Pedro J. Torres

Ph.D. Candidate, Ecology

Short Bio:

I am currently a PhD candidate and will graduate in Fall 2014. My research focused on how different biotic communities affect stream ecosystem structure and function in Puerto Rico. I use long-term records of algae and other benthic resources to look at what biotic and abiotic factors regulate their concentration over large spatial and temporal scales within El Yunque National Forest.

I also work around the island looking at how large-scale native consumer extirpations affect ecosystem function. To do this, I measured ecosystem processes in multiple streams island-wide, where in some cases native consumers have been completely absent over decades due to the presence of a downstream dam.

In Puerto Rico, dams are known to block native stream consumer migrations, completely eliminating their chance for recruitment and re-colonization. I selected a set of dammed and undammed streams (where native consumers are present) and ran parallel experiments on: (1) leaf decomposition (2) nutrient uptake and (3) whole-reach metabolism to establish the role of native consumers in regulating these processes and the effects of losing these assemblages at larger scales.

Honors & Awards:

  • 2013 UGA Grad School Travel Award
  • 2010 Odum School of Ecology Small Grant
  • 2007 LACSI Tinker Foundation Travel Award