University of Puerto Rico at Utuado
Department of Agricultural Technology
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Biological Sciences
Welcome to my personal web page!
My research interests are on ecosystem science, soil ecology, earthworm ecology and biological conservation. My scientific research incorporates soil data with knowledge of biological systems in ecosystems. The integration of soil and biological data is essential to identify and promote management practices that contribute to natural resource conservation (e.g. biological diversity, soil and water conservation), while preserving the utility of the landscape to fulfill the social needs for these resources. The soil biological community has a tremendous impact on ecosystem processes and function. Soil organisms can affect ecosystem processes in various ways through their feeding and behavioral activities. For example, soil organisms can affect the movement and transport of materials through their burrowing and pore forming behavior, aggregate formation, influence over organic matter decomposition, and other physical and chemical transformations.
Among soil organisms, earthworms are considered one of the most important members of soil fauna in temperate regions. Earthworms can affect ecosystem processes in different ways. For example, earthworms can increase plant productivity, increase microbial activity and decomposition, change soil structure, influence over soil carbon sequestration, influence soil porosity and water movement in the soil, among other effects.
Currently, I am teaching at the UPR-Utuado and conducting collaborative research with the UI-Chicago on two on-going projects:
1- Effects of elevated CO2 on earthworm communities, and earthworm physiology in temperate forests.
2- Feedbacks of native and invasive soil macrofauna on soil carbon processes through decomposition, aggregate formation, and soil mixing.
I am developing these research projects at the Free Air CO2 Enrichment site in Oak Ridge National Laboratory.