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Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Purchase College State University of New York

I am a terrestrial ecologist and environmental scientist with a broad range of research interests: botany, plant taxonomy (particularly for tropical trees); community ecology, forest succession, community phylogenetic structure; the role of tropical ecosystems in the global carbon cycle; and robust statistical methods for biodiversity estimation. The theme that links my diverse areas of study is the need to understand human impacts on the biosphere, and particularly on tropical plant communities. At Purchase, I teach courses in terrestrial ecology, botany, and environmental science. I also serve on the Latin American Studies board of study.

I received my B.A. at Carleton College in 2000, with a double major in biology and music. After college I hiked the Appalachian Trail with my older sister, and we wrote a pair of books about the experience. I earned my Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Connecticut in 2008, with Dr. Robin Chazdon, studying how tropical wet forests in Costa Rica recover from anthropogenic disturbance. I lived in Costa Rica for two and a half years teaching undergraduate study-abroad courses in ecology, research methods, and environmental science with the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Currently, my research centers on tropical forests in Costa Rica and other parts of the world. With an international network of collaborators, I study the structure, function, diversity, and resilience of regenerating tropical forests and the impacts of climate change on mature forests.

When I'm not in the field measuring trees or in the lab analyzing data, I enjoy hiking and vegetarian cooking. I play piano and guitar and dabble in composition.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies , Purchase College State University of New York