ATBC supports Women in Science
During the second annual symposium for Women in Tropical Biology at the ATBC 2008 meeting in Paramaribo, Suriname, the small groups of participants devised an extensive list of priorities aiming at supporting Women in Science. Among them, there was a demand from ATBC members to create "Webpages in the ATBC website devoted to women in tropical biology". Here it is. ATBC Members are welcome to mail their bio and some photos to the WebEditor who will edit personal pages. Meet with Sue Laurance, ATBC President Elect (formely ATBC councilor) and Chair of the Evaluation Committee, Meg Lowman, a pioneering woman in the canopy, and former ATBC officer (Secretary-Treasurer) between 1994-2006, and Krista McGuire, Member of the Gender Committee. (Listed by order of publication, most recent at top)
University of Hamburg, Dept. Biodiversity
Evolution and Ecology of Plants,
Ohnhorststr. 18, 22609 Hamburg, Germany
Theoretical and Applied Ecology in Protected Environments and Agrosystems (TEAPEA),
French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA),
BP 167, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France
About Pia Parolin's study
I work as a tropical ecologist in South American wetlands since 1986. I am the Vice President of Europe’s biggest society for tropical biology, the Society for Tropical Ecology (gtö) and am very active in the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC, councilor from 2009-2011, member of the conservation committee, gender committee, scientific committee for organization of conferences in Suriname, Marburg, Tanzania, Brazil, Costa Rica; award committee). I achieved the Ph.D. degree from Max-Planck-Institute for Limnology, Plön, and the University of Hamburg, Germany in cooperation with the National Institute for Amazon Research (INPA) Manaus, Brazil.
My fields of specialization are general ecology and botany, focusing on tree responses to periodical flooding, seedling establishment and regeneration, plant biogeography and speciation. Research on the ecology, management and use of floodplain forests and their conservation is my main interest, especially concerning the impact of dams and overexploited species in Amazonian forests. On the applied side, I study tritrophic interactions for biological pest control and integrated pest management in the context of finding alternatives to chemical pest control employing an increased diversity of species and of functional types, in Europe.
Amazon floodplain (várzea) in Janauari with Ficus sp. (© Pia Parolin)
- Ferreira L.V., Matos D.C.L., Cunha D.A., Chaves P.P., Neckel S.O. & Parolin P. (in press) Brachiaria decumbens Stapf (Poaceae) reduces species richness of natural regeneration in degraded areas in Carajás, Brazil. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências.
- Ferreira L.V., Cunha D.A., Chaves P.P., Matos D.C.L. & Parolin P. (2013) Endemicity of plant communities in the sites of hydroelectric dams in the floodplains of the Tapajós, Xingu and Tocantins Rivers in Eastern Amazonia. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias AABC 1.
- FerreiraL.V., Chaves P.P., Cunha D.A., RosárioA.S. & ParolinP. (2013) The illegal extraction of sand as cause for the disappearance of campinas and campinaranas in the State of Pará, Brazil. Revista Pesquisas-Botânica 64.
- Wittmann, F., Householder, E., Piedade, M.T.F., Assis, R.L., Schöngart, J., Parolin P. & Junk, W.J. (2012) Habitat specificity, endemism and the neotropical distribution of Amazonian white-water floodplain trees. Ecography.
- Ferreira L.V., Neckel-Oliveira S., Galatti U., Fáveri S.B. & Parolin P. (2012) Forest structure of artificial islands in the Tucuruí dam reservoir in northern Brazil: a test core-area model. Acta Amazonica 42(2):221-226.
Woman fishing in the floodplains of the Amazon near Manaus, Brazil.(© Pia Parolin)
Wittmann F., Schöngart J., Brito J.M., Oliveira Wittmann A., Parolin P., Piedade M.T.F., Junk W.J. & Guillaumet J.-L. (2011) Manual of tree species in central Amazonian white-water floodplains: Taxonomy, Ecology, and Use.
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazonia - INPA, Universidade Estadual do Amazonas - UEA, Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável Mamirauá - ISDM. Editora Valer, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Nature Conservation Foundation,
Eastern Himalaya Program,
Winner of the 2013 Whitley Award
Dr Aparajita Datta's love of nature and animals began in the classroom, inspired by the books of Gerald Durrell and James Herriot. Arriving at the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh in North East India in 1995 to study the impact of logging on arboreal creatures including squirrels and primates, her attention was instantly captured by the charismatic hornbills and she went onto study them for her PhD. Source : whitleyaward.org).
Aparajita Dutta was announced as the recipient of 2009 Woman of Discovery Humanity Award by the New York based Wings World Quest for a lifetime dedicated to wildlife biology and her work in Namdapha Tiger Reserve. She was also awarded by the National Geographic Society as an Emerging explorer for 2010, which recognised "..14 trailblazers from around the world". (Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nature_Conservation_Foundation)
Oriental Pied hornbill (Anthracoceros albirostris) from India (Photo : c-a.akamaihd.net)
More about Aparajita Datta’s research project
"Understanding connections and interaction between animals and plants is the part of my work I find most exciting" A. Datta
Two decades on, Aparajita now leads a programme to conserve hornbills in the Indian Eastern Himalaya at the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), an NGO established in 1996 to promote science-based wildlife conservation in India. Focussing on hornbills as a conservation flagship species, she is seeking to improve the status of the bird's populations outside protected areas by establishing models of community-based conservation. Aparajita is spreading knowledge of the needs of hornbills and their importance, as seed dispersers, in the maintenance of healthy forest ecosystems. (Source : whitleyaward.org)
Hornbills in arunachal pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh harbors some of the largest tracts of evergreen forests in north-east India. These virgin forests are home to five species of hornbills. Various body parts like the casque, tail and primary feathers and meat especially of the Great Hornbill form an important part of the local traditions of tribes. The impact of hunting on these hornbills is still poorly known in the state.
Hornbills in Arunachal Pradesh face significant threats from hunting and habitat loss. The last two decades has seen rapid loss of lowland forests around Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary in western Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India, which is a haven for hornbills. This has resulted in increased competition for nests amongst different hornbill species and decline in abundances at roost sites, which are now vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances. However, a considerably large forest area (> 1000 sq.km) still persists adjacent to Pakke WS harboring suitable hornbill habitat.
This project aims to involve the Ghora-Aabhe council comprised of village headmen of the local Nyishi community and Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department in finding nests in the Reserve Forests adjacent to Pakke WS. Local villagers will also be involved in regular monitoring and protection of nests.
Nests of all the four species of hornbills found in Pakke WLS, (the Great Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill, Rufous-necked Hornbill and Oriental Pied Hornbill) are available for adoption. Till 2010, we had found 33 nests of hornbills which were mostly inside Pakke WS. In the 2011 breeding season, with the participation and interest shown by the Nyishi villagers, 9 new nests of three hornbill species (Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied Hornbill) have been located and monitored in the Reserved Forests around Pakke WS.
Selected publications (see also List and Academia)
Rodent seed predation: effects on seed survival, recruitment, abundance, and dispersion of bird-dispersed tropical trees Velho, Nandini; Isvaran, Kavita; Datta, Aparajita. OECOLOGIA (2012) 169: 995-1004. Abstract
Effect of rodents on seed fate of five hornbill-dispersed tree species in a tropical forest in north-east India. Velho, Nandini; Datta, Aparajita; Isvaran, Kavita. JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY (2009) 25: 507-514 Abstract
Philipps University of Marburg
Faculty of Biology
Dept. of Ecology - Conservation Ecology
Karl-von-Frisch Straße 8
More about Nina Farwig’s research
Nina Farwig is a conservation ecologist interested in patterns and dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning across natural and human-shaped landscapes. Her research focuses on biotic interactions, interaction networks as well as the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functionality in the face of human activities. She works with a broad spectrum of taxonomic groups such as mammals, birds or insects and uses various methods (field observations, experimental setups, molecular methods, statistical approaches) to combine fundamental research questions with applied conservation issues. Currently, her major field site is in South Africa where she studies in which way modified forest conditions affect biotic interactions and consequently ecosystem stability and function. These findings will be used to help develop strategies that assure the combination of sustainable use of natural resources and conservation of biodiversity.
Recent publications (see also List)
- Schleuning, M., N. Farwig, M. K. Peters, T. Bergsdorf, B. Bleher, R. Brandl, H. Dalitz, G. Fischer, W. Freund, M.W. Gikungu, M. Hagen, F. Hita Garcia, G. H. Kagezi, M. Kaib, M. Kraemer, T. Lung, C.M. Naumann, G. Schaab, M. Templin, D. Uster, J.W. Wägele, Katrin Böhning-Gaese (2011) Forest fragmentation and selective logging have inconsistent effects on multiple animal-mediated ecosystem processes in a tropical forest. PLoS ONE 6:e27785.
- Otieno, N.E., N. Gichuki, N. Farwig and S. Kiboi (2011) The role of farm structure on bird assemblages around a Kenyan tropical rainforest. African Journal of Ecology 49:410-417.
- Neuschulz, E.L., A. Botzat, and N. Farwig (2011) Effects of forest modification on bird community composition and seed removal in a heterogeneous landscape in South Africa. Oikos 120:1371-1379.
- Voigt, F.A., N. Farwig, and S.D. Johnson (2011) Interactions between the invasive tree Melia azedarach (Meliaceae) and native frugivores in South Africa. Journal of Tropical Ecology 27:355–363.
- Kirika, J.M., K. Böhning-Gaese, B. Dumbo and N. Farwig (2010): Reduced abundance of late-successional trees but not of seedlings in heavily compared with lightly logged sites of three East African tropical forests. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26: 533-546.
- Farwig, N., D. Bailey, E. Bochud, J.D. Herrmann, E. Kindler, N. Reusser, C. Schüepp and M.H. Schmidt-Entling (2009): Isolation from forest reduces pollination, seed predation and insect scavenging in Swiss farmland. Landscape Ecology 24: 919-927.
Photos (top and bottom) : Costal Scarp Forest in and around Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve embedded in agriculture. (© Nina farwig)
University College Dublin (UCD) and World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Chitedze Agricultural Research Station
PO Box 30798
Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Seline's profile - Her profile at WWF
Interviewing a farmer in her field in Malawi
Seline Meijer is a PhD student working on farmers’ knowledge and attitudes in relation to agroforestry and deforestation in Malawi. With a background in ecology, Seline is using a social science perspective to study conservation issues in Malawi.
More about Seline Meijer's study
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers from high levels of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. High population pressures have increased farming intensity and agricultural expansion, which is contributing to deforestation. Declining soil fertility and crop yield seriously challenge the ability of farmers to meet their livelihood needs, causing poverty and food insecurity. The effects of climate change, such as increased droughts and floods, exacerbate these problems. Agroforestry, where trees are planted on farms, has the potential to address these issues. Studies have shown that agroforestry can benefit farmers’ livelihoods by increasing crop yield, income and food security, support biodiversity conservation by providing habitat and reducing deforestation, and mitigate the effects of climate change by storing carbon. However, despite these benefits the adoption of agroforestry has remained relatively low. This study aims to understand the role of farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to agroforestry and environmental degradation in the decision making process of agroforestry adoption in Malawi. In particular, it will examine if agroforestry activities can reduce farmers’ incentive to cut down trees in the natural forest, hence reducing deforestation. (Photo : Advising farmers about agroforestry)
Agroforestry, where trees are planted on farms, has the potential to address these issues. Studies have shown that agroforestry can benefit farmers’ livelihoods by increasing crop yield, income and food security, support biodiversity conservation by providing habitat and reducing deforestation, and mitigate the effects of climate change by storing carbon. However, despite these benefits the adoption of agroforestry has remained relatively low. This study aims to understand the role of farmers’ knowledge, attitudes and practices in relation to agroforestry and environmental degradation in the decision making process of agroforestry adoption in Malawi. In particular, it will examine if agroforestry activities can reduce farmers’ incentive to cut down trees in the natural forest, hence reducing deforestation. (Photo : Farmer showing the fruits from one of his trees).
This study will use a combination of household surveys, key informant interviews and focus group discussions as primary data collection methods. In addition, aerial photographs will be analysed for changes in land use over time in the study areas using GIS software and meteorological data is collected to analyse changes in rainfall patterns. (Photo : Village nursery with tree seedlings)
- Meijer S.S. (2011) On the biogeography of biogeographers. Frontiers of Biogeography 3: 39-40.
- Meijer S.S., Whittaker, R.J. & Borges P.A.V. (2011) The effects of land-use change on arthropod richness and abundance on Santa Maria Island (Azores): unmanaged plantations favour endemic beetles. Journal of Insect Conservation 15: 505-522.
- Meijer S.S., Holmgren M. & Van der Putten W.H. (in press) Effects of plant-soil feedback on tree seedling growth under arid conditions. Journal of Plant Ecology.
- Van der Waal C., Kool A., Meijer S.S., Kohi E., Heitkönig I.M.A., de Boer W.F., van Langevelde F., Grant R.C., Peel M.J.S., Slotow R., de Knegt H.J., Prins, H.H.T. & de Kroon H. (2011) Large herbivores may alter vegetation structure of semi-arid savannas through soil nutrient mediation. Oecologia 165: 1095-1107.
(All photos © S. Meijer)
Jennifer M. Jacobs
University of California Berkeley. Berkeley, California, USA
Amazon Conservation Association : Los Amigos Biological Station (CICRA)
Collaborative Approach to Learning Bridging Language and Science Teaching (Cal: BLAST)
Rio Los Amigos in southeastern Peru. (© J. Jacobs)
More about Jennifer Jacobs’s research
I was always fascinated by the tropics and my dream of working in a tropical area was realized when I took an undergraduate study abroad course in Costa Rica. Since then, I have worked in a number of tropical field sites including Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Peru. I am interested in many aspects of tropical ecology and conservation, and have primarily worked with insects and occasionally with amphibians and reptiles.
For my master's research, I studied beetles in bamboo forests of southeastern Peru (Guadua
bamboo forest in southeastern Peru. © J. Jacobs). I am currently a doctoral student in the Department of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley
and am in the process of defining my dissertation research. In addition to research, I am participating in a program developed by local institutions and public schools in the San Francisco Bay Area to help elementary teachers incorporate more field-based science into their curricula.
- Jacobs, J., Joyce, F., and Longino, J. 2011. Ants of the Islas Murciélago: an inventory of the ants on tropical dry forest islands in northwest Costa Rica. Tropical Conservation Science 4(2): 149-171. [pdf]
- von May, R., Jacobs, J.M., Santa-Cruz, R., Valdivia, J., Huamán, J., and Donnelly, M.A. 2010. Amphibian community structure as a function of forest type in Amazonian Peru. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26(5): 509-519. [pdf]
- Jacobs, J., Noble, I., Palminteri, S., and Ratcliffe, B. 2008. First Come, First Serve: Additional observations of "sit and wait" behavior in dung beetles at the source of primate dung. Neotropical Entomology. 37(6): 641-645 [pdf]
(Dung beetle Dichotomius sp. © J. Jacobs)
(starting September 2011)
Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
The Ohio State University
318 W. 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1293
More about Liza Comita’s research
is a plant ecologist interested in the mechanisms driving patterns of diversity, dynamics, and species distributions in both pristine and human-altered forests. Her current research focuses on the regeneration ecology of tropical tree species and how spatial and temporal variation in regeneration dynamics act to maintain diversity and determine species abundance and composition within and across plant communities. She utilizes long-term field studies of forest dynamics combined with statistical techniques, such as maximum likelihood methods, spatially-explicit neighborhood analysis, and hierarchical Bayesian models, to produce insights into the processes driving regeneration and structuring diverse ecological communities. Her primary field site is Barro Colorado Island, Panama, where she has been monitoring seedlings dynamics over the past decade.
Other recent publications
- Comita, L. S., H. C. Muller-Landau, S. Aguilar and S. P. Hubbell. 2010. Asymmetric density dependence shapes species abundance in a tropical tree community. Science 329: 330-332. Read more
- Comita, L. S., J. Thompson, M. Uriarte, I. Jonckheere, C. D. Canham, and J. Zimmerman. 2010. Interactive effects of land use history and natural disturbance on seedling dynamics in a subtropical forest. Ecological Applications 20: 1270-1284.
- Comita, L. S. and B. M. J. Engelbrecht. 2009. Seasonal and spatial variation in water availability drive habitat associations in a tropical forest. Ecology 90: 2755-2765.
- Comita, L. S. and S. P. Hubbell. 2009. Local neighborhood and species' shade tolerance influence survival in a diverse seedling bank. Ecology 90: 328–334.
- Jones, F. A. and L. S. Comita. 2008. Neighborhood density and genetic relatedness interact to determine fruit set and abortion rates in a tropical tree. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 2759-2767.
- Comita, L. S. and G. R. Goldsmith. 2008. Impact of research trails on seedling dynamics in a tropical forest. Biotropica 40: 251–254.
- Engelbrecht, B. M. J., L. S. Comita, R. Condit, S. P. Hubbell, T. Kursar, and M. Tyree. 2007. Drought sensitivity shapes species distribution patterns in tropical forests. Nature 447: 80-82.
(all photos : © L. Comita)
Rapid Assessment Program
2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500
Arlington, VA 22202
(Photo : Jessica Deichmann in the field with Phyllomedusa tarsius frog the BDFFP)
New Article in BIOTROPICA
- Effects of Geomorphology and Primary Productivity on Amazonian Leaf Litter Herpetofauna by Jessica L. Deichmann, Albertina P. Lima and G. Bruce Williamson. Abstract
About Jessica Deichmann's Study
My current research interests are fairly broad and lie in tropical amphibian ecology, ecosystem ecology and conservation biology. Although our understanding of primary productivity in tropical forests has increased leaps and bounds over the last decade, very little work has been done on trophic cascades in tropical terrestrial systems. Within this framework, I am especially interested in how geomorphology and primary productivity are manifested at higher trophic levels within tropical forests. This article to be published in Biotropica focuses on one phase of research on the effects of primary productivity and geomorphology on leaf litter herpetofauna communities – specifically their abundance, biomass and species richness – within the forests of the Amazon Basin. (Photo: juvenile Pristimantis sp. © Jessica Deichmann)
Our work shows that underlying geomorphologic differences across Amazonia are important drivers of herpetofauna biomass, abundance and potentially species richness, and this may be true for other taxa as well. This knowledge is incredibly important for conservation strategies which must consider compensating for reduced biomass on ancient soils through increased reserve size, particularly as forest fragmentation escalates.
As a herpetologist working in lowland systems, I have also become interested in disease ecology and the drivers of amphibian decline in lowland tropical areas. Recent evidence suggests that enigmatic amphibian decline, previously thought to be primarily a montane phenomenon in the Neotropics, is also affecting lowland populations. Current evidence is contradictory, however, much more information is needed to determine if enigmatic lowland decline is a widespread trend in the Neotropics and what the factors causing decline in lowland forests might be. (Photo: Coleodactylus amazonicus © Jessica Deichmann)
Jessica Deichmann's Field Sites
Deichmann, J. L., G. B. Williamson, A. P. Lima and W. A. Allmon. 2010. A note on amphibian decline in the Neotropical lowlands. Biodiversity and Conservation
Deichmann, J. L., J. Boundy, and G. B. Williamson. 2009. Anuran artifacts of preservation: 25 years later. Phyllomedusa 8(1):51-58.
Deichmann, J. L., W. E. Duellman, and G. B. Williamson. 2008. Predicting biomass from snout-vent length in New World frogs. Journal of Herpetology 42(2): 238-245.
Enyaloides laticeps (© Jessica Deichmann)
Websites of interest.
Universidade Estadual Paulista Júlio de Mesquita Filho,
Instituto de Biociências de Rio Claro,
Departamento de Ecologia.
Av. 24A, 1515, Laboratorio de Biologia da Conservação
Bela Vista 13506-900 - Rio Claro, SP - Brasil
Recent article in Biotropica
About Laurence Culot's study
As a zoologist, I was getting rapidly interested by plant – animal interactions, and more specifically by seed dispersal by primates. In my research, I use the behavior as a tool to better understand the ecological processes in which primates are involved. The study of primary seed dispersal by primates pushed me to get interested by each phase of this multi-steps process. I broadened my research field to dung beetle behavior and their role as secondary seed dispersers and to the more botanical aspect of seed germination and seedling emergence. I’m particularly interested by Neotropical primate species from the smallest ones (Callitrichidae: Saguinus fuscicollis (left) Saguinus mystax (right), Leontopithecus chrysopygus), to the largest ones (Atelidae: Alouatta clamitans, Brachyteles arachnoides). After my PhD research in the Amazonian forest in Peru, I’m now working in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest where I aim at determining the defaunation effect on plant-animal interactions, and more specifically on primate seed dispersal.
- Culot L, Huynen M-C, Gérard P, Heymann EW. 2009. Short-term post-dispersal fate of seeds defecated by two small primate species (Saguinus mystax and Saguinus fuscicollis) in the Amazonian forest of Peru. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 25:229-238.
- Culot L, Muñoz Lazo FJJ, Huynen M-C, Poncin P, Heymann EW. (2010). Seasonal variation in seed dispersal by tamarins alters seed rain in a secondary rainforest. International Journal of Primatology, 31(4):553-569.
- Culot L, Mann D, Muñoz Lazo FJJ, Huynen M-C, Heymann EW. (2011). Tamarins and dung beetles: an efficient diplochorous dispersal system for forest regeneration. Biotropica 43: 84-92. Abstract
- Muñoz Lazo, FJJ, Culot L, Huynen M-C, Heymann EW. (in press) Effect of tamarin resting patterns (Saguinus fuscicollis and Saguinus mystax) on the spatial distribution of seeds and seedling recruitment. International Journal of Primatology.
María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén
Biology Department and The Neotropical Environment Option
McGill University, 1205 Dr. Penfield Ave.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 1B1
(Photo : María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén planting trees along the Panama Canal Watershed. © M. C. Ruiz-Jean)
Recent Article in BIOTROPICA - November 2010
Tree Diversity Explains Variation in Ecosystem Function in a Neotropical Forest in Panama (pages 638–646) by Maria C. Ruiz-Jaen and Catherine Potvin
More about María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén's study
While species diversity conditions ecosystem functioning in natural communities like grasslands, the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function (BEF) in complex and hyperdiverse ecosystems like tropical forests is still unclear. The Neotropics host a disproportionate amount of biodiversity and tropical forests are believed to store as much as 40% of terrestrial carbon. Thus, I would like to answer the following questions using two tropical forests in Central Panama:
1. How the relationship between spatial variation of carbon stocks can be detected in a natural forests where environment and space are highly variable? In natural forests, studies have often shown that abiotic factors such as soil and topographic characteristics (here environment) play a major role for species distribution and plant growth. Moreover, spatial variation has been shown to be more important than environment in determining in woody plant distribution. Therefore, correlations between diversity, environment, and space need to be considered to understand their relative role in the functioning of ecosystems. We found that species diversity alone explained better the variation of tree carbon stocks than environment and space. We also found that species diversity and dominance play complementary roles in explaining tree carbon storage
2. How different measures of diversity (species or function) explain tree carbon stocks? Different effects of diversity on ecosystem function will depend on how diversity is measured. For example, due to species redundancies, functional diversity, rather than richness, might affect ecosystem function in tropical forest, since alpha diversity in the tropics is on average 247 species per ha (individuals > 1 cm DBH).
3. How these relationships change with different spatial scales?
4. Can we extrapolate the results of BEF found in experimental plantations to natural forests? Linking tree diversity to carbon storage can provide further motivation to conserve tropical forests and to design carbon-enriched plantations.
Smithsonian Tropical Research institute, Republic of Panama.
(Photos: Above : María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén measuring soil depth at Fort Sherman ; Right : Forest structure at Sherman showing Palms and Eudicots. © María del Carmen Ruiz-Jaén)
Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas,
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,
Morelia Michoacán, Mexico
Website : Biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services
Personal page at Aldo Leopold Leadership Program
ESA Focus on Ecologists
Recent Article in BIOTROPICA (Early View)
About Patricia Balvanera's study
I have been working in the tropical dry forest for the last 16 years. I am interested in the ecological processes underlying the maintenance of their high diversity, the anthropogenic impacts on both plant diversity and the related ecosystem functioning, as well as the social and ecological processes that drive management decisions and the provision of services to a suite of stakeholders.
Acting Assistant Professor
University of Washington Bothell
Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011-8246
Phone (425) 352-5410
Recent Article in BIOTROPICA - September 2010
Effects of Agricultural Intensification on the Assemblage of Leaf-Nosed Bats (Phyllostomidae) in a Coffee Landscape in Chiapas, Mexico (pages 605–613) by Kimberly Williams-Guillén and Ivette Perfecto
More about Kimberly Williams-Guillén's study
My main research interests involve the role of matrix habitats (the disturbed, human-managed areas that surround primary habitat) in biodiversity conservation in the Neotropics. I focus on mammalian diversity and its ecological function in agricultural systems in Central America. Since 2006 I have been working with a research group from the University of Michigan in Finca Irlanda, a shade coffee plantation in southern Mexico, where I have studied bat diversity and ecosystem function. (Photo : Kim Williams-Guillén (center right) and Bat Conservation International’s Merlin Tuttle (center left) admire a male spectral bat (Vampyrum spectrum) captured during a workshop on bat study methods conducted for Nicaraguan researchers in April 2008. © Paula Tuttle.)
My research considers both the relationship between agricultural management intensity on bat assemblage structure, and the effects of bat predation on arthropod populations and levels of herbivory in agroecosystems. My current research in Mexico focuses on the use of arboreal roosts by bats in shade coffee, and on the use of molecular methods to describe the diets of insectivorous bats in these agroforestry systems. (Photo : The common big-eared bat, Micronycteris microtis, plays an important role in limiting insect populations found on coffee plants. These insectivorous bats hunt by snatching prey like katydids and caterpillars directly from leaves and the ground. These “foliage-gleaning” bats are particularly sensitive to intensification in coffee plantations, and are not found in plantations with very low shade cover. © Kim Williams-Guillén)
I received my Ph.D. in 2003 from New York University. For my dissertation, I studied the ecology of mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) living in a shade coffee plantation in Mombacho Volcano, Nicaragua. This research demonstrated that shade coffee plantations serve as core habitat for these forest-adapted mammals. (Photo : A diverse shade coffee plantation in the Soconusco region of Chiapas, Mexico. The maintenance of a structurally and taxonomically diverse tree canopy in traditional shade coffee systems provides habitat for native biodiversity, facilitates dispersal between patches of undisturbed habitat, supports ecosystem functions such as predation on pest insects within the coffee plantations, dampens the effects of extreme weather events, and provides additional income for coffee producers. © Kim Williams-Guillén)
From June 2003 to July 2004, I was a postdoctoral researcher for the Saint Louis Zoo, based in Bosawás Biosphere Reserve in northern Nicaragua. I collaborated with indigenous Miskito and Mayangna residents in Bosawás to study the population status and subsistence hunting of large mammals and birds. I am a research scientist with Paso Pacífico, an NGO dedicated to conservation of Nicaragua’s remaining fragments of tropical dry forest. I am working with Paso Pacífico to develop long-term biodiversity monitoring and conservation programs for wildlife in the highly fragmented landscape of southwestern Nicaragua.
Bats have a bad reputation in Latin America, thanks to the presence of vampire bats; many people are surprised to learn of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bats, such as seed dispersal, pollination, and pest control. Environmental education in local communities, such as this informal “bat day” at a primary school located in a coffee plantation, provide a venue for sharing research results with local stakeholders. Photo by Kim Williams-Guillén.
As of October 2010 I also serve as a subject editor for BIOTROPICA.
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
3009 Broadway, New York, U.S.A.
Krista McGuire and Black-handed Spider Monkey Ateles geoffroyi on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. (© Krista McGuire).
About Krista McGuire's study
Krista McGuire studies the factors that structure the composition and function of terrestrial soil fungi in tropical forest ecosystems and how these relationships are impacted by global change. Soil fungi cycle the majority of plant-derived compounds through the ecosystem, but we know little about their diversity and biogeography. This is particularly true in tropical rain forests, where the majority of scientific research is focused on plants and other macroscopic taxa. (Stinkhorn fungus from dipterocarp forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. © Krista McGuire).
There are three major facets to Krista McGuire's research:
- investigating how ectomycorrhizal fungi influence tree diversity patterns in low versus high-diversity forest;
- studying the local and global factors that influence microbial biogeography, microbial community composition, and ecosystem function;
- evaluating how these patterns and processes are impacted by global changes such as deforestation and climate change.
Much of Krista McGuire's work has been conducted in Guyana, but current projects include field sites across the isthmus of Panama and the dipterocarp forests of Malaysia. (Patamona Amerindian in Guyana holding ectomycorrhizal fungi. © Krista McGuire).
In addition to tropical field work, Krista McGuire is also interested in issues related to women in science. In tropical ecology, women experience unique barriers associated with the rigors of tropical field work. In some countries, there are also cultural obstacles that may prevent single females from successfully and safely leading field expeditions.
As a member of the gender committee, Krista McGuire hopes to bring more awareness to this topic and work within the ATBC to find productive solutions to some of these problems.
Monodominant Dicymbe corymbosa (Caesalpiniaceae) tree in rain forest of Guyana. (© Krista McGuire).
Susan G. W. Laurance
Tropical Leader in Rainforest Ecology
School of Marine and Tropical Biology
James Cook University
Cairns Qld 4878
More about Sue Laurance's study
Susan Laurance is a landscape ecologist interested in the spatial patterns of species and communities across natural and human-disturbed landscapes. Her research focuses on both ecological processes and traits of individual species, in order to understand which species are vulnerable to extinction in disturbed environments. She has studied the effects of habitat fragmentation, wildlife corridors, roads, logging and climate change on plant and wildlife communities in a variety of tropical environments. Susan began her career in Australian rainforests but has lived and worked since 1996 in Brazil, Panama, and Mauritius. She is a former postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Brazil’s Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project (Photo below) and a current member of the executive council of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
Photo : Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in Central Amazonia, Brasil. © Tom Lovejoy.
Margaret D. Lowman
Director, Nature Research Center
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Research Professor, North Carolina State University (NCSU)
11 W. Jones Street
Raleigh NC 27601
Homepage and Bio
Interview at Mongabay.com
About Meg Lowman
Meg Lowman pioneered the science of canopy ecology. For 30 years, she has designed hot-air balloons and walkways for treetop exploration to solve mysteries in the world’s forests, with special expertise on the links between insect pests and ecosystem health. Meg is affectionately called the mother of canopy research as one of the first scientists to explore this “eighth continent.” She relentlessly works to “map” the canopy for biodiversity and to champion forest conservation around the world. Her international network and passion for science have led her into leadership roles where she seeks best practices to solve environmental challenges.
As Director of the Nature Research Center, Meg oversees the new wing’s research agenda, which includes supervising senior research staff; developing, directing, implementing and fundraising for all research programs of the NRC; and assisting with the integration of existing Museum programs within Center operations. She also provides leadership for the North Carolina University system partnership as well as partnerships with varied research organizations in the State, Federal Government and private sector. Finally, she serves as primary advocate for the Center, promoting its mission to groups ranging from elementary classes to corporate executives to international conference attendees.
In addition to her role as Director of the Nature Research Center, Meg is Research Professor of Natural Sciences in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at NC State University, where she will focus on initiatives involving science communication to the public. She currently serves as Vice President of the Ecological Society of America; Executive Director of TREE Foundation; Board of Directors for The Explorers Club and Earthwatch; and Climate Change Adviser to Alex Sink, CFO of the Florida cabinet. Previously, Meg has served as Secretary-Treasurer (1994-2001) and Treasurer (2002-2006) of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation, as Director of Environmental Initiatives and Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at New College of Florida, CEO of The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, and Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Williams College.
Meg’s academic training included Williams College (BA, Biology); Aberdeen University (MSc, Ecology); Sydney University (PhD, Botany); and Tuck School of Business (Executive Management). Her numerous awards include the Margaret Douglas Medal for Excellence in Conservation Education from the Garden Club of America, Girls Inc. Visionary Award, Mendel Medal for achievements in science and spirit, Lowell Thomas Medal for discoveries in the canopy, and election as a Kilby Laureate and an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow. Meg has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and her first book, Life in the Treetops, received a cover review in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Working tirelessly on sustainability initiatives at home and abroad, she recently received the Achievements in Canopy Ecology award from her peers at the 5th international canopy conference in Bangalore, India.
Her current projects are :
Meg Lowman at Youtube (All Videos)