Doctoral students

Mariely Vega Gómez

- Hurricane and Drought Effects on Tropical Montane Stream Ecosystems: the Role of Geomorphology as Mediator of Macroinvertebrate Response to Disturbances

The Caribbean basin is host to disturbances that influence the structure of freshwater ecosystems. Some of these disturbances are projected to become more frequent or severe in the region under climate change. My dissertation focuses on assessing how natural disturbances, particularly droughts and hurricanes alter tropical stream ecosystems and how projected changes to disturbance frequency and intensity could disrupt these dynamics. I have also set out to evaluate the role that geomorphology plays in this response. I will achieve this by evaluating changes to the benthic macroinvertebrate assemblage as a response to natural and simulated disturbances. 

Ana Maria Meza Salazar

Climate change and Caribbean streams: Effects of water acidification and nutrient concentration on aquatic organisms

I am interested in understanding how freshwater ecosystems are affected by anthropogenic pressures and how aquatic communities respond to these changes. I am studying the effects of climate change on tropical lowland streams in the Caribbean, mainly assessing the impacts on aquatic macroinvertebrates. My research focuses on the effects of acidification and nutrient concentration change, as a consequence of reduced precipitation, on the physiology of aquatic macroinvertebrates and, ecosystem functioning.

Vamery González-Hernández

- The urban heat island and its effects of stream ecosystems: water temperature and ecosystem processes  

Cities and urban areas are warmer than the surrounding landscape, mostly due to the large amount of concrete that absorbes heat during the day.  Urban streams are similarly warm and their temperature generates an stress on aquatic biota and ecosystem function. My goal is to understand how urbanization is increasing stream water temperature and how it is affecting ecosystems. This information can even help us understand how global warming might affect aquatic ecosystems in the tropics.  

Project coordinators


Minor Hidalgo

- STREAMS project

- La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica


Kevin Santiago 

& Nicole Soto 

- StreamFRE project

- Luquillo LTER, Puerto Rico