Seminar: Christine O'Connell

Terrestrial ecosystems in a changing world: how drought, hurricane disturbance and warming is altering biogeochemistry in a Neotropical forest
March 27, 3:30 to 4:30

Soils 415 and Zoom 


Terrestrial ecosystems are experiencing numerous novel disturbance regimes, including changes to ambient air and soil temperatures, shifts in precipitation timing and amount, and increasing levels of hurricane disturbance. As global change continues, there are substantial unknowns about how these acute and chronic disturbances will impact biogeochemical cycles and ecosystem carbon storage. This seminar investigates multiple case studies in El Yunque Experimental Forest, a protected forest in Puerto Rico, in order to ask the question: how will terrestrial global change impact ecosystems, and what does this suggest about the future of the tropical terrestrial carbon cycle?  We'll discuss how climate change-driven disturbances, including the historic 2015 Caribbean drought and 2017’s Hurricane Maria, impacted nutrient cycling in El Yunque. This seminar will additionally discuss careers as a faculty member at a primarily undergraduate institution, and what it looks like to balance research and mentoring
early-career scholars and undergraduate researchers.


Event Speaker
woman smiling in hardhat above trees


Christine Sierra O'Connell (she/her/ella) is an ecosystem ecologist who has been lucky enough to work in terrestrial ecosystems studying global change for over a decade. She is currently an
Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College, St. Paul. Previously, she
completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley, a PhD in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and a BS in Earth Systems (Biology
Concentration) at Stanford University.