My general research interests include tropical forest ecology, ecophysiology of tropical tree species and tropical conservation biology. My current research projects are concerned with the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on the species composition, functional composition and ecosystem function of tropical forests, and how functional traits of tropical tree species help maintain habitat specialisation.
The effects of land-use change on tropical forest biodiversity and ecosystem functions
Degraded and secondary forest systems now comprise more than half of the world’s remaining tropical forest and approximately 9 million hectares of tropical secondary forest are created annually. Therefore, secondary forest systems are becoming progressively more important to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, and the proliferation of secondary forests may help to mitigate the effects of primary forest loss.
However, differences in the defining characteristics of these forest types (structure, biodiversity and composition) are still poorly understood. I use a combination of methods to address this topic that include reviewing data from published studies and field guides, and field based studies in Panama and Sabah, Malaysia:
Identifying changes in species and functional composition of secondary tropical forests in central Panama. In collaboration with Saara Dewalt (Clemson University) and Omar Lopez (STRI)
The effects of habitat fragmentation on the functional composition of trees and lianas in lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, Malaysia. As part of the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project.