Natalia, originally from Colombia, is a PhD Candidate in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a Gund Institute Graduate Fellow. Natalia’s research focuses on the intersection between biodiversity, agriculture, and global change. For her dissertation, she studies how climate change and forest loss impact bees and crop pollination services – at farm and landscape levels.
At the farm level, she uses field experiments to examine novel ways bees influence coffee yields and quality. At the landscape level, she uses ecological modeling to identify trade-offs between coffee production and forest conservation under different climate change scenarios. She is also assessing the relative importance of different biodiversity metrics in predicting crop pollination services – including coffee, blueberries, and apples, which are critical for Vermont’s economy.
Natalia uses participatory action research approaches and works closely with farmers, CoopeTarrazú (a coffee cooperative in Costa Rica), and scientists from different fields. Through these collaborations she aims to co-produce knowledge that positively impacts on-farm management strategies and landscape policies that co-benefit biodiversity conservation and farming livelihoods. While at UVM, Natalia co-founded the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science) chapter at UVM. She aspires to contribute to a more inclusive scientific community in Vermont and beyond.
Advisor: Taylor Ricketts