My name is Jennifer Powers and I am an associate professor at the University of Minnesota in the Departments of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior and Plant Biology. In 1994 on a field course in Costa Rica, I fell in love with tropical forests, and even harder for tropical dry forests. I have been lucky enough to build my career around these interests. We study how elements like carbon and nitrogen cycle among the biotic and abiotic components of tropical dry forest ecosystems, and how global changes like land-use and climate change affect these processes. We are interested in the role of different species of plants, animals, and fungi in mediating ecosystem dynamics. We ask questions such as:
* How fast do forests grow back after people stop using them for agriculture?
* Is forest growth linked to the climate?
* How do different tree species affect the ecosystem in different ways?
* How does a forest located on one soil type function differently from a forest on another soil?
We hope that our studies can provide a strong, scientific rationale to guide conservation and restoration decisions.