María Natalia Umaña, assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, is one of four remarkable women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) featured in an April 4, 2022 article in The Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan student-run newspaper.

"(My research) is important in the sense of advancing knowledge, but these tropical systems are very important for carbon processes and the carbon cycle,” Umaña said. “If we are able to understand what maintains the diversity of these forests, we may be able to predict how these forests will respond to future climatic changes and whether this diversity, these trees, will be impacted by these future changes.”

Umaña is an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Michigan. She is a plant community ecologist who primarily focuses on tropical forests and studies their traits and plant functioning. In tropical ecology, a main challenge ecologists attempt to explain is the high level of diversity and variability in plants when they all use practically the same resources — water, soil nutrients and light.

Read more about Umaña and others in the full Michigan Daily article