interspecific interactions such as competition. To disentangle it, I amusing environmental variables and tree plot data from Costa Rica and Bolivia tropical forest."
Meghann Humphries (Doctoral)
"My research is focused on the distribution of genetic diversity across landscapes. Currently, I am using molecular analyses of genetic divergence, along with phylogenetic and geographic relationships, to understand the generation of diversity within and between islands. My model system is a small landbird, the bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), in the Greater Antilles."
Emma Young (Doctoral)
Dr. Leticia Soares
"I am an evolutionary biologist with very broad academic interests, which mainly include ornithology, parasitology, and disease ecology. My research combines these major fields to understand host-parasite interactions over time, across space and through evolutionary scales. My main goal as a scientist is to use parasites to understand the demography, the biogeography and the evolution of their hosts. My current study group is avian haemosporidian parasites (which includes bird malaria). However, I’m interested in any group of parasites that includes phylogenetically related pathogens able to infect both humans and wildlife (such as malaria parasites)."