Gund Graduate Fellow, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Aura Mariela is a PhD candidate at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a Gund Institute fellow. She is broadly interested in applying ecological research to solving real-world problems in tropical landscapes. At UVM, Aura’s research focuses on assessing how ecological and agricultural systems respond and adapt to large-scale disturbances such as hurricanes. By collaborating across disciplines and sectors, she hopes to help build more resilient and equitable socio-ecological systems that work to improve rural livelihoods without threatening conservation efforts.

Before coming to UVM, Aura's research had mainly focused on evaluating effects of land use change and habitat disturbance on tropical insect communities, with a special focus on moths and their role as pollinators. She also worked for the US Forest Service in Puerto Rico as project manager for a climate change experiment (TRACE) that focused on understanding the effects of increased temperatures on tropical forest plants and soils.

In her free time, Aura enjoys reading science fiction, watching movies, arts and crafts, exploring the outdoors, and salsa dancing.

Advisor: Taylor Ricketts



Selected Publications

  • Terry, CN; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Miller, SE; Hulshof, CM. Lepidoptera research in Puerto Rico: Reconnecting with historical legacies to guide future priorities. Biotropica 55:1215–1232
  • Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Wood, TE; Torres-Díaz, J; et al. 2022. Understory plant communities show resistance to drought, hurricanes, and experimental warming in a wet tropical forest. Front. For. Glob. Change 5:733967.
  • Gourevitch, JD; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM, Aristizábal, N; et al. 2021. Projected losses of ecosystem services in the US disproportionately affect non-white and lower-income populations. Nat. Commun. 12: 3511.
  • Rabl, D; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Brehm, G; Fiedler, K. 2020. Trait variation in moths mirrors small-scaled ecological gradients in a tropical forest landscape. Insects 11:612.
  • Kennard, DK; Matlaga, D; Sharpe, J; King, C; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; et al. 2020. Tropical understory herbaceous community responds more strongly to hurricane disturbance than to experimental warming. Ecol. Evol. 10:8906-8915.
  • Bachelot, B; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Aldrich-Wolfe, L; et al. 2020. Altered climate leads to positive density-dependent feedbacks in a tropical rainforest. Glob. Change Biol. 26:3417-3428.
  • Reed, SC; Reibold, R; Cavaleri, MA; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; et al. 2020. Soil biogeochemical responses of a tropical forest to warming and hurricane disturbance. Adv. Ecol. Res. 62(6):225-252.
  • Grossiord, C; Christoffersen, B; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; et al. 2019. Precipitation mediates sap flux sensitivity to evaporative demand in the neotropics. Oecologia 191(3):519-530.
  • Kimball, BA; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Cavaleri, MA; et al. 2018. Infrared heater system for warming forest understory plants and soils. Ecol. Evol. 8:1932-1944.
  • Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Finegan, B; Fiedler, K. 2017. Neotropical moth assemblages degrade due to oil palm expansion. Biodivers. Conserv. 26(10):2295-2326.
  • McGlynn, TP; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Weaver, M. 2013. A test of species-energy theory: patch occupancy and colony size in tropical rainforest litter-nesting ants. Oikos 122(9):1357-1361.
Gund Graduate Fellow Aura M. Alonso-Rodriguez

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Tropical ecology, biodiversity conservation, global change, sustainable agriculture


  • MS, Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests and Biodiversity, CATIE, Costa Rica
  • BS, Biology and Environmental Science, University of Puerto Rico