WICI Talk - Dr. Carla Restrepo: From sandpiles to real mountains - Complex dynamics of tropical mountainscapes mediated by landslides

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Dr. Carla Restrepo

Dr. Carla Restrepo is a Professor at the College of Natural Sciences, Biology, UPR, Puerto Rico.

Remote video URL

She will be presenting her WICI Talk : "From sandpiles to real mountains - Complex dynamics of tropical mountainscapes mediated by landslides" on February 27, 2018 at 2 p.m. in the Davis Centre Rm.1302.  

Join us for coffee, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet Dr. Restrepo and other attendees from 1:30 - 2:00 p.m.

From sand piles to real mountains - Complex dynamics of tropical mountainscapes mediated by landslides

Mountains cover roughly twenty five percent of Earth’s terrestrial surface, yet they harbor a disproportionately large number of unique species and human cultures. Mountains also play an important, albeit poorly understood, role in hydroclimatic and biogeochemical cycles that directly or indirectly sustain the livelihood of many people around the world. Among the processes that continuously shape mountains, landsliding stands out because of its severe and long-lasting effects on natural and human-dominated ecosystems. To date, however, we understand little about the contributions of landslides to the dynamics, functioning, and diversity of mountainscapes. Sand piles and avalanches represent a powerful metaphor to understand the dynamics of mountainscapes mediated by landsliding. Yet, pixels in satellite imagery, soils and biota on slopes, and people and livelihoods in rural villages reveal complexities about the functioning and diversity of mountainscapes that go beyond those observed in sand pile models. During this talk, I will bring together three studies aimed at elucidating the contribution of landslides to the functioning and diversity of tropical mountains. Specifically, I will focus on carbon cycling to explore the contribution of landslides to the functioning of mountainscapes. Then, I will focus on symbiotic microorganisms to examine the contribution of landslides to the diversity of these systems. I will conclude the talk with a discussion about the implications of our work for to the resilience of these systems.

Carla Restrepo is broadly interested in the complexity of tropical landscapes, and thrives to understand the origin of this complexity, as well as its consequences for the diversity and functioning of ecosystems. She completed her B.Sc. at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia and it was there where she developed her fascination for birds, seed dispersal, and tropical mountains. After completing her B.Sc. in Colombia, she entered the University of Florida where she completed her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Zoology. During her last year at UF she learned about landscapes and the role of space in structuring ecosystems at multiple scales.  Since then she has tied her diverse interests around the processes that modify the spatial structure of landscapes, and the consequences of these changes on organisms and ecosystem function. Working at large scales has inevitably led her to incorporate a social component into her research and teaching activities at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras campus. Here she has developed courses in Large-scale Ecology, Sustainability, and Ecology at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  As part of her landslide research in Guatemala she has been developing a citizen science project with children and adults