Our Team


Graduate students

Amelia Mateo Jimenez – Amelia graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic before moving to Puerto Rico as a Master’s student at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez. She is currently studying phenology of tropical dry forest trees and functional trait diversity of bats, a key pollinator in dry forests.

Jose Arce Echevarria – Jose’s work is funded by a US Fish & Wildlife grant to understand the reproductive biology of Crecentia portoricensis, a tree endemic to serpentine soils of Puerto Rico. He uses camera traps to discover pollinators and seed predators and how these trophic levels may influence these rare trees.

Claudia Garnica Diaz – Claudia previously worked in the páramo of Colombia before beginning her Master’s at the UPR-Mayagüez. She is studying plant functional diversity of serpentine soils across elevational gradients to better understand how these unique systems may be affected by ongoing and future climate change. She is supported by NSF funding.

Dayneris Aparicio Jimenez – Dayneris studied the effects of low oxygen levels on benthic macrofauna in the bay of Cienfuegos, Cuba before beginning her Master’s at UPR-Mayagüez. She is now studying the recovery of butterfly populations in serpentine habitats across an elevational gradient. She is also supported by NSF funding.

Undergraduate students

Mariangeli Echevarria Ramos – Mariangeli has been working in the lab on an independent research project relating phenotypic variation of wing color and size in the non-migratory Puerto Rican monarch in montane and coastal regions. She also made important contributions to our large Puerto Rican Lepidoptera Digitization project.

Luis Velazquez Roman – Luis participated in the NSF-REU program in El Verde, Puerto Rico and investigated the diversity and distribution of butterflies in El Verde. He is now continuing an independent research project in the lab relating species distribution models and phenotypic variation of butterflies.

Oscar Ojeda Cana – Oscar has been helping the lab for several years on various projects from data mining. He has been pivotal to our Puerto Rican Lepidoptera Digitization project. He is supported by funding from the Puerto Rico Science, Research, and Technology Trust.

Lab Technician

Ramon Agosto – Ramon is an ecologist trained in Puerto Rico and keeps our lab and field projects functioning smoothly. His expertise of the flora and fauna enriches our lab.


I value a positive attitude, creativity, and the eagerness to learn over grades and exam scores. A commitment to our research team requires hard work, self-sufficiency, an ability to solve problems, and to work as part of a collaborative team.

I expect students to work diligently in the lab or field and communication about progress and set-backs is one of our highest priorities.

In return, I am dedicated to training and mentoring students through the process of research, graduate school, applying to grants and scholarships, publishing, and becoming an independent scientist and contributing member of the scientific  community.