Conserving the tropical forests

To celebrate World Environment Day 2016, DiscovHER takes a look at Dr. Liza Comita, an assistant professor of tropical forest management at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University and an active role model for female scientists.

A passionate biologist by training, Dr. Liza Comita joined the faculty of Yale University in 2014 after teaching at The Ohio State University in the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology. Her broad research interests are related to the mechanisms that drive patterns of diversity, dynamics, and species distributions in pristine and human-altered systems, and she is currently working to understand regeneration dynamics in plant communities and how they act in order to maintain diversity in tropical forests. With her research, she hopes to understand and provide insights into the processes that drive regeneration and diversity in ecological communities.

She leverages her experience, insights and understanding to teach courses and seminars focused on tropical forest ecology and conservation. She also leads the Comita Lab, where she works with students who are enthusiastic about field-biology from a variety of backgrounds, including economics and management, as well as biology, in order to collaborate in the management and understanding of tropical forest systems.

Beyond her depth of knowledge of tropical forests and dedication to her work, Dr. Comita is also a strong role model for female students. She is acutely aware of the demands of her profession, as she frequently travels abroad for fieldwork, and how to balance this commitment with her family life. She acts as a mentor and resource for young women (and men!) looking to pursue their passion in a field that can be challenging for female scientists, particularly regarding lower salaries and promotion rates than men.

Hats off to Dr. Liza Comita, an inspiring role model for young scientists, and an important actor in tropical forest conservation.

What other female scientists are doing great things for the environment? Let us know @4womeninscience

For Women in Science

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