Lab News

read media coverage of Ken Feeley's work

read an interview of Ken Feeley describing some of his research

watch a webcast of Ken Feeley' speaking about his research

watch a TV news interview of Ken Feeley

The Feeley lab now maintains the upwithclimate blog where we will post current news, events and musings. Follow us HERE.

November 2013
Ken Feeley was interviewed as part of Camcast's TV series on Florida Newsmakers. The interview was broadcast on CNN Headline News. An mp4 of the interview can be downloaded HERE.

October 2013

Ken Feeley is a coauthor on a new paper entitled "Hyperdominance in the Amazonian Tree Flora" published in SCIENCE! The article has received substantial coverage by the popular media and is discussed on the upwithclimate.com blog.

Ken Feeley presented an invited address at the 2013 Science Symposium of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). A streaming video of his talk can be seen  HERE.  The talk is part of the first video starting at 56 minutes in and ending at at 1h20min follwed by Q&A.

September 2013
A blitz of media coverage! Over the past month Ken Feeley and work from the Feeley lab has been featured in National Geographic Online, Conservation Magazine, and NPR (4 broadcasts so far with more to come)!

August 2013
Ken Feeley, Evan Rehm, and Catherine Bravo presented talsk at the annual conference  of the ABERG in Pisac, Peru
Ken Feeley subsequently presented information abou the effects of climate change on Tropical Andean forests at a high-level meeting of policy makers and political advisors in Lima, Peru.

July 2013
Four new papers by the Feeley lab!

Feeley K.J., Hurtado J., Saatchi S., Silman M.R., and Clark D.B. 2013. Compositional shifts in Costa Rican forests due to climate-driven species migrations. Global Change Biology, In Press.

Oleas N.H., Meerow A.W., Feeley K.J., Gebelein J., and Francisco-Ortega J., Using species distribution models as a tool to discover new records of Phaedranassa brevifolia Meerow, 1987 (Liliopsida: Amaryllidaceae) in Northen Ecuador. Checklists.

Rehm E.M. and Feeley K.J. 2013. Forest patches and the upward migration of timberline in the southern Peruvian Andes. Forest Ecology and Management, In Press.

Machovina B. and Feeley K.J. 2013. Climate change driven shifts in the extent and location of areas suitable for export banana production. Ecological Economics, In Press.


June 2013
Ken Feeley and Evan Rehm presented talks at the annual meeting of the ATBC in Costa Rica

May 2013
Ken Feeley represented FIU at a meeting of some of the world's most preeminent tropical forest biologist to discuss "Critical Challenges and Opportunities for Tropical Forest Science". The two-day meeting (May 7th and 8th) was coordinated by Prince Charles and the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit and the Prince’s Rainforests Project.  Participants, meeting at the headquarters of London's Royal society and at St. James’s Royal Palace, drafted a memorandum on the status of the world's rainforests and what is needed to prevent future forest loss and degradation in the face of climate change and other anthropogenic threats. The resultant "St. James’s Palace Memorandum on Tropical Forest Science", was presented, with the official backing of Prince Charles, at a high-level meeting at the Palace attended by the Prince, several cabinet ministers and parliamentarians from the UK and other European nations, the US ambassador to Britain, the heads of several leading government and non-governmental environmental agencies, and the press.

A copy of the St. James's Palace Memorandum on Tropical Forest Science is availbale HERE, and a copy of the Peince's speeh is availbale HERE.

April 2013
The Feeley lab hosts a visit by Dr. Rodolfo Dirzo of Stanford University

March 2013

Catherine Bravo successfully defends her Masters thesis,"Analyzing root:shoot ratio and specific leaf area along an elevational gradient in the Peruvian Andes"!  Bravo!

March 2013

NSF funds Ken Feeley's project on "Understanding range limits and plant migration in response to climate change in neotropical montane forests". This is a 3 year project that will be conducted in the Peruvian Andes (near the city of Cusco, Peru) in collaboration with Miles Silman (Wake Forest University), Patrick Mier (University of Edinburgh), and researchers from Peru.  The project will combine censuses of existing forest plots with experimental transplants of seedlings up and down the Andes to help increase our understanding of the factors that limit where different trees species can successfully grow. This information can then be used to help predict how the distributions of species will shift due to climate change.  The award will also help to fund efforts to increase conservation of montane forests in Peru and to increase educational and training opportunities for local researchers.

February 2013
Ken Feeley is Co-PI ona new funded project "Strengthening local capacity for prioritizing conservation research and action in the Colombian Andean-Amazon: A networked approach" (PI: Elizabeth Anderson, FIU E&E) supported for three years by the USAID and Higher Education Development Program. You can read about the project HERE.

The article "Amazon's vulnerability to climate change heightened by deforestation and man-made dispersal barriers" by Ken Feeley and Evan Rehm (Global Change Biology 2012 18: 3606–3614) was featured in Mongabay and was incorporated into the online teaching resource, The Whyfiles. 

January 2013

Ken Feeley hosted the 6th Biennial conference of the International Biogeography Society! The meeting included approximately 350 presentations from 450 attendees representing 46 different countries.  Evan Rehm, Brian Machovina, and James Stroud all presented posters.

December 2012

On Sunday December 2nd, Drs. Kenneth Feeley of Florida International University and Albert UY of the University of Miami hosted the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's second Tropical Biology Symposium.  This event brought together a diverse audience of over 120 local scientists, educators and conservation professionals to hear experts from FIU, UM, and FTBG discussing their research on topics ranging from the sequestration of carbon in tropical sea grass beds to the administration of hallucinogenic plants to hunting dogs by indigenous Amazonians. A keynote address was presented by Dr. Tom Smith.  Dr. Smith is the director of UCLA’s Center for Tropical Research and his talk focused on the need for preserving ecological gradients due to the vital role they play in promoting and maintaining tropical biodiversity. The event was followed by a reception in the new Burns Science Building in the DiMare Science Village.

Ken Feeley delivers the Tupper Seminar at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.  A webcast of the seminar is available HERE.

Fall 2012
New artcles by Feeley and Rhem and Feeley et al. are published in Global Change Biology:  

Feeley K.J. and Rehm E. 2012. Amazon's vulnerability to climate change heightened by deforestation and man-made dispersal barriers. Global Change Biology. 18(12): 3606–3614.

Feeley K.J., Malhi Y., Zelazowski P., and Silman M. 2012. The relative importance of deforestation, precipitation change, and temperature sensitivity in determining the future distributions and diversity of Amazonian plant species. Global Change Biology. 18(8): 2636–2647.

Both articles are recommended by the Faculty of 1000 and received positive attention by the popular media.

August 2012

Brian Machovina is awarded funding by Dole is support his dissertation research using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor to study banana plantations in Costa Rica.

Kenneth Feeley, Catherine Bravo and Evan Rehm all presented talks at the annual conference of the Ecological Society of America in Portland.

July 2012

Evan Rehm is awarded FIU's Dissertation Evidence Acquisition grant to support his ongoing investigations of the factors that set tropical treelines. This award will release Evan from teaching duties, allowing him to spend extended periods at his field sites in Manu National Park, Peru. 

Evan Rhem, Catherine Bravo and Christine Pardo are all awarded research funding from FIU's Kelly Foundation for Tropical Botany.

June 2012

The article "The responses of tropical forest species to global climate change: acclimate, adapt, migrate, or go extinct? Frontiers in Biogeography" by Kenneth Feeley and graduate students, Evan Rehm and Brian machovina is selected to be the cover article of Fronteirs in Biogeography's June issue.  This paper is a general review of what we do and do not know about how tropical forest in th Amazxon an Andes may respond to climate change.

April 2012

Dr. Paulo Olivas is awarded a prestigious NSF postdoctoral fellowship to work in the Feeley lab on his project "Determining the effect of climate change on the carbon dynamics of the high elevation tropical humid puna".  Paulo will be joining the Feeley lab for 2-3 yrs starting in January 2013. 

FIU undergraduates Christine Pardo and Jonathan Valdivieso join the Feeley lab.  Both will be working with Ken Feeley and Evan Rehm in Peru over the summer to investigate seed predation and seed banks in the Andean puna.  Welcome Jonathan, Christine, and Paulo!

March 2012

Ken Feeley is awarded a research grant by the National Geographic Society to help fund a new project investigating "Horizontal refugia and the effects of climate change on plant species distributions in the Peruvian Andes"

February 2012

Tropical Biology Symposium at Fairchild. On Saturday February 18th, 2012, the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden hosted its first-ever symposium on tropical biology.  The one-day event, which was co-organized by Dr. Kenneth Feeley (FIU/FTBG) and Dr. Albert Uy (University of Miami), featured a series of talks by tropical biologists working at FIU and UM as well as a keynote address by Dr. Scott Robinson of University of Florida.  The audience included 120+ scientists, educators, professionals and students all sharing the common goal of increasing our understanding and appreciation of tropical plant and animal communities.  The symposium was intended to create a foundation for future collaborations between researchers and students at the different institutions as well as from across the broader community of tropical biologists and will be followed by future seminars and discussion groups.

January 2012
Kenneth Feeley publishes a new article in the journal Global Change Biology entitled "Distributional migrations, expansions, and contractions of tropical plant species as revealed in dated herbarium records".  The article is highlighted in Conservation Magazine's Journal Watch. read media coverage of Ken Feeley's work

September & October 2011

The article "Keep collecting: accurate species distribution modelling requires more collections than previously thought" by Kenneth Feeley and Miles Silman was published as the cover article in Diversity and Distributions (Volume 17, Issue 6, pages 1132–1140).  This paper illustrates how temporally auto-correlated collection biases decrease the accuracy of species distribution models and hence necessitate larger sample sizes.

Kenneth Feeley delivered invited keynote lectures at the the International Biogeography Society's Early Career "Advances in Biogeography" Conference in Oxford, UK and at the VI Coloquio Estudiantil “Ecología en bosques tropicales”, in the Instituto de Ecología AC in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

May 2011

A new article by Kenneth Feeley was published as the cover article in the new issue of the journal Ecology.  The article, entitled "Directional changes in the species composition of a tropical forest", examines changes in the composition of tree species growing on Barro Colorado Island, Panama.  Feeley shows that over the past 25 years there has been a remarkably consistent and directional pattern of increasing abundances of drought tolerant species at the expense of more drought insensitive tree species.  The cause(s) of this change remains uncertain but the most likely culprits are either long-term changes in climate leading to reduced water availability (i.e., increasing temperatures and reduced rainfall), or alternatively the compositional changes may be the ongoing legacy of an extreme El Nino drought that occurred in the early 1980's.  http://www.esajournals.org/doi/full/10.1890/10-0724.1

Catherine Bravo successfully passed her qualifying exams!  Congratulations Catherine!

Evan Rehm will spend May 2011 initiating his dissertation research project in the Andean highlands of southern Peru.  Specifically he will be working with local collaborators to establish longt erm vegetation and seed dispersal monitoring plots at the ecotone between montane cloud forest and puna grasslands.  Evan will leave Peru in June and July in order to attend the Organization for Tropical Studies course in Tropical Ecology at Costa Rica. Evan will return to Peru briefly in August in order to complete the summer field season of work before returning to FIU for the fall semester.

Catherine Bravo will spend May – August in her home country of Peru in order research patterns of carbon allocation in cloudforest plant species.  This research will help inform our understandings of the impacts of global climate change on carbon sequestration in tropical forests and will form the foundation of Catherine’s thesis project.

Brian Machovia will remain in Miami over the summer in order to focus on his dissertation research investigating patterns of land conversion for Banana production in Central and South America.  This research will be conducted primarily through the analysis of time series of remotely-sensed data (e.g., satellite and aerial images) combined with environmental data layers (e.g., temperature, precipitation, soil type, and topography), supplemented with field based data to be collected in the future. Bananas are one of the most widespread an important of all tropical crops yet their impact on the environment remains woefully understudied.

March 2011
Catherine Bravo and Evan Rehm have been awarded Tinker Field Research Grants from the Latin American and Caribbean Center at FIU to help support their upcoming field research in the Peruvian Andes.  

February 2011
Conservation Magazine and Mongabay.com, two of the leading online and print sources for conservation related news, featured articles describing recent findings of Kenneth Feeley. Feeley, in collaboration with Dr. Miles Silman of Wake Forest University, analyzed the availability of herbarium-based data for tropical plant species worldwide.  Overall they looked at at close to a million herbarium records representing over 100,000 species.  While it may seem like a lot of information, Feeley and Silman found that the vast majority of tropical plant species are extremely underrepresented in online databases such as the Fairchild Virtual Herbarium.  Indeed, most tropical plant species are known from only a single specimen.  This lack of data greatly limits the ability of ecologists and conservation biologists to map the distributions of species and predict their responses to future disturbances such as deforestation climate change.  These results point to the need for continued botanical exploration and collecting efforts (in the spirit of Dr. David Fairchild) as well as the need for more trained botanists that can identify and handle the specimen coming in from the field.
read media coverage of Ken Feeley's work

Catherine Bravo was awarded a research grant from the Sigma-Xi Scientific Research Society.

The Feeley lab said goodbye to Dr. Yu Mingjian and PhD candidate Hu Guang.  Collaborations will continue...

Kenneth Feeley is featured prominently in a larger-than-life photograph on the side of Florida International University's crosstown bus carrying students between the main campus and the Biscayne Bay campus.

January 2011
Kenneth Feeley attended the conference of the International Biogeography Society (IBS; http://www.biogeography.org/) held in Crete, Greece.  The Feeley lab will be hosting the IBS 2013 meeting in North Miami.

August 2010
The Feeley lab welcomes new graduate students, Catherine Bravo, Brian Machovina and Evan Rehm.

The Feeley lab welcomes visitng researchers, Dr. Yu Mingjian and PhD candidate Hu Guang, both from the College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, China.

Kenneth Feeley and Brian Machovina attended the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh (August 2 - 6, 2010).  Feeley organized a special session on "The effects of global warming on tropical montane ecosystems" and presented a seminar on the "The extinction risks of Andean/Amazonian plant species due to deforestation".
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