Research: Tropical Biology; Ecosystem Ecology, Freshwater Biology
Degrees: B.S. University of Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras campus)
Ph.D. Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia
Phone: (814) 332-2970
Office Location: Steffee Hall of Life Sciences B.121
My research focuses on understanding the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems with emphasis on tropical headwater streams. My current research is based on Puerto Rico, assessing the landscape-scale effects of large dams on headwater stream ecosystem processes. I’ve also worked with students in Costa Rica, Georgia and Ohio looking at how animal consumers influence whole-ecosystem processes such as decomposition, primary production and nutrient cycling. My lab here at Allegheny College is working locally in Northwest Pennsylvania streams. Current projects are focused on assessing synergies between aquatic fungi and animal decomposers by studying how their relationship determines the rate of organic matter breakdown, how the decomposition mechanisms change over time, and how these respond to natural disturbance and seasonal variation. Additionally, my current senior group is evaluating the effects of watershed land-use and snowmelt on algal and macroinvertebrate community structure, and caddisfly larvae diets within the French Creek watershed.