My research interest is in tropical ecosystem ecology with large focus on biogeochemical cycles as they are controlled by the increasing anthropogenic impact affecting neotropical regions. My current research involves the urban ecosystem of the San Juan metropolitan area, where I use the household system as the unit of analysis trough which considerable amount of material and energy flows. This kind of approach is important because it might reveal how household dynamics could contribute to environmental pollution in urban or semi-urban ecosystems of tropical regions. I take this approach because I strongly believe that conservation and/or sustainable management of natural resources should be based on a clear understanding of important ecological attributes combined with a broader perspective relevant to social-economic realities of the region. I became aware about the implication of “considering humans as integrated to their natural environments” through my research in the field of ecological history where I examined the effect of land-use legacy on the structure and composition of the plant communities of a tropical wet forest located within the Luquillo Mountains in Puerto Rico.
I hold a B.S from University Simón Bolivar in Venezuela, a M.S degree from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D in Forestry Sciences from Colorado State University. Besides my work in Puerto Rico, I have also conducted extensive research on soil processes, nutrient cycling and trace gas emissions in areas of the Brazilian Amazon basin and in the savanna region. I have conducted research in Hawaii and Puerto Rico to understand changes in nutrient cycling during natural and managed reforestation of tropical forests. One of my key research goals had been to provide wise alternatives for the use and management of natural resources based on the scientific understanding of the processes dominating the functioning of the ecosystem under contemplation.