Gund Graduate Fellow, Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources

Aura Mariela is a PhD student at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a Gund Institute student fellow. She is broadly interested in understanding how human activities and global change impact biodiversity and ecosystem services in tropical landscapes. At UVM, Aura feels motivated to participate in interdisciplinary research teams to contribute to the development and evaluation of sustainable management practices for tropical countries, that are geared towards improving 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 particular interest in 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 nutrient cycling and plant physiology.

In her free time, Aura enjoys reading science fiction, watching movies, exploring the outdoors, listening to live music and salsa dancing.

Advisor: Taylor Ricketts



  • Kimball, BA; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Cavaleri, MA; Reed, SC; González, G; Wood, TE. (2018). Infrared heater system for warming forest understory plants and soils. Ecology and Evolution 8. DOI: 
  • Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Finegan, B; Fiedler, K. (2017). Neotropical moth assemblages degrade due to oil palm expansion. Biodiversity and Conservation 26. DOI:
  • Gutiérrez-Fonseca, PE; Alonso-Rodríguez, AM; Cornejo, A; Bailey, AC; Maes, J; Ramirez, A. (2015). New records of Anacroneuria Klapálek, 1909 (Plecoptera: Perlidae) for Central America. Zootaxa 3994. DOI:
  • 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. DOI:
Gund Graduate Fellow Aura M. Alonso-Rodriguez

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Tropical forests, biodiversity, conservation, habitat disturbance, sustainable management


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