I’m interested in understanding the relationships between insect ecology, anthropogenic disturbances, and ecosystem processes. I’m from Puerto Rico and as an undergraduate participated in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program at El Verde Field Station in Luquillo, Puerto Rico. I studied leaf litter selection and its effect on organic matter processing by a species of caddisfly. I did my master’s in the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras where I studied the life history, phenology, and response to natural disturbances of that same caddisfly species.
In August 2017 I started my Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi where I joined the Yee Lab of Aquatic Insect Ecology. Since January 2018 I’ve been working on NSF-funded research on populations of Aedes aegypti and disease transmission in San Juan, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. I’m very interested in mosquito ecology, especially in my native Puerto Rico where more recent tools and research are needed to understand mosquito distribution, dispersal, disease transmission, and to apply better vector control practices.
I’m a certified Mosquito Identification Specialist by the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory with knowledge on North American larvae and adult identification. This expertise is especially helpful for the field work and identification I’ve been doing and will continue doing in Puerto Rico. My plan is to focus my dissertation on the ecology of mosquitoes in Puerto Rico.
I have experience with larval and adult mosquito sampling and identification. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico my whole life and have been traveling back to my island periodically for research. I’m bringing the insider’s eye into this research group. I know my way around the island, obviously speak Spanish (the local language), and have many professional and personal connections across Puerto Rico.