Fields of study
Forest community ecology, functional trait ecology, tropical and temperate forests
An outstanding question in ecology is how plant species coexist by using a limited handful of common resources (light, water, and soil nutrients). Answering this question is particularly challenging in tropical forests, which have apparently a disproportionate number of species given the relatively narrow range of conditions and the long-term stability of these. Research in the Umaña lab studies the ecological mechanisms that drive community structure and dynamics in these species-rich ecosystems and most recently in temperate forests as well. To this end, we integrate performance information (growth and survival) with species and individual-level trait data, which inform about the interactions between organisms and their environment. Most of our research is based on tropical forests from Asia and the Americas and on temperate forests from the USA.
Sam Schaffer-Morrison (PhD)
Minh Chau N. Ho (PhD, co-advisor)
Tsun Fung Au (Tom)