I am a Research Fellow at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. I hold a Ph.D. degree from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment, with a specialization in tropical forest ecology. Since 2003, I have conducted field-based research in the lowland Amazon rainforests of the Madre de Dios River in southeastern Peru. My research examines the role of plant-animal interactions in the regeneration dynamics of tree communities, and the long-term impacts of hunting-induced local extinctions of native animals on forest diversity, composition and structure. The overall goal is to provide a rigorous ecological evaluation of the long-term impacts of human influences on Amazon rainforests, and thereby benefit conservation, restoration and management efforts directed towards these ecosystems.
I am fascinated by citizen science and its enormous potential towards collecting valuable data for long-term research and conservation projects. Through the Aerobotany project that I have helped launch on Zooniverse, I hope to prove that data gathered by online citizen scientists can significantly improve our understanding of the biological rhythms and life cycles of rainforest trees, and help monitor and protect these invaluable rainforest ecosystems in the long term.