Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Luiza Aparecido

Luiza Aparecido is a Brazilian plant ecologist and forest engineer that has worked in extreme sites, such as the Amazon and Sonoran desert. She earned her PhD at Texas A&M University, and has been a postdoctoral research scholar at Arizona State University since 2018. Her background is strongly based on forest biometry and sampling; phytosociological surveys; plant functional biology; plant ecophysiology; wood anatomy and hydraulics; and environmental biophysics. Dr. Aparecido is focused on investigating how plant communities function in response to disturbances (climatic or physical), and how that can be applied to models and conservation practices.

Omaca, the sample eating Tapir (tried, but did not succeed). Jokes aside, a remarkable animal to be around while doing science! Photo credit: Benjamin Blonder.

Help, a Tapir is Trying to Eat My Leaves! A Month of Plant Ecophysiology in Yasuní

It’s hard being a plant leaf - being eaten is a major risk. In tropical forests, ~10-15% (>70% in some species) of leaf area can be lost via herbivory (Cardenas et al., 2014; Coley & Barone, 1996). Plants may counteract herbivory via resistance, where chemical or mechanical defenses are used to deter herbivores, or resilience, where the effect of unavoidable damage is mitigated (Kursar & Coley, 1996).