I earned my Bachelor degree in Biology from Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco-Peru where I developed my skills in plant taxonomy and palynology. I have worked with international research teams that focused their efforts on understanding plant biodiversity and carbon flux budgets in the eastern Amazon, one of the most diverse spots on Earth. As a consultant, I worked in different areas covering ethnobotany, botany, and plant ecology in the Andes. I joined the Paleolab at Florida Institute of Technology in 2011 and was awarded my Master’s degree in 2013. My research was focused on the Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions and the ecological consequences of their demise in southern Peru. I used Sporormiella, a spore indicator of megafauna presence, and pollen to identify vegetation changes pre- and post-megafauna extinction. The effect of lake-level fluctuations on the Sporormiella signal was assessed using diatoms analysis.
Currently I am pursuing a PhD degree. My research focuses on the functional extinction of Pleistocene Megafauna in the High Andes. My study covers the Late Pleistocene and Middle Holocene between 8,000 and 40,000 years BP. My aim is to understand the long-term ecological consequences of Pleistocene megafaunal loss such as changes in plant assemblages, and fire regimes. I am also interested in identify whether humans or climate were the main drivers of the megafaunal loss in the High Andes. To achieve my goals, I am reconstructing the paleo-environments of 5 sites using pollen, diatoms, and charcoal particles as proxies for vegetation assemblages, changes in water level, and fire respectively. I will use the Sporormiella spore as proxy for megafaunal presence. My research can be applied in modern conservation to prevent ecological cascades and further species extinction
Metcalfe, D. B., Asner, G., Martin, R. E., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Huasco, W. H., Farfán Amezquita, F. F., Carranza-Jimenez, L., Galiano Cabrera, D. F., Baca, L. D., Sinca, F., Huaraca Quispe, L. P., Taype, I. A., Mora, L. E., Rozas-Davila A., Solórzano, M. M., Puma Vilca, B. L., Laupa Román J. M., Guerra Bustios, P. C., Salinas, N., Tupayachi, R., Girardin, C. A. J., Doughty, C. E., Malhi, Y. (2014). Herbivory makes mayor contributions to ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling in tropical forest. Ecology Letters, 17(3): 324-332
Gurdak, D. J., Aragão, L.E.O.C., Rozas-Davila A., Huasco, W. H., Cabrera, K.G., Doughty, C. E., Farfan-Rios, W., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Metcalfe, D. B., Silman, M. R., Malhi, Y. (2013). Plant Ecology & Diversity, 7(1-2): 143-160
Palin, O. F., Eggleton, P., Malhi, Y., Girardin, C. A. J., Rozas-Davila A., Parr, C. L. (2011). Termite diversity along an Amazon-Andes elevation gradient, Peru. Biotropica, 43(1): 100-107.
Aragão, L.E.O.C., Malhi, Y., Metcalfe, D.B., Silva-Espejo, J.E., Jiménez, E., Navarrete, D., Almeida, S., Costa, A.C.L., Salinas, N., Phillips, O.L., Anderson, L. O., Alvarez, E., Baker, T. R., Goncalvez, P. H., Huamán-Ovalle, J., Mamani-Solórzano, M., Meir, P., Monteagudo, A., Patiño, S., Peñuela, M. C., Prieto, A., Quesada, C. A., Rozas-Dávila, A., Ruda, A., Silva, J. A., and Vásquez ,R. (2009). Above- and below-ground net primary productivity across ten Amazonian forest on contrasting soils. Biogeosciences, 6,2759-2778