Kenneth James Feeley (CV)

Associate Professor of Biology
Florida International University
International Center for Tropical Botany
Department of Biological Sciences, OE 236
Miami, FL  33199 USA
T: 305-348-7316

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
11935 Old Cutler Road,
Coral Gables, FL 33156 USA
T: 305-667-1651 x3434

E: kjfeeley at gmail dot com

Postdoctoral Fellows

Paulo C. Olivas
received his Ph.D in Biology at Florida International University, under the supervision of Dr. Steven Oberbauer. Originally from Costa Rica, Paulo was involved in demographic studies of endangered plant species and the distribution of ferns in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. There, Paulo also worked in assessing forest structure and plant physiology gradients along forest vertical profiles using mobile canopy towers. For his graduate work, Paulo moved from the tropics to the Arctic. Paulo worked on determining the effects of changes in water availability and temperature on the carbon cycle of the northern Alaskan coast.  Paulo has also been involved with the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) network in a long-term warming experiment. Paulo’s current postdoc involves the understanding of the effects of water management on ecosystem productivity in short and long hydro-period marshes in Everglades National Park. Recently, Paulo has been awarded a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology (PRFB). During the tenure of this fellowship, Paulo will join the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and pursue research with Dr. Ken Feeley in the tropical Andes of Peru. Paulo’s work will be focused on understanding the potential effects of changes in temperature and water regimes on high Andean Puna ecosystems CO2 emissions.

PhD Students

Catherine Bravo obtained her Master degree at FIU under the supervision of Dr. Ken Feeley in 2013. She did her research in the cloudforest of Manu National Park in Peru, focusing on plant functional traits of mountain trees along an elevational gradient. She has 4 years of experience working in education and capacity building for organizations such as The Organization for Tropical Studies, Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, and Tropical Andes Alliance. Catherine has returned to Dr. Feeley’s lab to continue her research in Peru looking at plant community assembly in mountain forests.


BelEn Fadrique
earned her B.S. in Biology from the Universidad del Pais Vasco (Spain) and her M.Sc. of Biodiversity of Tropical Areas and Conservation from Spain's Universidad MenEndez Pelayo and Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC).  For her thesis research, BelEn  studied the distribution of lianas along an altitudinal gradient in Podocarpus National Park, in the Ecuadorian Andes. She has participated in several internships on neotropical forest, including in Peru, Ecuador and Panama.  Belen is currently enrolled in the doctoral program at Florida International University working with Dr. Kenneth Feeley. Belen is interested in forest dynamics and plant species distributions driven by gradients and climate change. She is especially concerned about how undergoing global change will affect interactions between species and how communities will respond.

Brian Machovina
received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida International University, where he studied the ecology of Amphiuma means, a salamander, in Everglades National Park. He then spent several years as a research assistant at FIU studying seagrass communities in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Brian moved to Los Angeles to establish a rainforest conservation foundation, Oasis Preserve International, which helped establish the Los Amigos Conservation Concession and Los Amigos Biological Station in Amazonian Peru. Subsequently, he worked for several years with Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products, where he helped pioneer a rainforest-harvested tea, Guayaki Yerba Mate, as a model of market-driven conservation and reforestation. Brian was also the Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, a coalition of environmental advocacy organizations preventing water pollution and promoting kelp reforestation. Brian was also an owner and manager of Essential Living Foods, an importer of organic and wild-harvested commodities. Brian’s research interests for his doctoral degree at FIU involve the roles of agroeology in rainforest conservation. http://www.yonanas.com/

Evan Rehm completed a B.Sc. from Penn State in 2003 and a M.Sc. from SUNY-ESF in 2005 under the direction of Dr. Guy Baldassarre. His broader research interests include species adaptations to climate change, environmental conservation in developing countries, avian ecology, and plant/animal interactions. Conducting his research in the tropical montane cloud forests of Manu National Park, Peru allows Evan to pursue all of his research interests while working in an understudied but extremely important and biodiverse ecosystem.
     As these forests adapt to a changing climate, grasslands above current timberline are one area where forests may expand with future warming. Evan's research focuses on the role of seed dispersal and variation in microclimate across vegetation gradients to model future forest expansion into currently unforested grasslands. Personal website: http://evanrehm.weebly.com/

James Stroud
completed his B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology and Conservation from the University of Wales, Bangor, focussing his dissertation research on the habitat factors affecting herpetofauna community composition in a tropical rainforest (Sulawesi, Indonesia), with the assistance of Dr. Graeme Gillespie and Dr. Wolfgang Wuster. Following this he completed his M.Sc. by Research at the Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences (CEMS) at the University of Hull, under the supervision of Dr. Philip Wheeler. His primary research involved investigating the spatial ecology of the European adder (Vipera berus) in commercially managed forest plantations and testing the suitability of patch occupancy modelling for monitoring of this species. His research interests are broad, with a general focus on landscape and community ecology, often using herpetofauna as model species and study systems. Other areas of interest include behavioural ecology, evolution of (polymorphic) mating systems, terrestrial vertebrate ecology and invasion biology.

Timothy Perez
graduated from the University of Vermont in 2010 with a BSc in Plant Biology. Before joining the Feeley lab at Florida International University in 2014, his interests in ecology developed from his participation in a myriad of projects such as sage grouse habitat assessments, clearwing butterfly ecology research, a chronosequence tree census, and development of an environmental education curriculum. The time that Tim spent in the Neotropics galvanized him to study the effects of climate change on processes including tropical forest dynamics, biodiversity, community ecology and phylogeny. Through science education, he hopes to share what he learns beyond the academic community.

Undergraduate Students

Christine Pardo
was born and raised in Miami, Florida and is a senior at Florida International University majoring in Biology with a minor in Environmental Studies and a certificate in Biodiversity Conservation and Management. She is interested in a variety of topics in Ecology, but with an emphasis on Tropical Botany and Conservation Biology.

Nicole Cortez  is broadly interested in ecosystem ecology and soil biochemistry. She is an Undergraduate in the Department of Earth & Environment pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with a Minor in Biology. She wants to continue doing reserach and wil prusue a Master degree in South Florida. 

 Laura Espinola
completed a B.A from the University of Miami and is currently completing a B.Sc.  from FIU.  She  wants to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine with a master's degree in wildlife conservation.

Jonathan Valdivieso

Field Personnel
Flor Zamora (1982 - 2012)
Adan Julian Ccahuana Quispe
Nelson Cahuana Valderamma
Cintia Estefani Arenas Gutierrez

Visiting Researhers

Alvaro Duque
(2014) is a professor at the National University of Colombia in Medellin who is working with the Feeley lab as part of a Fulbright Fellowship.  Dr. Duque is a tropical botanist and ecologist studying forest carbon stocks and patterns of plant species composition and diversity in Andean-Amazonian forests. Dr. Duque and Dr. Feeley will be collaborating on studies of the effects of climate change on tropical forests.

Yu Mingjian (2010-2011)  is an associate professor of plant ecology in the College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, China. His major research interest is community and ecosystem ecology in subtropical forests. He and his colleagues in CAS established a 24-ha forest dynamics plot since 2005 in Gutianshan National Natural Reserve, China,where his lab researchs species-area relationships, the joint effects of habitat heterogeneity and dispersal limitation on maintenance of species diversity, and the role of gaps in forest dynamics. He and his lab are also involved with several large studies researching the islands in Thousand Island Lake – a man-made reservoir formed by damming a river in 1959 in Zhejiang province. Working with birds and plants on over 150 islands they are investigating the effects of habitat fragmentation on species diversity and community assembly and the mechanisms impacting biodiversity dynamics. Dr. Yu is visiting the Feeley Lab for the fall 2010 semester to build on existing collaborations looking at forest structure and community responses to habitat fragmentation, and other related questions.

Hu Guang (2010-2011) received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from ZhejiangUniversity, China. He is currently a PhD student in College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University under Prof. Yu Mingjian. His primary research interests are community and landscape ecology in fragmented habitats. He has studied plant communities for several years in the Thousand Island Lake (TIL), a natural laboratory for habitat fragmentation and metacommunity dynamics. Guang led a group to investigate the plant species composition on more than 150 islands and established several long-term plots on 25 islands in TIL. He hopes to study the mechanisms of species maintenance and community assemblage in the fragmented landscape. Guang Hu is visiting the Feeley Lab at FIU during Aug 2010-Jan 2011. Guang will collaborate with Dr. Feeley and his colleagues on the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity.

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